Tiara en fuego

As she prepares to pass her title to a new queen, reigning Miss Gay Texas (and Miss Gay America) Asia O’Hara reflects on her amazing successes

Miss_Gay_America_2016_Asia_Ohara_May_2016_by_Kristofer_ReynoldsARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Executive Editor

The work of a pageant queen in never done. Especially when you’re overseeing some of the biggest pageants in the country.

That’s what it’s like for Asia O’Hara. The former Miss Gay USofA (and former Miss All American Goddess) is the current titleholder of both Miss Gay America and its feeder contest, Miss Gay Texas — considered the top national and the top statewide drag titles in the nation. And if you think being a pageant queen is all tiaras and lip gloss, well, you couldn’t be more wrong.

“Miss Gay Texas is the largest preliminary [to Miss Gay America in the fall], so I travel from city to city [across Texas] to administrate and facilitate the competition,” she says moments after stepping off an airplane. “Nothing is as labor-intensive [as the Miss Gay America system] because of all the duties and rules. I maintain quality control, I’m the score tabulator, I perform. And I do that nationally as well.”

It’s enough to make a queen feel like Cinderella.

But if being, arguably, the No. 1 drag superstar in the nation not crowned by RuPaul sounds like a “be careful what you wish for” scenario, it has also been a tremendous honor for O’Hara.
And by next week, she’ll be passing the torch to another starlet. The finals for Miss Gay Texas return to Dallas starting with prelims from July 19–21, with the coronation of the 2016 champion at the Rose Room on July 22.

“It’s going to be a really interesting year, because we have a mix of those who are familiar with the system and those who haven’t competed in it before,” she says. “A few have been competing off-and-on for a decade while for others, this is their first state-level contest. That offers the audience and the judges a wide array of contestants and a very good pageant experience.”

Even in the time Asia has competed, the world of pageants has changed.

“Especially in the America system, we pattern ourselves after mainstream entertainment, music and fashion, so we are kind of at the mercy of mainstream artists — that kind of drives our industry,” she says. “Ten years ago, the industry standard was new and organic and eclectic. Now, we have a more feminist thread with a strong, almost masculine presence onstage: Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato — stars who are not as dainty and feminine as we’re used to. To harness that [style] then make it look like female impersonation and not look like men in dresses takes a lot of finesse.”

Then again, learning the craft of drag is less underground. We have Drag Race. We have YouTube and Etsy. “You can learn to mix music and emulate characters and sew by Googling it,” O’Hara notes. “It’s given [next-generation contestants] an edge.”

But nothing can make you a champion without an innate appreciation for the essence of creating a new persona and selling it onstage. Contestants are judged by the style of their costumes, but also the fit, how well the color complements their complexion; how their hair works with the shape of their face, and how confident they appear, from their shoes to their nail polish.

Knowing “the look” is something O’Hara has done since she first began doing drag more than a decade ago. For most of that time, she’s designed her own costumes, though she turned her designs over to others to make for her. Around 2011, the company that made her garments asked if she would be interested in working for them as a designer.

“I didn’t do any sewing or construction or pattern-making, but I started to learn there about fabrics and textiles,” she says. “Then I went to work for a textile company and started making my costumes. A colleague asked me to make a costume for her daughter’s dance recital. [After initially resisting], she said, ‘You have a God-given talent — and don’t put it on a back burner.’” Now, O’Hara’s day job keeps her busy styling looks for other people.

It’s a good way to stay within the orbit of the pageant world when her reign ends — first with this month’s contest, then in October when her term as Miss Gay America passes.

“You know, we call ourselves ‘forever’ Miss Gay Texas instead of ‘former.’ It is something you are forever. I’ve realized that I’m not really stepping down, I’m helping induct a new member into our legacy and add a new jewel to the crown. Mine will always be there, but with hers next to mine.”

And this may well be her last year actively on the pageant scene. Although there are two more national contests she has won, “nothing is as prestigious as Miss Gay America, which has been going on for 40 years… and USofA is a close second. So while we all gravitate to things we have been successful at, I won’t be jumping into another pageant,” she says. “After [I step down], I will find some time to build some greatness in my personal life. I will force myself to focus on other aspects of my life. I want to be more well-rounded.”

And that’s how you win the interview portion, folks.

Miss Gay Texas finals take place July 19–21, with the finals at the Rose Room, 3911 Cedar Springs Road, July 22. MissGayAmerica.com/Miss-Gay-Texas-America.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 15, 2016.


—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Miss Gay America Pageant sold to Mad Angel Entertainment

Asia O'Hara1

The reigning Miss Gay America, Asia O’Hara of Dallas

On Thursday, Feb. 4, L & T Entertainment announced the sale of the Miss Gay America Pageant to Mad Angel Entertainment, owned by Michael Dutzer and Rob Mansman of Baltimore, who also own the Miss Gay USofA Pageant.

