Lady Raja

Raja
SHANTAY, SHE STAYED | Raja Gemini was announced this week as winner of Season 3 of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race.’

‘Drag Race’ winner Raja had to keep a poker face for 8 months, but now she welcomes the papa, paparazzi

RuPaul’s Drag Race crossed the finish line this week, and the best woman won. Sutan Amrull, better known as Raja Gemini, kept her eye on the prize since the first episode and ended up being crowned the next drag superstar.

This 6-foot-3 Los Angelo, who is part Dutch and part Indonesian, is no stranger to reality television, having appeared on America’s Next Top Model as the show’s principal make-up artist and serving as Adam Lambert’s face painter for his tour. In short, Raja knows glam and glitter on the road.

After winning a close race, Raj was crowned the winner and rose early the day after to chat about his experience on the show.
— Jerry Nunn

Dallas Voice: How do you feel now that the experience is over? Raja Gemini: I don’t think it has really hit me. I have been keeping the secret since August, even from my parents. I didn’t even talk to my mom about it. She seems to have known, though. She said, “A mother always knows…”

Do you think the judges were fair? I think for the most part the judges were fair. I think Delta Work should have stayed longer. I don’t think they really understood her humor.

Did you have a favorite celebrity judge? There were a few of them. I couldn’t believe that my season had two of my greatest idols: Vanessa Williams and Jody Watley. Jody Watley was a style icon for me since I was a boy in junior high. I wanted to wear giant earrings when I saw her. For her to be there as one of the judges, and Vanessa Williams as well, was a really huge deal for me.

How old were you when you first did drag? Experimenting with it, probably about 15. I have been doing drag all of my life. I was that kid that played dress up all the time, wearing different sheets and dishtowels. I made costumes. I was really getting into it by 16 years old.

People are saying you were friends with RuPaul before the show. People have made a lot more [out of it] than it really is. I have been a makeup artist for a very long time and have crossed paths with a lot of people. Ru at one point lived in L.A. and was a big fan of the L.A. drag scene. She went to all of the shows and I would see her quite often. We weren’t friends where we would call each other up and talk about boy, financial or family problems — we were just aware of each other’s presence. That’s inevitable when you work within an industry. I wouldn’t even say that Ru and I were acquaintances.

Where did you learn makeup? I was actually an art student and went to University of Orange County in California. I tried to be a student and hated it. I decided to be a makeup artist and then a female impersonator!
What are your plans for the prize money?  Actually, I am going to spend it wisely. I am going to pay off all of my bills No. 1, and clean my plate. I will be able to focus on working now. I will be elaborating and creating a brand, if you will.

Some of the money must go back into your act and the latest outfit. You know, it really does. It is very true when they say, “You have to spend money to make money.” Drag is expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. I am a pretty frugal drag queen and I love a bargain. I am definitely a thrift shopper. I love going to flea markets. It doesn’t always have to be that expensive.

Do you regret fighting with Shangela on the show? No, I love it. I love watching Drag Race and love, love, love watching Untucked as well. That’s my favorite thing! I watch it with all of my friends. We totally laugh and cackled at everything Shangela says. She is brilliant and super smart. She is a really great person. She has a bright future ahead of her.

So you don’t have beef with anyone on the show then? Not at all, not that I can think of…

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 29, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Trevor Project honors Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe, left, with costars Rupert Grint and Emma Watson in a scene from ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1′

I readily admit that I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I love the books. I love the movies. And I love the young actors that portray the characters in the movies — especially Daniel Radcliffe.

Radcliffe makes my list of favorites not just because he plays the heroic Harry Potter, but also because of his dedication, as a straight ally, to making life better for LGBT teens.

Obviously, I am not Radcliffe’s only fan. The Associated Press reports today that Radcliffe has been honored by The Trevor Project with the Hero Award for his work with the organization. Since first learning about the Trevor Project in 2008, he has worked to support the organization through public service announcements and other public statements. Radcliffe has also been very vocal and public in his support for LGBT equality.

Radcliffe told AP  he considers it “an honor” to have the chance to support the Trevor Project, and that he believes, “The people that are doing the heroic things are the people answering phones 24 hours a day in the Trevor call centers.” He said that supporting the Trevor Project is “absolutely one of the most important, if not the most important, thing that I’m associated with.”

Previous winners of the Trevor Project Hero Award are Nathan Lane, Dustin Lance Black and Vanessa Williams.

The final installment of the “Harry Potter” movie series — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 — will be released in July, and Radcliffe is now starring in the Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

—  admin

Screw world peace. Miss New York is for the gays

Miss New York Claire Buffie

Claire Buffie was crowned Miss New York and will compete in the Miss America pageant. Her platform, “Straight for Equality: Let’s Talk,” makes her the first contestant to compete using an LGBT rights statement.

She won’t win. Miss New York never does. Not anymore.

The Miss America competition began in 1933. The first Miss New York to be crowned Miss America was Bess Myerson in 1945. She refused to change her name and sponsors pulled out because Myerson is Jewish. Miss America didn’t make that mistake again.

Thirty years later, Miss New York Tawny Godin became Miss America in 1975. During her reign, she admitted she smoked pot. The pageant couldn’t wait till that year was over. Honesty is definitely not a Miss America virtue and they didn’t make that mistake again.

Then in 1983, Vanessa Williams became the third and final Miss New York to become Miss America. Toward the end of her reign, nude pics emerged and the most talented winner in the pageant’s history also became its only titleholder to be forced out. Swimsuit competition aside, we know Miss America is definitely not about sex.

A year or two later, Miss New York was a student from my college. She said that the judges asked everyone else an insipid question whose answer could have been the well-rehearsed, “World peace.” Then they asked her, “What is your position on abortion?” Her answer might as well have been, “What the fuck?” She said she knew she was out of the competition before a word came out of her mouth.

And Miss New York will not win again. Ever.

Rarely, to make the competition not look rigged, a Miss New York makes it into the top 10. Once, a few years ago, even the top three. But really, isn’t Miss Mississippi so much safer?

So Buffie is really taking no chances when she makes LGBT rights her platform. In fact, she’s smart to set herself apart and use those New York-o-phobes at the pageant to her own advantage.

Myerson went on to a career as a game show panelist in the ’50s and ’60s and became New York’s Commissioner of Consumer Affairs. Godin married Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider and had something of a TV and film career herself. And Williams is most recently a Desperate Housewife. The three are among the most successful winners in the pageant’s history.

We love our bold allies and Buffie is the first contestant to ever take a stand for gay equality. We wish her luck.

—  David Taffet