Brooke Divine, Miss NC U.S.ofA.

Oh, kids, here I go again — rounding up the tea from coast to coast and we have so much to cover in such short time and space. We have two new national titleholders to welcome, as well as a plethora of local contests as well.

Digging right in, congrats are in order for LaWanda Jackson, our newest Miss Classic U.S.ofA. LaWanda, as you know, is a former Miss Scorpio. Her runners-up were Amber Nixx, Kofi, Nicole DuBois, Sharde Ross (a former Miss NC America), Penny Holiday, Dina Jacobs (not Dena Cass as I mentioned in the last Rag, thank you), Alexis LaRue, Camille Lamour, Christiana Sinclair, Jewel Holiday and Christina Chase.

The following Friday night, a fierce Stasha Sanchez delivered a talent production worthy of the Miss Gay U.S.ofA. crown. She wore it out that night and got a standing ovation to boot. Her RUs included Natasha Braxton, Coti Collins, Dorae Saunders and Dominique Sanchez. The others in Top 12 were Leyla Edwards O’Hara, Sahara Davenport, Taryn Taylor, Naomi St. James, Tiffany Richards, Amaya Mann and Teonia Steele. Dorae and Coti got perfect scores in Interview. The Best Non-Finalist and Most Beautiful was Angel Cavalli.

Winners of prelims in other systems include Visa D’Kline, the new Eastern Michigan Regional EOY and Miss Iowa U.S.ofA. at Large Melissa Monet with RU Nova Starr. Tiffany McCray is the new Miss Southeast Continental held in Orlando at Revolution and some old news that I forgot to mention — Malaysia Black is Miss Atlanta World International. On the same night, Monte St. James won the Mr. and Tahjee Iman won the At-Large contest. Her RU was Amaya. Miss Heart of America, the most recent prelim to Miss Gay America, was won by Coco Montrese. Her RU was Sasha Leigh Chambers.

On the local scene, Jessica Jade is the new Miss Triad Pride and her RUs were Malayia Chanel and On-stage winner was Janice Covington. That same night, the Mr. contest was held and Mystic Parque won with RU Gemini Walker. Miss Mecklenburg County America is Starla DaVinci with RU Detra Penucci. Miss Raleigh is Vanessa Cottrell. The new Miss Scandals is Vivica Dupree with RUs Manhattan and Forbidden. Recent winners to Miss Zodiac include Miss Aries Adrian Griffin and her RU Natalie Rodriguez and Miss Taurus Sierra Leone with RU Carmendy. Felicia Monet won Miss Scorpio Pride.

In closing, I wanted to mention a conversation I had with our Miss NC U.S.ofA., Brooke Divine, on her first trip ever to a national contest. This young queen has been performing for eight years, and while she has come a long way and achieved many dreams, as it turns out, she was not quite ready for what she would be thrust into at Miss Gay U.S.ofA. As it ends up, winning wasn’t what she thought it would be — it ended up being a “headache and a broken heart.” Regardless, she says it’s still a job and she has goals and views on how to help the system return to it’s former glory. A reference she has made in an interview before would be that of The House of NC. She doesn’t want to tear down what has been built by the former winners and promoters, she wants to build and make it stronger and go in and clean or gussy things up. Another aspect she wants to focus on would be to help the younger impersonators reach the very goal she has attained. She considers herself approachable and humble and wants to inspire others because people always “speculate and exaggerate.” She advises young queens to be strong so they can reach their goals. As for her experience on the national level, she says it was completely different from watching it on YouTube or a DVD. Without the support team that most girls in the Top 12 had, she says the experience was overwhelming. Her fears were alleviated by meeting wonderful, caring people who seemed to care and wanted to see others do well.

She also thinks in hindsight that one needs years of experience, planning and promoting, too. She also says she had a blast! Brooke has asked me to thank several folks who have helped her possibly in the past, present or maybe even in the future, like NC U.S.ofA. pageantry, all former Misses NC, Zodiac Entertainment, Augusta II, Teresa, Jerry Bird, U.S.ofA. system, myself, Tamisha Iman, Erika Norell, Alyssa Edwards, Tommie Ross, Shae Shae LaReese, Tanisha Cassadine, Tajma Hall, Ron Tankersley and the national office for helping her reach her dreams. Also, to Amber Rochelle, Tracy Morgan (RIP), Sasha, Petite de Jonville, Amaya and to all of her friends who go unnamed for the love and support through the years that all of them have given in so many different ways. Brooke will be travelling as Miss NC U.S.ofA. until her step-down and afterwards plans to move on to the next phase in her career. She’s planning on moving eventually and returning to college. The move would be to allow her to spread her wings and succeed.

Finally, it is with heavy heart that I learned of the passing of a legend in our own time, Miss Farrah McCrae of VA. She was probably one of the winningest female impersonators in the industry ever.

Outside of the hundreds of crowns that she won in her career, probably two of the most popular would be Miss NC U.S.ofA. and Miss Classique. Lord, rest her soul.

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