I was gifted with a very special quotation this week. The quote was all about determination, persistence and believing in yourself. The first part reminded me to always “Wake up with determination and to go to bed with satisfaction”. The second part was illustrated by two stories - a river and how “A river cuts through a rock not because of it’s power but because of it’s persistence” and a bird “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because her trust is not on the branch but on her own wings”. These resonate with me as I am halfway through my reign as Miss Gay Missouri America and as much as I would love to be able to tackle my goals full force with immediate results, I needed to be reminded that some goals can only happen with persistence and consistent dedication throughout your reign. The second lesson I was needing to hear was trusting in myself and my vision will allow me to stand on any foundation despite the level of support and still be able to accomplish my goals.
I share this with you all as I have truly been blessed thus far with an amazing reign, that has been largely supported by many but there are times throughout your reign or even throughout your competition journey that you will find yourself relying on self-motivation or having to pace your steam so that you don’t burn out but rather charge ahead to achieving your goals. If you keep these stories above in mind it will provide you with the motivation you need to move forward.
October was a super busy, super crazy, Spooktacular month and I could not be more grateful for by the numerous appearance opportunities and fabulous events I got to participate in as well as overseeing my first three city preliminaries of the pageant season and the best part was welcoming our first 6 of 22 contestants into the MGMA Class of 2022!
Here are some pageant highlights:
Miss Gay St. Louis was held Saturday, October 2nd at the gorgeous Gatsby Ballroom in downtown St. Louis! The evening was dedicated to honoring my #teammissouri counterpart for Miss Gay America this year – Roxxy Malone on her two-year reign as Miss Gay St. Louis. Jade Sinclair, the promoter did a fabulous job both administratively as well as ensuring as many forevers were included and present. I teared up seeing 13 forever Miss Gay St. Louis America’s in attendance as well as 12 forever Miss Gay Missouri Americas. This truly was an evening of “Everlasting Love”. Thank you so much to Chris Sutton and then entire support team for taking such great care of us and a huge shout to Jessica Leigh Foster for support with the venue and Ryan Zink for being our DJ extraordinaire. Enjoyed having some wonderful fellow entertainers and sisters on the judging panel as your job was not easy – Thank you Adria Andrews, Regina La-Rae and Ming Lee. Congratulations to Avery C. Lauren for your win and Kendra Krush for your ticket to state and joining the MGMA Class of 2022. Kara Lagerfeld – you definitely shined all night, and I can’t wait to see you again soon! And Viola Voneschen I love hearing your dedication to return full force.
Miss Gay City of Columbia Missouri America was held Friday, October 8th which was also my birthday! Let me tell you – It was one of my best birthdays ever. Sisterhood was truly defined this weekend for me as the promoters – Musica, Matthew & Veronika gave it their all the ensure that everyone was taken care of, and that Amanda Lay was given her accolades to honor her amazing reign. Best memories of this pageant were truly how much I feel in love with all five individuals competing and hearing their stories in male interview. Some close seconds would include watching the revue show on Thursday night and then staying up until 5:39am in the morning with fellow Miss Missouri sister Veronika Versace (Please note she was in drag the entire time. Lol) and my #teamspringfield partner – Liz Anya discussing pageantry as well as performing with my Mr. Gay Missouri America royal onstage husband – KC Sunshine! Congrats to Venus O’Hara on achieving your goal and to Monique LaRoux on joining the class. Kaycee, Dolce, and Lindsay - I better see all three of you soon!!! This pageant was so amazing to catch up with so many Columbia friends and I cannot thank the forevers enough for the amount of love they showed me backstage not to mention how amazing it was to work closely with four of my Miss Gay Missouri America sisters who served as judges and tabulator – Atheena Voce, Regina La-Rae, Christa Collins and Ineda Cochtael.
Miss Gay Kansas City America was held Saturday, October 23rd at Missie B’s and it was nice to return not only as a forever Miss Gay KC but also as the reigning Miss Gay Missouri America. I was immediately greeted with so much love and hugs from my state promoter – Lexsus Chaney as well as my Miss Gay Springfield America promoters – Vince Edwards, Ruby Diamond and Daniel Stone. The promoters Sophia, L’Oreal, Coco and Bennie ran a very efficient pageant and really did a great job ensuring that the contestants were the main focus. Thank you to all forevers that came to support the pageant – I am still star struck every time I work with Melinda Ryder. Thank you to Roger & David for always being so kind to me! The audience was packed, and it was so awesome to see so many city promoters there representing including Emilio, Steve, Dan, Ruby, Vince, and Daniel! Congratulations to Vivian Versace on your win and Jaharia Von Du on joining the class! And to Renee Scott on your Talent win! You still got it!!! Thank you to Iman Mykels, Ruby Diamond and my Mr. Gay Missouri America – KC Sunshine for judging! Loretta was great seeing you as well!
