Monday, April 6, 2015

The Chronicles of Pageant.

Bosom friends!

After a few days of ever so needed silence and retreat I am ready to put down in writing the recollection of my first ever pageant as Prima Donna.  (Click on the link and like my page, thank you very much.)

It was an experience that I can summarize as frighteningly delightful or delightfully frightening.

I thought I knew what I was getting myself into but I was as green as the grass on the other side of the fence. I was indeed greener than anybody else involved the 2015 Miss Miami Beach Gay Pride pageant.

The competition took place last Wednesday at Score in South Beach. It was the first of April and this year around I was the designated April's fool.

I have been a professional dancer my whole life but all those years on numerous stages did not come to my aid when it was time to strut my stuff and show my personality to the ever so eminent panel of judges.
I was the proverbial train rack. I tell you pageant standards are are high as Queen Elizabeth's.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa. 
Through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault, Amen.

Anybody who enters a competition must believe they have what it takes to win first prize. Otherwise why bother?!
You can believe it, hope for it or in my case, be delusional about it.
Wrong and strong.

I do think I look rather ravishing in make up and a frock and that is the main reason why I naively entered this pageant. Also because I always have fun when I am in drag.
Fresh of the boat I grabbed a 100 dollar bill (the entry fee) and handed it to Tiffany Fantasia (the host) together with the hope to get some visibility in the ever so saturated Miami Drag Queen scene. This sentence alone makes you think that you are about to read some sort of twisted yet whimsical fairy tale. Please clap at the end otherwise Tinkerbell drops dead.

I got three new garments made appositely for this competition since my Diane Von Fustenberg wrap dresses were not up to part to dazzle any illustrious panel of evaluators.
I even went as far as driving 40 minutes to Kendall to Kennedi Kouture (with an "i" and a "k") to have some OTT outfits made to order. That alone is an anecdote worth mentioning. 
While looking online for someone willing to custom make two get-ups for the pageant I bumped into this lovely business who cater primarily (if not exclusively) to African American proudly-voluptuous-gorgeous ladies. So the pale skinny boy from the Italian countryside drove all the way to the "hood" to have something fabulous sewed to his desire. The minute I parked in front of the house from where Kennedi operates a very toned young brother approached me to enquire about my presence in the Kouture premises. I did stick out like a sore thumb, I agree. 
Once I explained him that I had an appointment with Kennedi, the chap personally escorted me to the front door and I was introduced to the dynamic duo that is Kennedi Kouture. Those girls usually deal with way more juiciness than my body has to offer, so for them I was more or less a skip and hop in the park. I got two amazing garments made and a first hand look into the life of two self made kouturier (still with a K). Lovely, friendly, curvy and messy in a very endearing way.

On top of those two creations I had another custom frock made for the evening gown section of the pageant. For that I summed my Eastern European friend from Orlando who is a bona fides designer. He was kind enough to share his skills to make me look like a Hollywood star from the 50's. He made me a glorious red lace, tulle and satin gown so pretty I may have to display it permanently in our condo as they'd do at Hard Rock Cafes around the USA.

Now that I was equipped with some new fabulosity I felt a bit more ready for the competition.
However there is much more to gather in order to transform into our female alter egos, from tights and fish-nets, to padding and waist cinchers, passing through wigs, air-pieces, gallons of make up, fake lashes big enough to be seen from space together with the Great Wall of China, heels in which squeeze our poor toes and of course personality, personality, personality.

So I put all that shit in a carry-on sized trolley, grabbed my Kennedi Kouture and Eastern European creations and got dropped at 1437 Washington Avenue Miami Beach where my destiny awaited.

Once all of the other queens arrived I soon felt like the girl in the movie "Little Miss Sunshine".
All of the other contestants had a whole team in charge of putting them together. You know when they say "it takes a village"? Well those queens had a whole town of helpers at their disposal to paint them, dress them and make sure that their wigs were appropriately jacked up to Jesus.
My hubby dropped me at Score in a very timely fashion but I didn't even have singing mice and birds to help me. Even Cinderella had it better...
Some of the girls did too arrive in a timely fashion together with their entourage and some others trotted back stage rather frantically while still gluing pieces of their first outfit on their bodies.
I, on the other hand hurried up the whole night so that I could wait. 
In our changing room the amount of glitter and "fierce this" and "realness that" soon reached worrying levels. The hair people were using copious amounts of hair-spray and I swear I got high for a minute right there and I believe that is why I put my first outfit on backwards. I was doomed from the very beginning.
So even if I was basically ready to go 30 minutes before we were supposed to start the show, I ended up having to take off my sequined catsuit (to wear it the right way around) the very last minute before being rushed in front of the renowned panel of critics. Also let's not forget that the rookie that I am got randomly selected to be the first one to come out for each category. Seriously? I picked up from a bag a little piece of paper with the number one on it and there I was the designated opening queen for the pageant. I almost shat myself but the compression garments I was wearing mercifully kept it all compacted and vacuumed in.

Ladies and homos here we go!
(The judges comments are taken from the voting forms that we were each given after the pageant so that we could have our scores for the records.)

Presentation: show your pride.
Or as I like to call it "show your language barrier".
I totally misunderstood the assignment.
I thought that wearing my pride meant going all out with an outfit that was both OTT and true to my personality. Instead I was expected to wear something that tied in not with my own pride but with the Gay Pride. Fair enough. All of the other girls had some sort of rainbow themed ensemble going on, I instead looked like the Italian flag: red hair, white face and green catsuit. Red, white and green.
I left out too many colors from the spectrum.
Also since I had to take off and re-put on my green number at the last minute I didn't have anytime to fix up my wig so I ended up doing my presentation with (and I quote one of the judges) "a red ratty mess" on my head.
I completely forgot to showcase my personality, but by that time (between the nerves as the opening queen and the race to get re-dressed) I even forgot where I was, let alone my personality.

