Above and top: Photos by Miss Gay Oklahoma America 2018 Shanel Sterling by Carrie Strong.
Thanks to “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” drag, the art of female impersonation, is huge. If you love drag and live in the Oklahoma City area, you will want to attend Miss Gay Oklahoma America 2019, a preliminary competition to the nationwide Miss Gay America pageant, to be held at the Angles nightclub in Oklahoma City from July 25-27.
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 Oklahoma America is a “closed state” preliminary–meaning contestants must meet the 90 day residency requirement and must qualify, as winner or first alternate, through an official city/metropolitan preliminary.
It is one of over one hundred city, state and regional preliminary currently happening across the country leading up to the national 48th annual Miss Gay America Pageant in St. Louis this October.
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 Fall in St. Louis.
The prelim will honor the current Miss Gay Oklahoma America 2018 Shanel Sterling of Tulsa (above) and feature an appearance by the reigning Miss Gay America 2019 and Andora Te’tee of New York City (below).
The pageant’s theme, chosen by Shanel Sterling, is “Show Me Your Sweet Side.” Qualified contestants will wear a garment inspired by a kind of sweet that was assigned during the prelim they qualified in. For instance hard candy, cupcake, honey, cotton candy, etc. The Presentation look, while only a judged category at nationals, is encouraged to have pastel colors and be fun, whimsical, and beautiful. The sky is the limit, so contestants are also encouraged to really show out and show their sweet side the most elaborate way!
Miss Gay Oklahoma America 2019
2117 NW 39th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73112
Doors open at 6 pm Pageant starts at 7 pm
$10 general admin. Saturday: $15 for a chair, $20 for a table.
Honoring Miss Gay Oklahoma America 2018 Shanel Sterling
Featuring Miss Gay America 2019, Andora Te’Tee
Details at www.missgayoklahoma.com
Follow Miss Gay Oklahoma America 2018 Shanel Sterling on Instagram @shanelsterling
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: Presentation (only judge at nationals), 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: 47th Annual Miss Gay America Pageant Pauses for Community Outreach in St. Louis; Dozens of Contestants Visit Three Organizations
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.