Photo above by Scotty Kirby. 300dpi versions of all photos available on request.
“Don’t be a drag, just be a queen: Miss Gay Arizona America pageant is May 11” (AZCentral.com)
“Photographing These Beauty Queen Competitors Is Never a Drag for Phoenix Lensman” (PhoenixNewTimes.com)
Thanks to “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” drag, the art of female impersonation, is huge. If you love drag and live in the Phoenix area, you will want to attend Miss Gay Arizona America, a preliminary competition to the nationwide Miss Gay America pageant, to be held at the Tempe Center for the Arts on May 11.
Established in Nashville in 1972, The Miss Gay America Pageant is the world’s first, longest running and most prestigious female impersonator (aka drag) competition.
Miss Gay Arizona America is one of over one hundred city, state and regional preliminary Miss Gay America pageants across the country leading up to 48th annual Miss Gay America Pageant in St. Louis this October.
It is a limited state, meaning only contestants from Arizona can enter.
Contestants will compete in four judged categories: Male Interview (in suit and tie), Evening Gown, On Stage Interview and Talent (big production number with costumes, sets and dancers). The winner will go on to compete with nearly 50 other female impersonators from across the U.S. for the Miss Gay America 2020 crown this October in St. Louis.
The prelim will honor the current Miss Gay Arizona America 2018 Adriana Galliano of Mesa (above), feature an appearance by Miss Gay America 2019 Andora Te’tee of New York City (below), and performances by a slew of former Miss Gay Arizona Americas.
The pageant’s theme, chosen by Adriana, is “Desde Andalucía” (“From Andalucía”), which will be celebrated in performances throughout the evening by Adriana and former Miss Gay Arizona America title holders.
“I’ve always been in love with Spanish culture, particularly the art form of flamenco, which began over 200 years ago in Andalucía, ” says Adriana. “I am surrounded by friends who practice flamenco and am obsessed with the romance, emotion, dresses and music of the dance. For Miss Gay Arizona America, as I have throughout my reign, I want to showcase the passion and elegance of flamenco.”
More info and tickets:
Miss Gay Arizona America 2019
Saturday, May 11, 2019, 6 p.m.
Honoring Miss Gay Arizona America 2018, Adriana Galliano
Featuring Miss Gay Arizona 2019, Andora Te’Tee
Check out the the interview with Adriana Galliano on the MGA blog, MGAZINE, just after winning Miss Gay Arizona 2018 last July.
Follow the Miss Gay Arizona America pageant on Instagram @missgayazamerica.
About the Miss Gay America Pageant
The Miss Gay America system is very similar in nature to the Miss America or Miss USA system, except that the contestants are men impersonating women. It is not easy to win this title as it takes much talent, creativity, glamour, elegance, sophistication and desire to entertain, to successfully create the illusion in which the judges will approve.
Currently, contestants are rigorously judged in five categories: Male Interview, Evening Gown, Talent (fully produced stage production; sets, dancers, permitted), On Stage Interview.
With no surgical body augmentations below the neck directly related to promoting/enhancing a feminine image (female breasts, hips, etc.) allowed, contestants must rely on the skills and techniques of the art female impersonation–breast pads, hip pads, flattering clothing, wigs and make-up–to create a female impersonation that will score high enough with the judges to win the title of Miss Gay America. Read complete MGA Handbook via the About page at www.missgayamerica.com.
Contestants are in it to win it, easily spending thousands of dollars in preparation for this ultimate female impersonator competition. While some design their own gowns, others spend as much as $15,000 at houses from Vera Wang to Versace. Add in shoes and jewelry, plus fees for choreographers, props, dressers, wig stylists, make-up artists and travel and it quickly adds up.
During her reign, a newly crowned Miss Gay America can earn as much as $70,000 in cash, prizes, travel, and appearance fees. Regardless, the consensus among contestants is what matters most is not the money spent or won, but the title!
To date, over 10,000 men from over thirty states have competed for the Miss Gay America crown. •
• More and the history of the Miss Gay America on the About page of Miss Gay America website.
• To get glimpse into the world of female impersonator competition, check out the trailer for the award-winning 2008 documentary “Pageant” on Vimeo.
• Read the latest on the Miss Gay America blog, MGAZINE.
Related: The Big Heart of Miss Gay America: Pageant Owners Announce Creation Charitable Foundation to Mentor, Benefit LGBTQ Youth: Pageant owners crown Lady Gaga (photo) the first ever Honorary Miss Gay America, donate $5000 to her Born This Way Foundation, and launch the Miss Gay America Foundation to mentor, benefit LGBTQ youth.