Swim Suit.
For this look I wore a lovely sparkly one piece I got from Swimsuits for All. It was the copy of a Givenchy model and despite the fact that I had all my bits and pieces precariously hidden by three layer of spanx I felt confident and decently slutty. The judges were not in agreement. Apparently my back fat was rolling out of my swimsuit and the undergarment was making his debut for the world to see. Also the bitchy-est judge of them all even said that my wig looked like I just took it out of a box. If he only knew I actually hand sewed so many extensions on that wig and had it professionally styled by Andino at Concept 5 Studio. Apparently it didn't show. The final word was that I needed more padding on my flat ass (again, I am quoting). On top of that the matching necklace I was wearing decided to break free and I was literally unraveling like a soccer mom who has run out of Adderall.

Picture courtesy of Juan Saco Mironoff.

Picture courtesy of Juan Saco Mironoff.

Evening Gown and Q/A
I was so proud of my red gown and still am!
As a child I would have killed to have something like that made for me. I did feel like I awarded my child-self after 20 plus years of cravings.
I thought I looked like a vision in red.
The judges thought I looked like a vision in poo.
Undergarment showing and the back fat rolling were their main concerns. Again the bitchy-est of them ventured an actual critique to the construction of the gown "I hate the rose on top, too heavy. It doesn't look practical as an evening gown, the belt is strange and the top is not pressed."
Hmmm...I wasn't aware of the fact that a drag queen evening gown needed to be practical. I suppose the other girls double their frocks as gardening uniforms as well as gala ensembles. Also the top was a ruffled motive, how could have it been ironed? I am not finding excuses I am just trying to understand the madness here. My Eastern European designer friend would have given that judge-fashion-authority a piece of his mind. Luckily nobody got hurt. Only my ego.
The host Tiffany Fantasia asked me the obligatory question "If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be? and why?". Pageant 1-0-1 some may say.
What do I wanna change about my self??? I am a dude in a frock...come on!
My answer was : "I am done with changing things, I am great as I am".
An awkward silence followed.
Rolling thumbs kind of silence.
Then Tiffany asked me if I would like to elaborate.
So I said "We can't really change, we can only improve ourselves. We are who we are".
That my dear was my only moment of clarity throughout the whole shebang.
The other girls went on and on about gay rights, equal marriage laws, legacy, LGBT community-sacred-alliance and world peace (of course).
I was mainly annoyed at such dull question.
I should have turned the beat around but I was not blessed with beginners luck or the gift of mastering the art of bullshitting.
Tiffany was indeed very gracious anyway, and this whole event happened because of her hard working ass! BRAVA!

Picture courtesy of Juan Saco Mironoff.

Picture courtesy of Juan Saco Mironoff.

Picture courtesy of Juan Saco Mironoff.

Picture courtesy of Juan Saco Mironoff.

I did think I had this one in the bag.
I sang live the winning song from the 2014 Eurovision competition by Conchita Wurst "Rise Like A Phoenix", the Austrian bearded drag queen sensation.
I had a great time singing live. Perhaps I was the only one having a great time. Comments like "good effort, pitchy, too loud, not sure about the wig choice, can see undergarment and back fat, needs more rehearsal" were not spared by the judges.
I thought I did good, obviously I couldn't hear myself...and to be honest the mic was a piece of shit...
I thought I had a moment right there but me-no-nothing.
Also while walking from a side to the other of the stage to "work" the distinguished panel of connoisseurs I tripped on my dress and instead of rising like a Phoenix I almost plunged like a turkey.

Picture courtesy of Juan Saco Mironoff.

Picture courtesy of Juan Saco Mironoff.

Picture courtesy of Juan Saco Mironoff.

Picture courtesy of Juan Saco Mironoff.

Picture courtesy of Juan Saco Mironoff.

Picture courtesy of Juan Saco Mironoff.

The winner of the title of the 2015 Miss Miami Beach Gay Pride was clearly NOT me.

Picture courtesy of Juan Saco Mironoff.
Athena Dion won and she deserved it! (the queen in the blue, black and gold dress...or is it white and gold...)
She was well put together, had lots of experience, she was precisely rehearsed, her padding was all in the right places, her speeches were basically what the gay pride manifesto was waiting for and she showed personality, personality, personality.

The whole experience for me was a lot of fun despite my shortcomings.
I got it out of my system and if something else will come out of it fine, otherwise it's all good.
I am not sure I will be running to enter another pageant though.
As I said I dress up because I enjoy it. 
Being judged and critiqued is not pleasant bosom friends. I did feel like I was going through the scrutiny I had to endure as a gay boy all over again. 
I am not blaming the judges though. Judges judge. Period. I do however have to share this funny detail: the bitchy judge on my score sheet spelled my drag name as "Prima Madonna"(and not as Prima Donna). Forgive them because they know what they are doing but they don't know how to spell it.

I didn't win it, I barely wing it...but I did it and still managed to retain plenty sense of humor about it!

Long live this year Miss Miami Beach Gay Pride Drag Queen Athena Dion!

Happy Gay Pride this coming week end Miami peeps!

Ciao for now.


  1. well!!! honestly, you said it all, and well done for putting yourself out there, it is what it is, and always will be...I love you for finally doing it!! xx


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