By Anthony Costello, May 2016 Issue.
Each year, fiercely intense Miss Gay USofA Newcomer hopefuls go wig-to-wig to bring home the coveted crown.
Miss Gay Arizona USofA Newcomer 2016 Kimberly V. Devin recognizes that, although the competition involves friendly camaraderie, it also requires laser-sharp focus.
While being a newcomer guarantees its fair share of challenges, the Miss Gay Diamond of the Desert 2016 is using them to fuel her fight to bring the National Gay USofA Newcomer title home in August.
Echo caught up with Miss Gay USofA Newcomer 2016, who was crowned Jan. 31 at the Rock, to find out how she felt about her new title.
Echo: How did you first get into drag?
Devin: I got into drag because I was working as a go-go shot boy at BS West, and I met several of the drag queens there during the Elements show. The queens kind of just took me under their wing, or wig you could say, and later I dressed up for drag for the first time on Halloween one year and the rest is history.
Echo: Describe your drag style.
Devin: I like my look to be very clean for the most part. I like high drag; big hair, updos, rhinestones, nails, lots of embellishing. I think what inspires my look most is what I’ve seen at the pageants, mostly at USofA. The high drag aesthetic of USofA has always appealed to me, and that’s what I like to go with.
Echo: How has your drag art evolved since you first entered the scene?
Devin: I think slowly … things get better over time. The more you do your hair, the more you do your nails, then the better you get at picking outfits, getting ready and all those other things. It’s an all-encompassing experience. Everything has continually evolved for me since day one.
Echo: What was your first ever performance like?
Devin: It was at BS West. It’s my home bar, so it’s kind of soothing. I did ‘Foolish’ by Ashanti and it was a mess. I think I almost fell during my number as well. I had gotten through most of the song, thought I was doing well and then that stumble happened and it kind of got me. I’ve learned to keep my heels less than four inches since then!
Echo: How did you get involved with the Miss Arizona USofA Newcomer pageant?
Devin: Saellah V., who is also my drag mother, and my sister, Cloey V. Monroe, got me into it after watching them perform so many times. Cloey competed for the first time in the third year of the USofA Newcomer competition. Kira Daniels, another friend was in it, too, at the time. Watching [Cloey] and Kira perform made me realize it was something I wanted to do, something I needed to have. I’ve always liked competition and enjoyed the aesthetic of USofA. I’m not ready for the big girl stuff yet, so newcomer was kind of my first step into it. It’s something that sparked my interest and my competitive spirit came out and it was something I wanted done.
Echo: What was it like competing for Miss Arizona USofA Newcomer?
Devin: It was a very quick pageant, ran very well. It was a great preparation for Nationals in Dallas, Texas, coming up the first week of August. Interview portion was held at The Rock fairly early in the morning around 11 a.m. The process is that you give them a bio and you go from there, and later on you compete that evening for gown and talent.
For talent I just knew I needed to be entertaining so I focused on that. I did a mix of several songs with a tea ceremony, kind of like a geisha, but it had several different elements with choreography. I can a keep a beat but I wouldn’t argue that I’m an actual dancer. I’m Hispanic though so I do know how to catch a beat!
Echo: What differentiates Miss Gay Arizona USofA Newcomer title from the other titles (besides the newcomer title)?
Devin: All the OGs of drag who know what they’re doing are competing for the other titles. Newcomer basically helps the newcomers who’ve just put their toes into the water, like if they’re still within three years of making a preliminary but no later than that, and matches you with girls of fairly equal standing so you’re not running against the OGs of drag who really bring ‘it.’ Only if you’ve never won a state title or participated in a reality drag competition, like “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” which is firmly stated in the actual rule book, surprisingly, makes you eligible to compete in Miss USofA Newcomer.
Echo: Describe your emotions when you were crowned Miss Newcomer.
Devin: Happy, relieved and ready for nationals, but I’m just ready for the next step, on to the next one, let’s go!
Echo: What do you have planned now that you hold the title?
Devin: I’m hoping to bring the National title back to Arizona. I wouldn’t be going if I didn’t think I could do it. I was just crowned a month ago but I already have some fundraisers in the pipeline but no specifics yet. I’m just back at it prepping for the next one.
Echo: Do you have any advice for any up and coming queens?
Devin: Follow your heart, always!