July 2017

            Well, here we are my final newsletter. This journey began for me at Miss Gay Columbus America a year and a half ago and it has been a whirlwind of activity and emotions. I have learned so much about drag, life, and most importantly myself. Miss Gay Ohio America taught me about time management, leadership, patience, and how to be a better person. I am so grateful and thankful for this opportunity. This has been life changing and I will take these experiences with me for the rest of my life. Being Miss Gay Ohio America has afforded me the opportunity to meet Miss Gay Americas and incredible entertainers from across the country.
Before I go, I wanted to say thank you to Team Nolan. You all know who you are and you know what you did. I wouldn’t and couldn’t do it with any other group of people. You all continue to inspire me to push harder and do better. I love you all from the bottom of my heart.
One of the aspects of this job that I felt really strongly about was upholding the legacy. Throughout our history, 37 people have held this title; each has done so in a unique way. Miss Gay Ohio America has a rich history and as the Symbol of Excellence it has been my job to honor that. I struggled significantly on just what I wanted to write for my final newsletter. It is in remembering these 36 other MGOAs that I decided to write an open letter to the next Miss Gay Ohio America.

Dear Miss Gay Ohio America,
First, congratulations. Second, it will NEVER get old hearing “Miss Gay Ohio America.” You have an impressive built-in support system of forever Miss Gay Ohio Americas and we are all here to love and support you. You have two wonderful and amazing promoters who will be there for anything you need. We are all proud of you and will be anything to help you succeed. You have a very special year ahead of you and it will be amazing to watch.
Make no mistake, this is a job. You will have to put a lot of work in and make it happen. Sometimes it will be easy, other times it will seem insurmountable. Enjoy it when it’s easy and reach out when it gets hard. You will make it. We are all here for you, that is why the legacy is so strong.
Keep in mind that people are looking to you to be an example. Be professional even when you think no one is looking because someone is always looking. Always look the part of Miss Gay Ohio America. If you are performing, make sure you look great because you’ll hear all about it if you don’t. Your social media should reflect the standards of our system, stay out of the negative and the drama it is beneath you. Carry yourself with pride at all times, you won and you have earned your seat at the table.
I received a lot of advice during my reign. One of the best came from Blair Williams. She told me, “Remember to enjoy yourself, you only get to do this once.” Thankfully she gave that to me right before my first prelim and I took it heart. You only have one time to be Miss Gay Ohio America, cherish every moment. Have fun at your prelims, appearances, and doing the work. Speaking of prelims, they get easier. As you administrate, you will get better at it. No prelim is perfect, something will go wrong, something will be less than desirable, someone will derail the whole thing, it happens. Take the lead, be strong, and make the best decision you can.
You will hear, “That’s not very America,” or some derivation of that at least once. Remember that in that room and at that time, YOU are the authority on what is Miss Gay Ohio America and what is not. You will have people making comments meant to make you feel less than, pay them no mind. You did the thing, they did not. What I’ve found is that people who don’t compete or don’t compete in the Miss Gay America system have the most to say. Just know the expectations of your role, hold your head high, and no one will have a leg to stand on. Do everything in your power to not give ammunition to those who would speak less of you. Remember, people are going to talk no matter what you do, ignore it.
I hope you have the most wonderful time at Miss Gay America. I will be there to support you and be there for you. My experience there was unreal; you will truly see why we refer to each other as sisters. It is a shared bond that only those who have done it can understand. Have fun in New Orleans! Take time to get to know the other contestants, there are some really amazing people there. I wish you nothing but the best at MGA and during your reign. I am always here for you whenever you need me!

Be the best you can be!
Mary Nolan

Miss Gay Ohio America 2016