Sunday, April 21, 2013

April/May 2013 - Christa's Column & MGMA Board Newsletter

I would like to start this newsletter off with an introduction. I am Christa Collins (Christopher Barksdale-Burns) and, I am the new Miss Gay Missouri America 2013. I come to you very humbled and excited about my victory.

I am a newcomer myself to the the system, so I will tell you a bit about my history. I am a former dancer with the Kansas City Ballet where I danced, for 21 seasons. 17 of those years as a Principal or lead dancer. I have also been a part of two national touring companies. The Will Rogers Follies (as the Indian of the Dawn) and a very short run of Thoroughly Modern Millie. During this long period of performing I also studied voice at the University of Missouri Kansas City. I have gotten to work in opera houses both here and abroad as a singer and done other musical theatre shows and workshops all over the country.
My introduction to the pageant system came in 1994 when I became friends with China Collins.  After seeing her perform at a local club called the"Cabaret", we struck up a conversation about working together. I admitted to her that I may be new to the art form known as Female Impersonation, but I am not new to people and/or movement and putting the two of them together. So we began a friendship and a working relationship that is still growing and thriving and it's where I get my surname Collins. Later on, I met and worked with other performers, but one of my absolute favorites was and still is Lexsus Chaney. When she approached me about choreographing a talent for her, I immediately said, "YES". We worked for 5 months, 3 days a week, with many dancers, gymnast, and other performers to bring her winning talent of Smokey Joe's Cafe to life. It wasn't until later that I learned that everyone was always upset with me for yelling at them constantly to get it right. Practice does not make perfect, "Perfect Practice Makes Perfect"!  As a result she won talent at the state and national levels.

When I am asked about how or why I entered the business, I have one answer. I want to put my own stamp on it. I have helped in the background for years and now I want to play in the sandbox with all the other pretty girls. 

 Winning Miss Gay Missouri America is a huge thrill, but now I am ready for the work. I would like to be a positive step in the right direction. I want to see the pageant grow and add more preliminaries, so that Missouri will be a force to reckon with throughout the country. In the coming weeks, I will be contacting promoters to set up some summer and early fall prelims. I will also be contacting former promoters to get them back into our family.

 I am looking forward to seeing, working, and having a great time with all of the girls from this year's pageant and to making new friends. 

 I am so proud to be a part of a year and a system that had people in it like, Adria Andrews (who is one of the most gracious and accommodating people I have ever met), Kitty Denise Litter (a ferociously talented lady), Loreal K.C's Queen of Comedy (such an amazing person, an awesome promoter and great friend filled with the wisdom of this  business) and Trixie LaRue (such a sweet spirit and one of the kindest hearts around).  I am so honored to have gone through this event with all of you. I will continue to learn and grow not only from you ladies, but from the rest of our sisters that went on this journey with us. LaDreama Funn, thank you for you all of your kind words. And to Miss Diva Coppafeel , the best words of advice from the weekend that I will take with me all year, "Just be and stay YOU" . Thank you for that encouragement. I will keep that in my heart all year and beyond as I get ready for Miss Gay America.

I would also like to give a special shout out to Regina LaRae, Moltyn Decadance and Heidi Banks, for all of the love, laughter hard work and fierceness that they provided me with not only on this weekend but on a daily basis. I Love you all!! GO TEAM K.C. Thank you Sally Sparkles for being a true and shining "Symbol of Excellence"

 As I close this letter, we are entering into "AIDS WAlK" events all  over the country. Let us remember and honor those who have passed on and those still living with this disease. I would also like us to be mindful of the events that happened this past week . The Boston Marathon bombings and the fertilizer plant explosions in West, Texas. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers. We are all celebrants on this earth and living together sometimes makes us angry and caustic - but we are also survivors and  if we learn to love one another and try to understand each other's differences, this dance that we call life will be one amazing party.

Miss Gay Missouri America 2013,
Christa Collins 


Well the  40th Miss Gay Missouri America pageant has come and gone,  and  I must say that
despite all of the hard work and stress, it was worth it. We have much to celebrate and  so many people to thank:

Thank you to MCCGS: for the providing a very special space to hold  MGMA -  the venue was filled to capacity on final night with more than 500 pageant watchers in attendance. Kudos to EVERYONE that worked  back stage, from organizing music, tabulating , dressing  formers, stage managing , props, and back drops....  from working the  front  door, clean -up crew  , DJ - what an amazing group of people. Thanks to  all the  city preliminary promoters  for what they do throughout the year and our many business and community supporters throughout the state! If I have  forgotten anyone,  forgive  me , please know  you are  appreciated .

Standing before the capacity crowd, I felt "IT" energy, the very thing MGMA should be - the  building  and  everyone in it  was a buzz. Indeed, it felt like the glory days of our storied pageant.  Three years  ago, our  goal  for MGMA was  to give it a new birth , and  the past two years  were nothing short of amazing  and set  the stage for a fabulous final night  this  year to prepare the ground for the next 40 years. It  was  amazing,  It made  me  tear up to see  and  feel  the  energy in that room!

I hope our  new  MGMA 2013 CHRISTA COLLINS  realizes what a great night  it was for her to be crowned in such a fabulous venue, before the  packed  crowd.  I also hope  each of the  stelllar contestants know that  there  can only be one winner,  as we  say,  but  each and every one of  them "brought it" this  year. Our First Alternate  Adria Andrews equally has  a lot to be  proud of  this year.  S/he did an  amazing job and our two top girls  will represent Missouri well at Miss GAy America in St. Louis this October.  Believe me when I say that I wish we could send all of our  contestants  to MGA this  year  - the calibre of talent was just that good!

Christa - you were  a delight all  week end  long  , and you have a  very big  job to do this  year as  you mark the  start of the  next four decades  MGMA. Live your reign to its  fullest , and as  you witnessed over the pageant  weekend,  winning  MGMA really does  change  your  life. But remember, only you control the how your life changes . Be honest  , be fair,  be gracious.  Know that  you are  always MGMA even when not  in gown or crown... people like hearing  from you , be it in person, or  in print,  etc. Be the best MGMA  you can be  and  it will come  back to you ten fold and  reward  you more than you realize. Welcome to the  family  of  MGMA and we look forward  to seeing throughout your year and  what you do for the job you have  landed!

July 21 st  is our first 2014 prelim, Miss Metropolitan. It  is scheduled to be held  in Kansas City at Sidekicks. This is an open prelim, look  for  application s  and information  very soon! Contact  Vanessa Vincent  (Daniel Flier) or Brenda Liegh  for info  on Facebook  or

Daniel Flier/Vanessa Vincent, MGM 1982

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