Happy spring... winter... summer? It's Missouri! The only place you can have all three seasons in one day. I would like to start by saying, WOW! I am still flying high right now. This was a Miss Gay Missouri for the books! I would first like to say thank you to my husband for the long nights early mornings and for putting up with me during pageant season, you're the best. Thank you to my lovely dancers for dedicating yourselves to my dream. Thank you to my promoter, sponsors, friends and family.
My journey towards Miss Gay Missouri started in 2009 when I dressed Tajma Stetson at Miss Gay Congeniality Missouri America. It was such an honor to be in the presence of the formers the sister hood they showed was infectious and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I had just started in the art of female impersonation so I knew I wasn't quite ready until I had the pleasure of dressing Kyla Breeze at Miss Gay Missouri 2009 and was able to get the full MGMA experience. Watching the hard work and dedication that went into Miss Gay Missouri from everyone involved was inspiring. That year there were about 30 contestants but Erica Fox would go on to capture the title.
In 2011 I decided I was ready for the experience I entered Miss Gay Kansas City and became first alternate, disappointed I wasn't able to capture the crown but my eyes were set on a bigger prize. I prepared myself the best I knew how and with the help from friends I thought I'm ready for this. I placed 12th out of 28 contestants I was devastated, Madison Elise would capture the title beating his first alternate Tajma Stetson by 2 points! I returned to Miss Gay Missouri in 2012 as the reigning Miss Gay Kansas City. I put a lot of hard work in to my package that year, armed myself with backup dancers and thought I had it in the bag. I was excited to hear my name called for the top ten in the end I placed 8th overall. Michelle McCausland would go on to capture the title that year.
In 2013 I took a year off and was asked to assist my dear friend in going after the same dream I was after. I knew the only answer was yes! Taking a step back and going back behind the scenes gave me a new found love for the system again and assisting Christa Collins was my main focus, it was here first year and I knew the stress of that so I told her to relax and let me take on all the stress. Christa would go on to capture the title that year as well as place third place at Miss Gay America!
In 2014 I decided, let me step back in and I built a package I thought would be a winner and prepared myself the best way I knew how, then it all came crashing down when the backup dancers I had started dropping out one by one a week before the pageant. The talent I brought I prepared in three days and was nervous it would keep me out of the top ten but I made it, placing 3rd in evening gown, tying 4th place in male interview 7th place in talent 5th place in on stage question and 12th place in solo talent my score were all over the board and that placed me tied for 7th place with my sister Heidi Banks. That was only one placement better than the last time I entered had I not improved over the past two years? I was however very excited my sister Adria Andrews captured the title that year watching her I knew she would be a great MGM.
After MGM 2014 I needed time to reflect so I took the next year off to focus on my life outside of pageants, after reevaluating my life I realized if I had won MGM either of those times I went I would not have been ready for the responsibility and took 2015 off to really work on me. We traveled, we started a costume business and we just enjoyed life for what it was. Though I wasn't able to be present for MGMA 2015 I was watching Facebook like a hawk for updates. One of my dearest and closest friends would capture the title, Kyla Breeze! Her hard work had paid off, her dedication to this system had shown in years past but 2015 was her year and it was her who inspired me to return. Following her will be a tough job. I am honored to have been crowned by such a wonderful sister and friend. This year, I came with one goal in mind, it was to BE Miss Gay Missouri 2016. I prepared myself like never before, giving each category special attention, I knew if I was going to win capture the title I would have make each category a true reflection of myself. I told myself, I don't need to win every category but to just be consistent, though I knew I wanted to win male interview. After watching the documentary Pageant, it was said if you can win interview you can win the pageant.
All weekend I kept repeating to myself this is mine no one can have it, it was my "water off a ducks back" I knew if I stayed focused I would finally be successful. When it came down to the announcement of the top five my mind was racing, but I continued to repeat "this is mine." Fourth alternate, Mulan. Third alternate, Moltyn Decadence. Second alternate, Loreal. First Alternate, Miss Priscilla. it was as if the world first slowed down and then paused for a split second, had I won? Had I not even placed top 5? And then someone hit play... Miss Gay Missouri 2016 Regina La-Rae! I think my heart may have stopped for a second.
