By Laura Latzko, May 2016 Issue.
The 2016 Arizona Entertainers of the Year were crowned in four categories March 6 at the Wyndham Garden Phoenix Midtown.
The winners include Arizona EOY Femme 2016 Nevaeh Sweetness, Arizona EOY F.I. 2016 Karime Lizaldi, Arizona EOY King 2016 Dominic Von Strap and Mr. Arizona EOY 2016 Kriis DiKay.
According to Richard Van Stone, pageant co-promoter, EOY system contestants incorporate diverse talents, such as singing, dancing, comedy, burlesque or aerial skills.
“We try to go after people that normally wouldn’t be pursued in the pageant world,” he said. “There’s a lot of hidden talent. You just need to know where to look for it … No matter what you are, you can compete at EOY.”
Kevin Hilzendeger, pageant co-promoter, added that contestants do better when they are true to themselves during the pageant.
“[W]hat causes people to have a hard time with EOY is fitting into a box that the contestant thinks the pageant system wants,” Hilzendeger said. “They want you to be you.”
As the EOY system continues to grow, Van Stone said he’s seen it attracting more contestants and fans each year.
“We offer them as much or as little help as they want,” Van Stone said. “We try to make sure everyone has the tools and information they need to not just win here, but win at nationals as well.”
The 2016 titleholders will advance to nationals in Louisville, Ky., this summer.
For more information on the Arizona Entertainer of the Year pageant system, visit facebook.com/azeoy.