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Winners help HIV-positive and AIDS survivors.
By Donalevan Maines
In all of dragdom, there is no other pageant like Miss Utopia, says its founder and chief executive officer, Carlos Davis. The contest doesn’t just crown a queen; it crowns an ambassador who will help carry out Miss Utopia’s mission of “championing the quality of life for all HIV-positive and AIDS survivors.” The $5,000 cash prize, $1,500 crown, $200 sash, and opportunity to walk the runway at other national pageants are all secondary to the winner getting to volunteer at events such as the annual AIDS Walk Houston, explains Davis.
This year’s national competition will be held this month in Houston, with the “Night of Magic” finals beginning at 7 p.m., Sunday, October 18, at Hilton Houston Southwest, 6780 Southwest Freeway.
A native of Picayune, Mississippi, Davis is a “very talented nurse” at River Oaks Hospital, says Dr. Stewart Zuckerbrod, who works closely with Davis. “I was really fascinated to hear about his involvement with the Miss Utopia organization.”
Davis earned his bachelor’s degree in molecular biology at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, where he began performing in drag as Vanessa Gabrielle. He received his master’s degree at the University of Georgia in Athens before moving to Atlanta, where the Miss Utopia board of directors still resides.
The pageant came with Davis when he moved to Houston in 2012. “It is my baby,” he says. “I eat and breathe it. The girls are my beautiful peacocks.”
Contestants will be scored on interview, presentation, evening gown, swimwear, talent, and question-and-answer.