By Hollis Taylor
This was my third and final pageant for 2014 and I hesitated to take it on. After State Street Contest and The Hope Pageant plus my summer adventures I wasn’t sure I could squeeze it in. But I really wanted to be part of the Pride drag scene, last year it was the most interesting part of the entire festival. I wanted to run for Central PA Pride here in Harrisburg but I was already committed at other events on the same date as the pageant. So for 2014 I decided to grab the next closest town, Lancaster, PA. So preparing the pageant was much simpler this time and with limited funds we had to simplify a lot of things. First we had plenty of experience with what was expected and taking care of all of the details.
First I had to have a photo, a face shot, as it was described in the packet. I had a great friend Derek Gamble stop over one day and take some photos of me with my “face on”. His creative juices got to flowing and the next thing you know we had the perfect shot and an idea for mixed coloring. The photo itself was black and white but the rainbow tie was left in color- bringing a very kingly prideful type king to the picture.
Then at the pageant I was so excited to meet the other kings. I prefer a more cooperative competition myself and I notice most kings do better overall in them. They are more likely to bring their best to the stage and really shine, plus its more fun that way. I know that the State Street Contest had the feeling of cooperative competition that made it so much fun! I love to help the other kings and sharing is the only way I know how to be comfortable. I like to encourage everyone’s personal best in their own style and thats for kings and queens alike. Will Getter was a very interesting king since he had been performing at his church’s drag show for years. He had a great attitude and was full curiosity. Shane Bradley was a king that I had been trying to help before the pageant. The pageant was his very first performance – he is certainly brave. His beard looked really good and he has the perfect body to be a sexy half naked type king. I really hope to see both of them at the Lancaster, PA Pride Drag Show.
The first time the judges see you, other than in that photo, is for what they label “presentation” – Its not judged but they remind you that this is the first impression to the judges. I don’t really know too much about the scoring and all that hodge podge but I guess that statement implies we need to impress the judges. Weeks before hand I had spent a lot of time thinking about Izzy as a King and frankly I wanted to be sure that I brought my heart to the stage. My heart is big and I don’t want it to get lost in the shenanigans. I want to prove that there is a time and place for everything – bondage scenes, dicks in boxes and then other times for tap dancing & noble kings. I just don’t want to always be in any box, I did that the last performer I put together. This time I wanted to include a bit of everything – but most of all I love to make people smile. Whether you are laughing at my dick in a box, my pointy ears, or my silly hat – when you see Izzy I want you to smile. So in this idea about this performer I wanted to be sure I brought my heart to the stage as well as my nobility and honor to the queens. There were colors attached to kings and queens, kings were black – queens were pink. I wore black and pink for presentation, as well as a flashy pin. I felt like I brought to stage a king whom I could be proud of.
Then we had formal along with on-stage question. Again I wore a black tux and a pink comberbone and bow tie. I think I was ok on the mic, at least that wasn’t the hardest part. Moving my body and listening intently to a queen with a thick spanish accent were bigger challenges. My question was “What advice did you get when you first started drag? How does it help you today?” I answered simply that the advice I had gotten was to “have fun” – Drag is an art – a creative outlet and expression of a part of each of us. Most of us are just regular people and we are just doing this for the fun, the art, and the expression of something inside. So to wrap my brain around that its just for fun completely changed my attitude about a lot of things, such as the cooperative competition. Let’s all bring our personal best and make it about the art, not who wins! Anyway as I spoke about this I looked out in the crowd and realized pageants are really about the “drag community” choosing their favorite. Most of the audience were drag performers or involved in the community in some way. So they fully understood what I was trying to say.
Then it was time for the talent. I had two songs mixed “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons mixed with “Save the World” by Swedish House Mafia that were mixed by a guy on facebook called “Cuntalicious Rex” He is also a drag queen, just not local, and was able to mix something that makes “drag” sense. I needed it to portray that the world was awful and polluted – the apocolypse type feeling. Then I was gonna “save the world” by uniting us all. He mixed it perfectly and within the time frame given. So I wanted to do a sort of costume change from radioactive to Save the world. Radioactive was green and grungy with the led lights and raver gloves I was able to really have a good time with it. Then when I removed my cape to a rainbow shirt and my gloves went from neon green to neon rainbow it brought a completely different feel to the audience. It really spoke in volumes about diversity, unity, and love – some of my major values. A noble strong king was born.
Then when it was time I was crowned by drag grandmother, Whitley Nycole DeAire and the former Pride queen 2013 Minaj A Twa. Winning the crown was fun and the crown itself is really gorgeous. I feel like I earned it – I worked really hard to honor the art of drag. My costume for the talent is depicted in the pictures below and we worked hard to be sure this entire talent really showed the world my heart and intentions. I am truly honored and humbled by the crown. I feel honored to represent the King of Pride at the Lancaster, PA Pride event this summer and look forward to a similar honor when I appear at the Central PA Pride event in Harrisburg in July.