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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 23 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 34
Neighbours Pageant celebrates 20 years on Sunday
Arts & Entertainment
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Neighbours Pageant celebrates 20 years on Sunday

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Twenty years ago Gaysha Starr, one of Seattle's most recognizable drag queens, was crowned the very first Miss Neighbours. This Sunday, join Gaysha as she celebrates this milestone - a historic marker both for her and for the club.

Gaysha will perform at the 20th Annual Mr. & Miss Neighbours Pageant, hosted by Aleksa Manila and myself. The doors open at 7 p.m., with the show at 8 p.m. There is no cover charge.

'I can't believe this Sunday it will be 20 years since I stepped up as Miss Neighbours,' Starr told Seattle Gay News. 'Where did all the time go?'

'I certainly would not have thought I'd live in a world where your cell phone could be a mini-computer, we'd have an African-American president successfully elected for two terms, or that LGBTs could legally marry - especially in Washington state.'

Sometimes Gaysha says she wonders where her life would be if she had never danced drag 'that one faithful night in April of 1993 and competed in the lip-sync contests at the Brass Connection and Neighbours.'

'The funny thing is, I never won a lip-sync contest to save my life so no one including myself would have guessed I could have win a pageant, especially five months after starting drag,' said Starr. 'I did a megamix of RuPaul's 'Supermodel' and Sheila E.'s 'The Glamorous Life' mixed on a cassette tape off of a boom box for my talent.'

At the time, Gaysha, along with Lola, Smokee, Pineapple Princess, Seneca, and Asia, were the only API 'girls' in Washington. 'For many years, I would often be the only API drag queen at events and in the room, until the next generation of API queens - Shaka, Teriyaki, and Aleksa came along,' she said.

Looking back, Starr says, 'wouldn't change anything from the successes to even the miserable failures I've experienced as now I am starting to understand and appreciate them. I learn and use all the time, the lessons that people in my life taught me. Sometimes I even get a chance to pass down the advice I was often told: Know your words, cover your beard and mustache, always match your foundation, wear hip pads, and if you make fun of someone - always start with yourself.'

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