An Interview with Miss Gay Oregon Eliyah Nicole XLVI of The Imperial Sovereign Rose Court of Oregon

Still Celebrating Pride in the PNW!

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Earlier in the Summer, shortly after Portland's Pride, we brought you an interview with Mister Gay Oregon of the The Imperial Sovereign Rose Court of Oregon. Now we are pleased to bring you an interview with our 46th Miss Gay Oregon: local drag performer Aliyah Nicole. She was excited to speak about her turn in the pageant this year, and what she hopes to do with her title. 

This was not her first time, to paraphrase and loosely quote Ms. Dunaway as Ms. Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest not her "first time at the rodeo." The 2018 event marks the current Miss Gay Oregon's third year of participation. 

"I ran for Miss Gay Pride twice and won the title on my third try," she told PQ. Of her determination she says, "If at first you don't succeed try, try, and try once more."

The performer has been entertaining people since childhood. 

 

"As far as my experience in performing," she said, "I've been performing as long as I can remember. Just singing and dancing for my family, then in  school shows then I did Portland Idol. It's wasn't until I was 25ish when I met my drag mother, Allie McQueen, at Hamburger Mary's in Portland. Then I decided to make the leap into the world of drag. And," she said, "been twerking it ever since."

Her motivation for getting involved in pageants, and run for the title again, is that she wants to work to foster "advocacy for tolerance and safety in our queer community" in Portland, and throughout the state. 

"What motivated me to run for the Miss Gay Oregon title was my need to have the issues I want to see addressed and my voice heard from as big of a platform available to me." 

Miss Gay Oregon XLVI went on to say that inspriing and advocating the needs of youth was also a motivating factor. Having all been LGBTQ+ kids, we must remember it's our job to inspire youth to stay proud, visible, and vocal. But, this is not her first crown; and thus, not her first act of advocacy through winning a title. 

"During my reign as Miss gay pride I helped raise close to $1,000 for Cascade AIDS project at an event at Silverado, where my loving and supportive husband Michael Phillips bartends. I've also performed in countless fundraising events with our community."

Of course, we act on behalf of our community because we're part of it, and we love both our friends as well as the extensive LGBTQ+ community throughout the region. 

So, what's your favorite part about the community here in Portland, Miss Gay Oregon XLVI?

"I'd have to say my favorite part of the community in Portland is how loving, supportive, creative, passionate, and strong we are, while still managing to keep it weird," she said and that even her employer in Washington State was fully supportive of her attempt to get the crown. "In my non drag life I'm Derek Winton, a server at the Outback steakhouse in Vancouver. Believe it or not this did help in my being selected as Miss Gay Oregon XLVI. The unwavering support and confidence my wonderful boss and amazing coworkers gave me was one of the most valuable things to have in my back pocket," (or purse when Winton is appearing in his drag persona), "which I brought to the competition."

We do things for our community, but you are only human if you admit you're also doing it for personal reasons. She says she is most glad that she won, jokingly of course. But more importantly, the end of her title next year will coincide with something both publicly and privately important to Miss Gay Oregon XLVI. 

"Yes, I am proud I won, but I am proud and lucky to have such an amazing support system," she said. "Also, for me, that next year on the anniversary of  marriage equality was legalized in our country my husband and I will be celebrating five years of marriage."


PQ and the LGBTQ+ community in Portland looks forward to seeing what work Miss Gay Oregon XLVI of The Imperial Sovereign Rose Court of Oregon will do in the next 10 months. We thank you for your service, and wish you luck! As ususal contact the editor-in-chief with any upcoming story ideas or community profiles you think we should cover!