“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