L & T Entertainment owned the Miss Gay America Pageant since February 2005. In 2013 L & T announced it was seeking a purchaser for the pageant system, but wanted someone that would keep up its tradition of excellence.

Asia O’Hara of Dallas, the reigning Miss Gay America, was briefed an hour before the sale was announced and congratulated Dutzer and Mansman after the official news release.

Miss Gay America was established in 1972 when founder Jerry Peek crowned Norma Kristie (aka Norman Jones).  Jones  owned the pageant from 1975 to 2005 when Larry Tyger and Terry Eason of L & T Entertainment purchased it.

There are 28 preliminary state and regional pageants leading to the national pageant, held each year in October.

—  David Taffet

Congratulations Asia T. O’Hara, Miss Gay America 2016

Asia T O'Hara

Asia T. O’Hara of Dallas has been crowned Miss Gay America 2016. The pageant was held this past weekend, Oct. 7-11, at the Holiday Inn Memphis Airport Hotel in Memphis, Tenn.

A lifelong Dallas resident, O’Hara was also Miss Gay USofA 2007 and All-American Goddess 2012. This was her first time to compete in the Miss Gay America Pageant, and she is only the second first-time contestant to walk away with the title.

Asia T. O’Hara is on the cast of The Rose Room in S4 in Dallas, and when she isn’t performing, she operates her own business, Antwan Lee Designs, which designs and creates costumes for high school dance and drill teams and for other drag performers.

Congratulations Asia. You’ve done Dallas proud.

—  Tammye Nash

Jenna Skyy takes 2nd alternate at Miss Gay America 2012 in Columbus

We wanna join in the chorus of people who have been congratulating Jenna Skyy on her performance at last week’s Miss Gay America 2012 pageant in Columbus, Ohio. The reigning Miss Gay Texas America headed north to vie for the title that ran from Wednesday through Friday. By the end of the run, Skyy had been named second alternate—  just behind first alternate Miss Gay Atlantic States America Jessica Jade and winner Kristy Kolby, Miss Gay DC America.

Skyy (aka Joe Hoselton) had this to say about MGA 2012:

“The experience was great. I wanted to turn the party my first time on the national stage and put Texas back on the map at Miss Gay America. My team was outstanding and we couldn’t have placed as high as we did without their efforts and commitment. I’m blessed to be supported by my friends and family like I am. I am relieved that I was given the chance to place where I did. I only wish others were given the same chance. There was a lot of truly great but unrecognized talents at the competition. Congrats to the top ten and to Jessica Jade for her first alternate placement. She was fantastic this week and gorgeous in gown. She’s my Miss Gay America. And Jessica Deveraux deserved a spot in the ten. That girl can twirl!!!

The pics are from the pageant via Skyy’s Facebook page.

—  Rich Lopez

Miss Gay Texas America starts tonight at the Round-Up Saloon

Big hair is a natural for these ladies

Miss Gay Texas America 2009 Onyx

When a crowning takes two days, you know it’s a big deal. The Miss Gay Texas America pageant begins tonight at the Round-Up and the winner will be crowned on Wednesday. Miss Gay America 2010 Coco Montrese will be in attendance as will Miss Gay Texas America 2009 Onyx to pass on her tiara to the new queen on the block. But first, the contestants have to get through the competition in talent, evening gown, Q&A, solo talent and the male interview and that all starts this evening.

DEETS: The Round-Up Saloon, 3912 Cedar Springs Road. 8 p.m. MissGayTexasAmerica.biz

—  Rich Lopez

Miss Gay Texas USofA crowned

Over the weekend, the Miss Gay Texas USofA pageant took place in Houston, but Dallas was widely represented, though Houstonian Chelsea Lauren was the winner.

Skye O’Hara Paige, sponsored by Woody’s Sports & Video Bar and backed by dancers that included dethroned Miss Gay America winner Alyssa Edwards, was the second runner-up, and took the “interview” portion. Dallas’ Kelexis Davenport performed, as local Whitney Paige was one of the judges.

You can view a photo slideshow from the event here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas' Alyssa Edwards wins Miss Gay America

Picture 2

The Miss Gay America 2010 pageant took place this weekend in St. Louis, and the unlikely winner is Dallas’ own Alyssa Edwards. Edwards was named first alternate in the Miss Gay Heartland America pageants just last month, a standard regional pageant held in Memphis. She was third alternate in 2009.

Third place overall went to Dallas’ Sally Sparkles, who won the evening gown competition as well. Congrats to both for showing the world that everything really is bigger in Texas — including our men who impersonate women!копирайдерреклама на экранах в москве

—  Arnold Wayne Jones