New York City brought down the house at Tuesday night’s Miss Gay New York America Pageant with a win by Michael Collins, aka Andora Tetee, from Hell’s Kitchen.
Collins, who runs a wedding and event décor company in the city, dressed to impress with a costume made to look like Broadway, complete with street signs, billboards and lights.
There were five categories the men had to dominate in: the male interview done in a suit and tie; the presentation with a themed costume; the evening gown; the on-stage interview; and talent, which is a big production with a number of costumes, sets and dancers.
Collins decided to dress up as Broadway because it was the first thing that drew him to the city 10 years ago before moving here.
“Anybody who wants to be a star wants their name up on Broadway,” he said. “Dreams are just there in the sky. It was built to draw your attention, just like a drag queen.”
For his performance, he “put a gay spin” on “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” the Dolly Parton musical, he told amNewYork.
“I really like to take people out of the realm of the normal,” he said. “We’re in New York City — no one does country music. If someone does Beyoncé, it’s very difficult to do it better than Beyoncé.”
Winning the crown was a long time coming for Collins, who competed in the Miss Gay America pageant 10 years ago. Now more financially stable, smarter and with years of experience behind him, he was ripe for the win, he said.
“It’s just a huge relief that it all paid off,” he said. “It’s very gratifying and really cool because all my friends helped in some way. Having their support makes you feel good . . . and you want to win for them.”
Collins will go to St. Louis in October for the Miss Gay America Pageant to compete for $1,500, a photo shoot and a “slaycation” to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Established in 1972, the Miss Gay America Pageant is the world’s first and longest-running female impersonator competition. Unlike other pageants, it’s strictly men impersonating women. Body augmentations below the neck are not allowed, meaning the men must rely on the skills it takes to impersonate women using padding, clothing, wigs and makeup.
Those who win get to travel and raise money for organizations close to their hearts. Collins said that if he wins, he wants to work with gay, bi and transgender youth because they need the support.
The 2018 Miss Gay America, Deva Station, said the competition also empowers gay men to do drag.
“I think it’s incredibly important as a gay man [that this pageant exists],” Station said. “Looking at our history and the evolution of our rights and privileges and the path that was paved by the queens at Stonewall (Inn) who fought back, the fact that we can do this in a very civilized and dignified format is fantastic.”