My purpose for telling you this story is to inspire you all to never give up on your dreams. You must go after what you believe in. I knew I wanted to start my own business, I knew I wanted to be Miss Gay Missouri and I kept putting it off and saying I'll do it tomorrow, I'll do it next week, I'll do it eventually. The best way to make things happen is to do things TODAY! Put a plan in motion and chase your dreams they will not wait for you to come find them you have to hunt them down and make them happen.
A big thank you to the MGMA board. A good business isn't complete without and cohesive and strong team behind it. The board took over MGMA 6 years ago with one goal in mind. To continue the success the pageant has always had. I think we can all agree they have brought new life to the system. Here is to 43 more years!
I will be expanding on MGMA 2014 Adria Andrews's idea of Miss Gay Missouri Boot camp, There will be two monthly meetings on in person and on via live broadcast. We will discuss different categories in deep detail at each meeting this way we can ensure all contestants are prepared the same way. More details coming soon!
This year is looking great! With a new preliminary under great leadership and a lot of returning preliminaries. Have you pick yours yet?
FROM THE ALUMNI:
Well, another Miss Gay Missouri is in the books, and what a weekend it was! If you missed this year's contest then you REALLY missed out on a fabulous weekend of pageantry. I am so extremely proud of all 18 contestants and what they presented. Each one of them came ready to fight and battle it out, but as we all know in the end, only one lucky person walks away with a shiny new hat. CONGRATULATIONS to our newest MGM, Regina LaRae! I know that the MGM legacy will be in great hands over the next 12 months and look forward to working with you. I met Regina several years ago while performing in Kansas City and also had the pleasure of competing alongside her in 2012 and 2014. Regina was a fierce and focused competitor; and I knew that one day she would be joining our sisterhood. I also want to give a big shout out to our 1st alternate, Miss Priscilla! I was so happy to see you back and even happier that you will be one of our representatives at MGA this year.
As we look ahead to next year's contest (I know it's started already!), we are extremely excited to announce the return of Miss Gay Missouri to St. Louis in 2017! Jade Sinclair and I are working diligently to secure a new space for preliminary and final night competition along with a new host hotel. We are also hoping to move the Review Show back into a nightclub/bar space. It's very exciting to be involved in all the behind-the-scenes action. There is SO much more that goes into planning MGM than I ever thought possible. I have to give a huge shout out to our Kansas City sisters for putting on a stellar contest these past 2 years; The Arts Asylum for being wonderful to work with and so accommodating to our needs; and to our host hotel for putting up with our antics! I'm looking forward to making more memories in the years to come!
I would be remiss if I didn't give KUDOS to our outgoing MGM, Kyla Breeze. Kyla reigned with beauty, grace and dignity all year and for that I am so proud of her. She had a number of obstacles come her way and she handled them all with the utmost professionalism. Welcome to the "Has Been" Club, '15!
Before I leave you I'd like to address the remaining 17 contestants of this year's contest. THANK YOU for being a part of our system and THANK YOU for supporting us! Every former was rooting for you all and we hope that you do not let this dampen your spirits or your desire to be Miss Gay Missouri. Trust me when I say, I have been there! It took me 5 attempts over a 6 year period before I reached my dream. Each year I got closer and closer, but it didn't make the sting of losing any easier - it just made the desire to win even stronger! Use that to fuel your drive to return. Let the dust settle, get in your feels but do NOT let it dull your shine. Remember that the critiques you received were for what you presented at THAT moment and what THAT particular judge thought. It's an opinion and not a reflection on you as an entertainer or a person. Miss Gay Missouri is a family and you can turn to any of your family members for support, advice or just a shoulder to lean on. I am always here is you need ANYTHING! I hope to see each of you return to St. Louis in 2017!
Until next time,
Miss Gay MO America 2014