Congrats to the new Miss Gay America, Deva Station

Miss Gay America 2018, Deva Station. Photo by BjKj Illusions.

Though cut short by a day due to the rapidly approaching Hurricane Nate, the 45th annual Miss Gay America (MGA) pageant held in New Orleans from October 4 – 6 was, by all accounts, a screaming success.

Forty-one contestants from across the U.S. traveled to the Big Easy to compete, many with dressers, make-up artists, back-up dancers and trailers full of sets and props in tow. For three days a panel of five judged the contestants in four categories: Male Interview, Presentation (in outfits to reflect this year’s “Le Cirque MGA” theme), Evening Gown and Talent (big production number).

By the final night, the competition was down to the top ten, from which an elite group of five titleholders was chosen. Each of the top ten then each put on dynamite Las Vegas style floorshow numbers - all to thunderous, standing ovations from the audience. That was followed by the Evening Gown completion after which the top five were announced. Following the On-Stage Interview and a final performance by MGA 2017 Suzy Wong, the winners were announced.

The MGA 2018 titleholders:

MGA 2018 Deva Station (Columbus, OH); MGA 2018 First Alternate Brooke Lynn Hytes (Nashville, TN); MGA 2018 Second Alternate Kelly Ray (Durham, NC); MGA 2018 Third Alternate Dessie Love Blake (Houston, TX); MGA 2018 Fourth Alternate Mary Nolan (Columbus, OH).

MGA 2018 Titleholders. Photo by BjKj Illusions.

Now, meet your newly crowned MGA 2018 Deva Station, as she answers seven quick questions:

1. How did you get started, when did you first do female impersonation? I started female impersonation much later in life than most. I had always enjoyed watching and had danced in pageants for many queens, but my work schedule was evenings and weekends with a lot of travel, so I didn’t have the proper time to commit to performing.

2. What has being in the MGA system meant to you personally? My time in the MGA system has literally changed my life. I have made lifelong friends that I travel to see all over the U.S. for shows and just to visit, spend time with. I’ve learned so much from studying and talking to other contestants. They, along with the formers, have become role models and teachers. My drag esthetic has changed dramatically. I have learned to believe in myself more than I ever thought possible. I competed at MGA six years in a row and won my seventh try.

3. How have you benefited from competing in the MGA system? Through the years my makeup went from “Halloween” to “pageant.” I learned how and why a talent is successful and why the execution is important. I learned that studying sub-categories taught me attention to detail, which, in turn made me a better queen on every level. You also learn how to market yourself, time management and the importance of organization, all enhancing both my drag and my personal life.

4. Is your family supportive? Sadly, my family is not supportive, but the great thing about drag and our community in general is that we surround ourselves with people who become our surrogate family.

5. What is your life out of drag? I try very hard to keep drag and my personal life very separated. It’s easy to get lost in your character which is a nice break from reality, but it’s also nice to have that privacy. My husband also enjoys the separation, he doesn’t necessarily want to go on a dinner date with Deva, she draws total focus.

6. There is an organization very special to you. Tell us about it. In my two big yearly production shows I always do a final number where all tips go to my charity of choice, Camp Sunrise. This is a camp in Ohio for kids living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. The camp provides a safe place, events, housing and meals. It’s remarkable and humbling.

Each time I have visited the camp and spent time with campers and counselors I am inspired to do better, to be better. My goal is to raise $15,000 by the end of my reign, and present a check for that amount to Camp Sunrise when I do my step-down next October.

7. How did you choose your drag name? The drag name Deva Station, came from me going through a really tough time in my life. I needed a place to get away, hide, become someone else while my head cleared. The fact that life events can be devastating and cause you to almost lose hope, I wanted to take the power out of the word “devastated” and turn it to a positive. The irony is that Deva Station made me a stronger and more successful human than I ever knew I could be.

Copyright The Gayly – November 3, 2017 @ 9:45 a.m. CDT.