The Year of the GEEKS

Reign XI monarchs embark on a mission of generosity, education, equality, kindness and service

Photos by Tiffany Photography.

By Laura Latzko, July 2016 Issue.

As part of The Imperial Sovereign Court of Arizona’s annual Coronation ceremony, the Reign XI monarchs were crowned May 7 at the Phoenix Airport Marriott.

Empress X Olivia Gardens and Emperor X Steve Marino stepped down during a “Geeks Gone Glam: A Soiree at the Comic Book Store” themed event and passed their crowns on to Empress XI Sophia Sinclair and Emperor XI SeaJay Moser.

During their reign, Moser and Sinclair plan to continue the G.E.E.K.S. theme, which stands for generosity, education, equality, kindness and service.

Like the monarchs before them, Empress and Emperor XI will serve as the faces for the local court as they raise money for local charities and scholarships.

Each year, the court raises funds for a variety of local organizations, and according to Emperor II Michael Gaffney, Reign X raised a total of $32,568.

The court also awards scholarships to Arizona LGBTQ and allied students through the Bryon Wiley Memorial Scholarship Fund. Since 2008, Gaffney said the court has given away 31 scholarships totaling $38,500.

The Imperial Sovereign Court of Arizona, which began in 2005, held its first coronation in 2006. Steve LaFata served as the first emperor.

The Arizona court has the distinction of having the first elected Native American empress, Miss DeMeanor; first elected Hispanic empress, Regine Rochelle; and first elected female empress, Justice Prevails. This year, Sinclair became the first transgender woman to hold the empress title in the Arizona court.

For more information on the Imperial Sovereign Court of Arizona, the Reign XI monarchs or the Byron Wiley Memorial Scholarship, visit imperialcourtaz.org.

Empress XI Sophia Sinclair

Throughout Sinclair’s 14-year drag career, she’s held such titles as Miss National Capital Cities, Miss SuperNova USofA at Large and Miss Arizona USofA at Large.

Sinclair’s history with the court includes serving as Baroness during Reign VI, Grand Duchess in Reign IX and Princess Royale during Reign X (the latter two were served beside Moser).

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Empress XI Sophia Sinclair.

Echo: How did you first become involved with the court?

Sinclair: I started out during Reign VI with Lady Christian … She truly is the only reason I started being involved with the organization. I thought I would give it a shot. I love raising money and I love performing. Just seeing the difference that it makes in our community has kept me being part of it.

Echo: Do expect your background as a performer will help you as empress?

Sinclair: I couldn’t imagine coming into this role and not having any experience performing and being out there in the community. I think it’s very beneficial for the court to have someone in a leadership position that’s also out in the community.

Echo:  When you started, how did donning the royal attire compare to doing drag?

Sinclair: This is totally different than a pageant. This is getting dressed … for a nice formal affair.

Echo: Do you feel a big responsibility being the first transgender empress?

Sinclair: It’s the same with Miss DeMeanor being the first Native American empress. It’s important to show people that we are inclusive. We do want more involvement from different members of our community.

Echo: What are some of your goals for your reign?

Sinclair: [T]o educate the community about who we are. Even though we have been doing this for 11 years and we’ve raised so much money, there are people in this community who don’t know who the Imperial Court is. I would like to teach them a little bit about the court and also to educate the court itself about where we came from.

Echo: Do you feel like the two of you have a different style than other monarchs?

Sinclair: We do have our own personal style. We are a little odd. We kind of do funny, out-there numbers. I would say we are quirky, just judging by our coronation theme … Every year, the emperor and empress bring something the court needs. That’s how you have to think about it. I’m now in this leadership position. What can I bring to further grow the court?

Echo: How does the title of Empress compare to other titles you’ve had?

Sinclair: People [are] looking to you, you are now the go-to, the one who needs to have all of the answers … The thing is the court is family. We are a big dysfunctional family. [We’re going to fight, we’re going to argue, we’re going to have our good times, we’re going to have our bad times, but we are all here for one purpose.

Emperor XI SeaJay Moser

Before getting involved with the court, Moser volunteered with Red Cross and with the Community Center at Luke Air Force Base.

Moser’s history with the court includes serving as a Lord during Reign VIII, Grand Duke during Reign IX and Prince Royale during Reign X.

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Emperor XI SeaJay Moser.

Echo: How did you first become involved with the court?

Moser: At first, it was like almost testing the waters. When I learned about the lines, I asked them what they do, what’s the purpose of them. Next thing I knew, I was being invested as a Lord. I was like, “Cool, what do I do?”

Echo: What type of performer are you?

Moser: I find the most random things to perform. For coronation night, for my candidate number, I found “What’s Going On” sung by He Man and performed it as Prince Adam. [I] can’t take myself seriously while performing because [it’s] supposed to be fun … I enjoy performing now. When I first started, not so much [but] I am getting better.

Echo:  When you started, how did donning the royal attire compare to doing drag?

Moser: I had to find a suit because for once, I couldn’t wear a tank top, shorts and flip flops. Getting dressed up isn’t all that new because as a military dependent having to go to ceremonies or dinners, you have to dress nicely. Dressing up, it’s nice. I like feeling pretty and fancy.

Echo: What are some of your goals for your reign?

Moser: I’m not a limelight person. I’m more behind the scenes, working in the shadows, making sure the cogs and wheels all turn. I felt the next step for me to grow is to take one giant leap … [My goal is] to work on my public speaking, get out in the community more, meet people, step outside of other people’s shadows and build the court more.

Echo: Do you have new fundraising ideas for this year?

Moser: Written word is my forte, and I’ve done research into different grants that 501(c)(3)s can get and how to go about getting them … There [are] many ways to raise money on a corporate scale without forgetting your roots, doing drag shows and raffles.

Echo: What went into choosing your lines?

Moser: While Sophia and I were building our lines, we wanted to make sure that who we put together would work really well together. If we have two new people at the same position, it makes it a little bit more difficult because they are fresh in the court. It’s easier to pair them with a veteran.

Echo: What will Reign XI bring to the court?

Moser: The court is doing great. It’s growing, but I think we’ve gotten a little stuffy. Yeah, we are doing shows, but it’s [not] always the same songs but the same genre of songs. Sophia and I are both bat shit crazy.

For more information on The Imperial Sovereign Court of Arizona, visit imperialcourtaz.org.


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