Below are just 4 of the 40 contestants that will be competing for the Miss Gay America 2018 crown from October 4 - 7 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. Also here is a little background on our current Miss Gay America 2017 Suzy Wong. All are available for interviews. To set up an interview, request photos or ask questions, please contact Andy Reynolds at Popular Publicity at email@example.com.
Much more info and resources can be found in the Miss Gay America 2018 press release here.
The Miss Gay America website is at www.missgayamerica.com
Herewith, in alphabetical order, introductions to Miss Gay Tennessee 2017 Barbra Seville, Miss Gay Heart of America First Alternate 2017 Brooke Lynn Hytes, Miss Gay New York America 2017 Kelly Ray Shelton, Miss Gay Texas America 2017 Violet S'Arbleu and Miss Gay America 2017 Suzy Wong.
Note: You'll notice that only one contestant lives in the state she won (Miss Gay Texas America Violet S'Arblue, from Houston). Many of the preliminary pageants below are considered "regional", meaning contestants need only live in the U.S. to enter. (Some states do have "closed" pageants, which are only open to residents of the respective state.) These girls will travel to get that crown!
"Competing in various pageants since 1996, Richard Stevens aka Miss Gay Tennessee 2017 Barbra Seville has been described as, a sassy character who looks a bit like Bette Midler and talks a lot like Joan Rivers. – From the Phoenix Magazine article, "Spotlight: Barbra Seville."
Annually, Barbra Seville's Wonderful 100 team (team 2016 is pictured below) raises money for AIDS Walk Arizona. Barbra produces and hosts a series of events leading up to the big walk. Many make the walk in heels! Last year Miss Gay America 2017 Suzy Wong joined the team for the walk. AIDS Walk AZ happens this October 22 in Phoenix. More info here.
Barbra recently hosted a benefit for the Montrose LGBT Center in Houston. Read that press release here.
Barbra Seville is the winner of the 2017 Readers Choice Award for Favorite Drag Queen from local LGBTQ publication, Echo Magazine.
• Read the full Phoenix New Times article "Spotlight: Barbra Seville"
A native of Canada, Brock started dancing at the (relatively) late age of fourteen and just two years later was accepted into the National Ballet School of Canada. He studied there for five years before moving to South Africa, where he danced with the Cape Town City Ballet for 2 years as a soloist, before moving to New York City to dance professionally.
In NYC, he danced four years with Les Ballet Trocadero (aka "The Trocks"), before returning home to Canada to focus on his drag career. Three years later he won the Miss Continental pageant (the national trans and drag beauty pageant) and, following the win, was hired at Play Dance Bar in Nashville, Tennessee, where is currently based.
Regarding his drag name, "My drag mothers name is Farra N Hyte and I have a drag sister Heavenly Hytes. We are all very tall so we needed to find something to fit with the 'Hytes' name."
Ballet photos available on request at firstname.lastname@example.org
A big-hearted gal who loves the stage, Kelly Ray Shelton has been performing for nearly twenty years. This year, she took New York City, when she made the trip from Durham, NC, specifically to compete for the title of Miss Gay New York America 2017–and won!
"I would say I think that I’m a high, yellow, black woman. I’m really into soul music, gospel music and black ladies of color that just have powerful voices: Patti LaBelle, Billy Holiday, Gladys Knight, Diana Ross—people say I look like her. I don’t know how a 6’1” tall white, skinny man can look like Diana Ross, but I sure can tr!"
"I don’t really impersonate anybody. I feel like as long as I have done it, my brand is the connection I make with the audience. I feel like Kelly Ray is a character in itself. My name is Kelly Ray Shelton, and as a little boy I dreamed of being on Broadway. My stage name was always going to be Kelly Ray, and to finally get her to New York and entertain is a dream come true." – from a recent interview in NYC's Get Out Magazine
Based in Houston, Miss Gay Texas America 2017 Violet S'Arblue was spared any personal or property damage due to Hurricane Harvey, but in the immediate aftermath, was deeply shaken, and said at the time,
"I'm OK. My spot is blissfully dry for some unknown heavenly reason, but I've been so distraught trapped in my house watching the news. So many people and such suffering. It's put my life on hold too But I'm dry and safe (knock wood) so that's all i can hope for right now."
Holed up and home, Violet stayed in touch with friends via social media and posted videos of herself running up a cute new gown on Facebook.
Though originally intended as a campaign to raise money to help cover travel and expenses to Miss Gay America in New Orleans this October, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Violet has dedicated her first-ever merchandise item to raise funds for "my struggling neighbors and friends." $15 from every t-shirt purchase will be donated directly to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. "Please help me give back to the city and state that I love and help those who cannot currently help themselves," she says. T-shirts are available at https://www.teezily.com/heartswithhouston
• Read Violet S'Arbleu's interview in the September 2017 issue of Houston's OutSmart Magazine
• Read Violet S'Arbleu's fascinating "She Works Hard for the Money: The Cost of Drag" article on the Miss Gay America blog, MGAZINE.
The current Miss Gay America is Suzy Wong (above), the alter ego of Arnold Myint (also above), a Nashville-based chef and restaurateur also of Bravo’s "Top Chef" and Food Network fame. Suzy is the primary spokesperson and business partner for Suzy Wong’s House of Yum in Nashville from which her persona was created.
A devoted philanthropist, Suzy uses her talents as an emcee and personality to give back to her community. Contributions include hosting the red carpet at Nashville Fashion Week, NOH8, The Human Rights Campaign, Nashville Pride and 10,000 Degrees (a non-profit vowing to financially assist 10,000 people on their quest to higher education).
• Read Suzy's monthly column "Sincerely, Suzy" on the Miss Gay America website.
• Read the Q&A with Miss Gay America 2017 Suzy Wong Miss Gay America blog, MGAZINE.
• Many more photos of Suzy on the MGA 2018 press release page here.