Aside from pageants – Other highlights of October include:
Until Next Month……
Miss Gay Missouri America 21
“The world is filled with people who, no matter what you do, no matter what you try, will simply not like you. But the world is also filled with those who will love you fiercely. The ones who believe in you and value you for your present actions and they are your people.
I have always been the person that wanted everyone to like them and valued myself by the opinion’s others had of me. This past month I was reminded that no matter how hard to you try and no matter what you do, you will never be everyone’s cup of tea. This realization was hard at first but once I stopped trying to be “Something to Everyone” and instead focused on being “Everything to Someone” I was able to breakthrough and mentally prepare for these upcoming months as Miss Gay Missouri America. This message is one that I believe is applicable to many and is a great reminder for those preparing their packages for this competition season. Be you and let your light shine for those that believe in you. Your value is not determined by the amount of applause, but your value is already achieved by you putting yourself out there and stepping on the stage!
August was such a fun filled month with lots statewide traveling, great conversations with promoters, formers, and potential contestants as well as the gathering of information to kick off this pageant season. Some highlights include:
All in all, it was a productive month filled with lots of shows, travel and I have officially filled my calendar through March 2022 with events, bookings, and an occasional boy trip weekend getaway. I also want to give a huge shout out to KC Sunshine and Jamison McQueen for representing the state of Missouri at Mr. Gay America in Vegas. You both made us proud. Congratulations to KC Sunshine for your top 5 placement and really making a name for yourself nationally.
We are now less than 4 weeks away from our first city prelims to MGMA 2022 and as you contemplate competing for one of the nine confirmed preliminaries this year- just remember this:
“Last year you said next year. Last month you said next month. Yesterday you said tomorrow. Words are just words until you take action, so start today.” – Roger Lee
The other day I was chatting with a potential contestant, and we were talking about if he wanted to compete this year or wait until next year. His concern was that he didn’t want to compete until he had a package perfected enough to win the state crown. He wanted to compete and win it all in his first year. I then asked him how does he as a performer learn new music? As we all do this differently. For me I have learned the best way is to listen to a song or mix on repeat until I have most of it down but then I need to perform it knowing it won’t be perfect so I can identify my trouble spots. Then the next time I perform that song I will have corrected those spots and get the whole thing perfectly. I said this is the same way I feel about pageantry. I learn best by throwing myself out there and using the judge’s feedback as a tool to improve and fine tune for the next level of competition. A clear example of this was my Flight Attendant stand up comedy talent. I first did this as solo talent when I competed for Miss Gay St. Louis America in 2010. I literally walked on stage with only an idea of a concept in my head. Over the years I tweaked it and fine-tuned it and in 2017 it ended up winning the Leslie Rage Best Overall Talent Award at Miss Gay America. This never would have happened if I waited until I thought it was perfect before presenting it to an audience or a panel of judges.
So today is the day ……
I appreciate you,
Miss Gay Missouri America 2021
“Life is like a camera, just focus on what is important. Capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don’t work out, just take another shot.” - Unknown
This quote was sent to me recently by my Miss Gay Missouri America sister – Lexsus Chaney as one of her weekly motivating texts that she has sent me since the first week of my reign. It resonates with me as it is true statement of my journey to being crowned the 48th entertainer to capture the esteem title of Miss Gay Missouri America. It also brings tears to my eyes thinking about that 12 year journey as somewhere along the path I found myself stuck in the first two sections of the quote and it wasn’t until Covid-19 that I allowed myself to reflect, refresh and really take another shot.
When I was young boy growing up my mom use to call me her little “Rubber band”. She named me this because every year starting in 6th grade, I ran for student council. Every year I put myself out there despite my classmates making fun of me for being my unique gay closeted self and every year I lost the election. I remember very vividly how when the results were announced over the intercom that I listened with such high hopes but every year my name simply was not called. I know my mom as a parent trying to protect her son probably dreaded the day these announcements were made but despite the defeat I always came home excited saying – “Hey, I didn’t win this year but next year this is what I am going to do for my campaign” and immediately began planning. My mom was in such awe that I was able to bounce back so quickly and gave me the biggest hug saying “I love you, my little rubber band” It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I finally won a spot on student council.
