“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