5 Questions with Miss Gay Louisiana America 2015 Delanie Valentine

Friday July 8, 2016

From July 13-15 (three nights), Club Splash in Baton Rouge will be the setting for Miss Gay Louisiana America, the state preliminary competition for the 44th national Miss Gay America, the world's first and longest running female impersonator pageant.
The pageant will honor the current Miss Gay Louisiana America 2015, Delanie Valentine, and feature Miss Gay America 2016, Asia O'Hara of Dallas. The evening's theme will be "Viva Louisiana."

Thirteen contestants from around the state will compete in five rigorously judged categories for their respective crowns: Male Interview, Solo Talent, Evening Gown, On-Stage Interview, and Talent (big production number).

Miss Gay Louisiana America was established in 1991 and is in its 25th year of competition. The Miss Gay America pageant was established in 1972 in Nashville, Tennessee-37 years before "RuPaul's Drag Race."

Meet your reigning Miss Gay Louisiana America 2015, Delanie Valentine, as she answers five questions in anticipation of her step-down and the passing on of the crown to the new Miss Gay Louisiana America.

1 When and why did you start competing in MGA?

I have been involved with pageantry my entire life. Since a young age, my mother would enter me in local pageants. By the time I was 13 years old, I had a multitude of titles. At that time, it became difficult to find pageants that had an age category older than 13 for boys. It was decided that my pageant competition career was complete. We continued to travel the nation with my sisters. Together we travelled from Anaheim, California to Hartford, Connecticut for several years going to various National and International pageant competitions. My mother and I also promoted a large national pageant system called "Kings & Queens of America." We had the largest contestant base in the Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida regions. We were also featured on TLCs "Toddlers & Tiaras."

My experience with the Miss Gay America Organization began in 2010. An abusive relationship took over my life. From 2008 until 2010, I had no interaction with family and very little interaction with friends. When I escaped that situation, I was encouraged by a former Miss Gay Louisiana America that I should enter the upcoming city preliminary in Baton Rouge. Given my extensive background in pageantry, I knew this would begin a journey that would become very sentimental for me.

2 What has the experience meant to you personally?

Joining the Miss Gay America family has proven to me that I am a person worthy of quality friendships. It has given me the opportunity to rekindle old friendships that I lost due to my past relationship. It has given me the self-assurance that I lost. The Miss Gay America organization and the people I have met through it actually helped me and gave me the confidence to rebuild a bond with my mother; a bond that I cherish with every fiber of my being. Being Miss Gay Louisiana America has been and for the next couple of weeks is one of the absolute best experiences I have had in my life.

3 Many of the Miss Gay America contestants are involved in good works, fundraising and nonprofits. What causes are close to your heart and what have you done for them?

As a female impersonator, we are always asked to participate in several fundraising events. I myself have donated my time to create artwork to advertise for such events including logos and posters as well as host or entertain. One of the causes that are close to my heart is the Susan G. Komen organization. They raise money for breast cancer awareness. Breast cancer is a disease that affects everyone, men and women. It has become so prominent that it affects most of our population. Being able to help a large mass of people warms my heart.

4 What's your other life?

My given name is Deven Carriere. I am a 31-year-old Casino Operations Manager for four gaming properties in south Louisiana. Currently, I am engaged to the love of my life, Blake Viator. We are planning our wedding now! It is scheduled for May 13, 2017! We purchased our first home together three months ago and are enjoying it. We have two dogs and a bunch of fish. In our spare time we enjoy cruising and spending as much time as possible with our family and friends.

5 What does your family think? Are they supportive?

My mother is extremely supportive! She is my photographer and seamstress. When I told her about Delanie, she was upset that I waited a couple of years to inform her. She loves the art so much that she actually does promotional headshots for entertainers in South Louisiana. My father is a very southern country farmer. He does not have much to say about it. Pageants never really interested him. I know he loves me and supports me and that is all I need from him.

Miss Gay Louisiana America Delanie Valentine on Facebook: www.facebook.com/delanie.valentine