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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 10 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 32
She's a star!
Arts & Entertainment
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She's a star!

Seattle's Filipino Community crowns Jada Starr Ms. Gay FCS

by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

Jada Starr was crowned Ms. Gay FCS (Filipino Community of Seattle) last Sunday, August 5, at the Filipino Community Center in South Seattle.

Filipinos are 'some of the most beautiful Gays in the world,' said pageant organizer Tita Ganda, who co-emceed with Aleksa Manila. And Ganda just might be right about that, as the four competitors (Amaya, Tyra, Carmina, and Starr) clearly showed.

The FCS title is the oldest running ethnic minority pageant title in Seattle.

'I was the first open Gay board member [of the FCS],' said Ganda, who organized the group's first pageant in 2000. 'I decided to have an event to let the Filipino community know that there are Gays in [this] Filipino community.'

In addition to letting the greater Filipino community know 'we're here,' he wanted the LGBT Filipinos of Seattle to know that the greater community would embrace them and the pageant. His words seem to have been proven true from the turnout at the event - 250 people or more.

'We have a community that will support them,' Ganda told SGN. 'Their parents will accept them.'

'We do this because the Filipino Community of Seattle is an organization that believes in inclusiveness and justice for all,' said Alma Kern, president of FCS, adding that the only issue she has with the pageant is that 'our Gay contestants are more beautiful than me.'

The pageant's competition categories included creative/cultural dress, swimwear, Miss Congeniality (or Miss Friendship), evening gown, and a Q&A. When the contestants weren't onstage, former titleholders and contestants such as Isabel Lauchengco (Ms. FCS 2005), Kari Munoz, and Jessa Zaragoza (Ms. FCS 2000) entertained. Special guest performers included Atasha Manila and Gaysha Starr.

'The Miss Gay FCS title is the oldest running ethnic minority title in Seattle. I am proud to be part of a strong history of Queer Filipinos and Asians like Lola Maria Maharlika, Gaysha Starr, Asia, and the legendary Smokee,' Aleksa Manila told SGN.

PAGEANT RAISES AWARENESS
'Although these events provide entertainment for the public, they also provide an avenue for raising awareness and understanding of the intersection of Queer [and] API cultures. It's an opportunity to inspire young Gay and Transgender Asians to build self-esteem and confidence.'

Ganda agreed and said that to him, one of the best parts of the pageant is that it shows LGBT Filipinos who are new immigrants to this country that they will be accepted in the community.

'We have to reach out and be a part,' Ganda told SGN. 'There are lot of ways we [FCS] help new immigrants and this is one of them.'

Judges at the pageant included prominent local Filipino business owners and professionals as well as Arnaldo! Drag Chanteuse, and Seattle police officer Jojo Cambronero, whom Ganda described as his 'dream man - tall, dark, and married.'

DANNY VEGA REMEMBERED
Before the winner was crowned, a posthumous award was presented to the niece of Danny Vega, who died last fall after a savage beating by three aggressors, who remain at large. Vega had competed for the title of Ms. Gay FCS himself many years ago.

'It means a tremendous amount of compassion to recognize Danny Vega's gift of laughter, love and light. Danny was a beloved community member, both in the Filipino and Gay community. It was beautiful to witness his family to receive the award on his behalf,' Aleksa Manila told SGN. 'Danny was the known veteran competitor. We competed side by side in 2001 from Creative Costume to Evening Gown. I remember his smile and positive energy during the pageant and even before and after. He remained a friend and often opened his home for various social events.'

'It's an honor to win a title that's coming from my home country,' said Jada Starr. 'It was a fun pageant. & What I want to do with this title is not only represent the Filipino community, but the Gay community of Seattle.'

Starr is no stranger to pageantry and has held the Ms. Gay Seattle, Ms. Broadway, Ms. Neighbours, and Ms. Rainbow Pride Tacoma tiltles.

The last FCS pageant was held in 2005, but Ganda said members of the Filipino community were clamoring for another. The pageant serves as a fundraiser for FCS.

'I want to do it again, I want to raise funds again,' said Ganda.

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