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Miss Gay America
“About Miss Gay America………”
In late 1972, in Nashville, TN (at The Watch Your Hat and Coat Saloon), Norman Jones (a/k/a Norma Kristie), was the first man to be crowned as Miss Gay America. Through the vision of Jerry Peak, the original owner of the Miss Gay America Pageant, Norman Jones, Miss Gay America Emeritus, not only desired to enhance the art of female illusion as a competitor but also to one day create his mark in history as promoter in the art form. After relinquishing reign as Miss Gay America 1973, Norman Jones purchased (in 1975) the Miss Gay America pageant, from original owner Jerry Peek, in hopes of one day growing the pageant system to be the most prestigious and most respected pageant for female impersonators in the world. Many thanks go to Jerry Peek, for his pioneer vision and effort in pageantry through the art of female impersonation, and to Norman Jones for his 30 years of dedication and desire to mold the Miss Gay America pageant in to the “best of the best”.
After many years of trial and tribulation, Norman Jones achieved this goal as the official Miss Gay America pageant continues today, to be the most prestigious, most well respected, the oldest and the largest pageant system for female impersonators in the country and world. Now owned by L & T Entertainment, whose home office is located in Nesbit, MS, the pageant continues to grow and is expected to become even greater and more prestigious, in years to follow.
Known as the “Symbol of Excellence”, each winner of the Miss Gay America system represents professionalism and the utmost of quality entertainment that the art of female impersonation has to offer. Many make attempt to win the title but few are chosen. This 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. With no body augmentation below the neck allowed, many contestants rely on breast pads, hip pads, flattering clothing, hairstyle and make-up to merge into a winning combination that will score high enough to become the nation’s next Miss Gay America.
With nearly thirty (and growing) direct State and Regional preliminary pageants to the Miss Gay America national competition, each year the winner and first alternate of each direct preliminary will travel to the National competition in hopes of achieving their goal of becoming the next Miss Gay America. Likewise many of the State pageants have direct preliminaries whereby the winner and first alternate of the “metropolitan” preliminary pageants will travel to the State contest, in effort to be the State’s next Symbol of Excellence and to qualify for the national competition, in hopes to be crowned as the next Miss Gay America. Directors/owners of the preliminary pageants (franchises), purchase the franchise according to the rules and regulations as set forth by L & T Entertainment, as detailed in the promoters handbook. From the rules of the contest to the standardized required crown on the city and state/regional level, the system is well organized. Great pride comes with affiliation with such a high caliber of pageantry. The expectations of talent and beauty, combined with professionalism continue this pageant system, as it is known to be “the best of the best”. While this pageant at first, was marketed exclusively for the gay community, people from all walks of life have grown to enjoy and admire the dedication and talent needed to be successful in this pageant system. People from the world over will travel to see this contest and its preliminaries each year.
The owners (since 2005) of the pageant, L & T Entertainment, indicate that they will not change any of the criteria for entry into the system. “This system was founded on the fact that the men can continue to separate themselves from their on-stage female illusion without body augmentation and still project a believable female illusion”, said Larry Tyger and Terry Eason, owners of the Miss Gay America pageant. In 2006, L & T Entertainment placed trademark on the slogan, “Miss Gay America…….Where the boys are boys and female impersonation is an art”. While there are several other national pageant systems for female impersonation, the Miss Gay America system prides itself in that this is the oldest system of its kind and the other systems are merely “reproductions of the original thing”.
Each year at the national competition, the contestants complete four stressful days of competition. Categories of competition are talent, male interview, solo talent and evening gown. Then, on the final night, the contestants are narrowed to a “top 10” and these top ten finalist compete in talent, on-stage question and evening gown, with the male interview score and solo talent scores carried forward from preliminary competition. The Male Interview category validates the male persona in the contestants whereby contestants are interviewed in male business suit attire. Male Interview is the category to truly allow judges the opportunity to know the contestants and hear answers on a wide variety of topics. Talent and Solo Talent are designed to showcase the contestants ability to entertain and audience. Evening Gown displays the true elegance, glamour, sophistication and poise of the contestant. On-Stage Question allows the contestants show their ability to effectively and intelligently communicate with the audience. Each of the aforementioned categories are designed to produce a well rounded Miss Gay America that can lead by example. Contestants spend thousands of dollars each year in preparation for this contest including purchasing an evening gown, hiring dancers and making on-stage props to enhance talent.
The winner receives a prize package including cash, jewelry and other gifts, plus other sponsorship packages including many engagements throughout the year of reign, including a mandatory appearance at each of the preliminaries for the next pageant season, which usually begins in early January, of the next year. The newly crowned Miss Gay America can earn as much as $70,000 during their reign as Miss Gay America, in cash, prizes, travel, appearance fees and gratuity for appearance. This combined with unlimited travel throughout this beautiful nation and prestige of holding such a respected title certainly makes all of the time, energy and money worthwhile.
As many cities, including Dallas, St. Louis, Memphis, Columbus, Ohio were considered to host the national competition, L & T Entertainment (owned by Larry Tyger and Terry Eason) has made decision of Nashville, Tennessee as the host city for the Miss Gay America 2015 pageant (in mid October 2014). Persons, estimated near 5,000, from around the country are expected to attend the five day event.
For more information, including photos of former Miss Gay America titleholders and recently qualified contestants, on this pageant system for female impersonators, log onto www.missgayamerica.com
A Division of L & T Entertainment
Miss Gay America………….
Where the boys are boys, and female impersonation is an art !