Jensen C. Dean Crowned King Arizona EOY 2015

By KJ Philp, March 26, 2015. Meet the other winners here.

Jensen C. Dean also holds Mister Rainbow Cactus 2012, Mister Phoenix Gay Pride 2012 and Mister Phoenix Gay Pride 2013 titles. Photo courtesy of Jensen C. Dean.

Echo: What does being crowned King Arizona Entertainer of the Year 2015 mean to you?

Dean: For me this means a whole new path on my Drag Journey. This is a higher level of performance and competition than I have experienced before. Arizona Entertainer of the Year 2015 is a huge opportunity for me to reach new goals and meet amazing new people. Being able to take the legacy that Gunner Gatlyn started last year and continue to help it grow and evolve is such an honor as well; this is something I’m very excited to have the opportunity to do.

Echo: Describe your style as an entertainer; who are your inspirations?

Dean: Honestly my style is evolving currently, and probably constantly. Right now I really just want to make people smile and have a good time when I’m on stage. I draw inspiration really from anything that makes me happy, if I cold figure out how to perform either as Iron Man or in an Iron Man suit and still show my lip-synching I would be in performance heaven.

Echo: Any message you'd like to extend to all involved in AZEOY?

Dean: The biggest message I can extend would be go #TeamArizonaEOY getting all of us to Nationals in itself will be a team effort and an even bigger team effort as we support each other during the week long competition.

Echo: What was your favorite category and why?

Dean: I always tend to do really well with the interview portion of pageants, but EOY doesn’t have interview we just have on stage question, so I would have to say my favorite category is on stage question.

Echo: Everyone loves talent, tell me about your performance:

Dean: My favorite 7 minutes on stage possibly ever. It was a lot of fun not only to perform but in practices as well. I had an amazing team and choreographer and we just had a blast together.

Echo: What specific measures did you take to prepare for this pageant?

Dean: This was a yearlong preparation process. It takes that long to get all the costume pieces together and made fabulous with stones and other accent pieces. I’m very lucky when it comes to preparations, my wife is very Type A so we had lists everywhere about what needed to be done and what items were already completed. The beginning of the week of the pageant she had started putting everything into tubs and had her label maker out marking everything.

Echo: What specific measures do you plan on taking to prepare for the national pageant?

Dean: Practicing until we drop! I really want to make everyone proud because I’m not just representing myself I’m representing the Arizona EOY Kings and my community when I’m at Nationals. I want to take the winning formula from my state pageant and apply it to Nationals and give it 110 percent.

Echo: Do you think co-ed pageants offer audiences something better/different? Why?

Dean: I think co-ed pageants offer audiences an opportunity to see something they might not normally see. For example, someone that has been following the Drag Queens and their pageants might not have had many opportunities to see a lot of Drag Kings or Male Performers. Having the pageant co-ed not only allows them to see their favorite Queens that they have grown to know and love it lets them learn about some of the performers that they wouldn’t otherwise get to really experience. I know all of this from personal experience, we all shared huge dressing room for the Arizona EOY pageant and I got to know a lot these performers that I hadn’t had the change to work with in the past; we are all turning into great friends now.

Photo courtesy of Jensen C. Dean.

Echo: Biggest lesson you learned through this experience?

Dean: Just roll with it. Pageants have a lot of moving parts and things going on and you can’t always plan things down to the minute like you might like to. You have to really be able to adapt to the situation and conditions you’re given and make them work to your advantage. Things happen, including the air conditioner in your hotel room starting to pour water all over the bathroom while you have 6 people all trying to get into face for the pageant (totally happened to me on Sunday).

Echo: Any advice for entertainers just starting out?

Dean: Have fun! The biggest thing about drag is it is supposed to be fun. If you’re not having fun you’re not doing it right and you need to find a way to change things up to make them fun for you. Also remember it is not only okay to ask for help it is encouraged; learn from mistakes that people have already made and save yourself the trouble.

Echo: Anything else you'd like to add (advice, shout outs, trade secrets, etc.)? Anything I overlooked (admittedly, I'm new to the pageant scene)?

Dean: I would like to thank everyone that has helped me so far in my journey to National King EOY, we’re 2/3 of the way done and officially in the home stretch.

As I mentioned before I had a great team of helpers so to Suzi D., Kenny Ho, Michael Winterhalter, Geo, Ryker Knapp (Richard Sharp), Sonja Jae Savage, and Patricia Mason thank you all for the help with my talent number.

Richard Van Stone and Kevin Hilzendeger thank you for all of the support, guidance, and allowing my team and I to take over your Arizona room to practice.

Gunner Gatlyn thank you for recommending the EOY system to me and for all of your help and knowledge.

My wife, Rebecca Pearce, thank you for being an amazing costume designer, dresser, and person, I love you!

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