I share this story of my past as this childhood memory was the reminder and reflection, I needed this past year to ask myself - “Where did that little rubber band child go?” and knew it was time to bounce back and simply take another shot.
Needless to say I am so #thankful for doing so and I was so excited to have so many friends & family members there supporting me that magical night two months ago including my mom hugging me saying “I love you, my little rubber band”!
These first two months as MGMA have gone by so quickly and my focus has really been focused on laying the foundation of this coming pageant season. During this time, I have been humbled by the amount of opportunities I have been presented to represent this title, legacy and wear “Sally” my crown with such pride and honor.
Some highlights include doing an interview on the Jumbotron screen and taking photos with fans at the St. Louis Cardinal’s Pride Night at Busch Stadium then heading to Springfield, Mo to join my sisters for a celebration show! Then after getting only a few winks of sleep (Thank you – Autumn Holiday for putting me up) - I drove to my college town of Warrensburg, Mo to co-host an all day Pride Festival with my sister Regina La-Rae and then darted to Sullivan, Mo to co-host with my Miss Gay Springfield America sister – Akasha Royale SIR-entity Farms Campground’s first ever Pride Weekend Celebration.
In early July I got the honor of joining my sisters – Tabbi Katt (Missouri All-American Goddess), Roxxy Malone (Miss Gay St. Louis America) & Tassandra Crush (Missouri National Showgirl At-Large) in St. Louis’ mainstream fourth of July celebration parade that was televised with us being the first entertainers to ever ride in this esteem event celebrating America’s 138th birthday. Thank you so much to Marty Zuniga for orchestrating this historical moment and taking such great care of us.
In addition to some fun filled shows, I have also gotten the opportunity to support our community and allies by hosting two successful benefits – one for an amazing ally that recently lost her arm to a grease fire and one for our local LGBTQIA+ community softball league. Benefit shows are truly a passion of mine and I appreciate working with such dedicated people and organizations that give back and are so passionate about their causes. Later this month, I will be co-hosting our Pride Celebration at Ball Park Village and next month I super excited to work with our leather & pup community on another fundraising event.
Tiffany T. Hunter is known for asking contestants what their personal 30-60-90 plan is if they were to win the title they are competing for during interview. This is something I have thought about for years. Reflecting on these past 60 days I am happy to say that I feel on track as my plan includes focusing on developing great communication with the city promoters, city titleholders and the Missouri Alumni Board. Setting dates, themes and venues for city preliminaries. Capturing several professional photos to use in promotional materials as MGMA. Making appearances throughout the state and making weekly post on social media. Staying focused on competing at MGA in January and planning for my stepdown in eight months.
Official announcements will be coming soon but I am excited to say we have nine confirmed returning preliminaries this year giving eighteen contestants the opportunity to become the 49th Miss Gay Missouri America. Additional preliminaries may be added later in the season after we get a feel of the amount of interested contestants. Huge shout out to the city promoters as they are going above and beyond to elevate their pageants and most of them are being held in larger event space venues. Shout out to our webmaster Luis Acevedo for being so quick and uploading this information on our website www.mgmapageantry.com. Here is where you can find the complete list of preliminaries.
I had a blast with Sarah E. Cayson with Zairia Photography with my first photo shoot and will be shooting with Scotty Kirby later this month.
Every Thursday I am dedicating a weekly Facebook post to honor the things I am #thankful for during my reign as I feel acknowledging and thanking people for the amazing things they do for us and our community can never be done enough and I truly value them for the gifts they share to us each day.
Finally, I am excited that my stepdown theme, venue and dates have all been set and the promotional materials and branding campaigns are already in the works with designers.
To conclude this first newsletter, I leave you with this amazing quote as you consider your next step in pageantry or just in life in general. “Do your thang, do it unapologetically. Don’t be discouraged by criticism, you probably already know what they’re going to say. Pay no mind to the fear of failure, it’s far more valuable than success. Take ownership, take chances, and have fun no matter what. Never stop doing your thang!”
Until next month ….
Much love ……. I appreciate you!
Miss Gay Missouri America 2021