Meet Tyrah Hunter

Tyrah Hunter has it - the power to grab your attention and not let go. With her slender frame and impossibly beautiful eyes, she is not simply masquerading as a female, she channels an energy that transcends definition. Radiating cool confidence, she captivates her audience using a finely-tuned sense of style and moves that few can follow. Flanked by a skilled group of dancers who surround her like rippling waves, moving fluidly into a precise, synchronized routine, Tyrah is one of the most memorable personalities in the pageant world.

For the Miss Gay Tennessee America pageant in September at Nashville’s Play Dance Bar, Tyrah turned up the voltage to a heart-stopping level. She created a Statue of Liberty look with silvery skin and hair, giving the appearance of metal.  When a tall, lovely competitor turned up in a similarly-themed costume, Tyrah Hunter was not fazed. 

She dazzled viewers in her evening gown, a shimmering red number of her own creation that clung elegantly to her figure, topped by dramatic sweeping hair announcing that she’d arrived. Graceful and exotic, she embodied sophistication.  

In the Q&A section, Tyrah was asked if she’d recommend any changes to the pageant system.  She answered boldly.  It had already improved, she said, because she was in it.

Tyrah explained. “My answer was looked at as cocky and some said it seemed like I was bashing the other girls and performers. That's not the case. The system is different because I have become a part of it. That's just how I feel.”

Others found her answer appealing; a sign of confidence made more courageous by the surroundings. Amid formidable competition, Tyrah Hunter had set herself apart, and would do so even more dramatically in the performance portion of the event.    

Her performance set to Beyoncé’s “Sweet Dreams” was riveting. The dancers wore incredible face paint by good friend and former MAC coworker, Rhanda Heath.  Their hair was styled by Kyle Kressin of Studio BBC Salon.  The routine blended an amazing combination of Anthony Thomas-inspired movements with balletic elements, highlighting one of Tyrah’s strongest assets. She can DANCE. Her silvery form was a vortex of sinuous movement amid her five blue-garbed dancers, all executing a complicated series of steps designed to astonish. With every performance, Tyrah kicks it up a notch and this was one of her best. In that moment, she went from elegant to phenomenal. 

When the dust settled, Tyrah Hunter was the new Miss Gay Tennessee America First Alternate, bound for the national MGA competition in St. Louis along with Miss Gay Tennessee Venus Knight and Miss Mid America 2013 Suzy Wong. 

This magical being didn’t appear out of thin air. Tyrah’s friends nicknamed her after supermodel Tyra Banks, and forced her to try drag at age 19. “I never wanted to do it, but my friends made me,” said Tyrah. “I kept telling them no for the longest, and they kept saying that I would be good… so I finally agreed to try it and it worked!”

Tyrah Hunter began her ascent in 2006 at a state pageant in Florida.  At Miss Sunshine State, she won in every category against eight contestants.  She said of the outcome, “It changed my life.”

“I’m a very competitive person, so I was drawn to the pageant world. You have to be very polished to be successful, “said Tyrah.  Self-described as “passionate,” her focused creativity comes with an independent streak.  She controls every aspect of her presentation, doing her own choreography, wardrobe, makeup and hair.  “I’m open to others’ input,” she said. “I already know my vision. It has come from the whole Tyra Banks persona:  runway, model, high fashion, tall, lean, couture, which is who I am.” 

Intelligent resourcefulness has fueled her success. Tyrah’s amazing maquillage techniques weren’t gained during her tenure at MAC. She brought them to the job, “learning over time.” She also taught herself clothing design, creating couture with emphasis on modern female attire. What’s in the collection? “Tons!” said Tyrah. She acquired this skill because it was hard to find things she liked that fit. “Also, also I like having control over what I wear. When I want something, I just make it.” Her favorite fashion designer? “Myself!”   

Tyrah’s impressive choreography is the product of innate skill rather than formal training. Her magnetic dance routines emphasize grace, quickness and coordination, as backup dancers echo her movements in unison. She emulates Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” so well that you wonder if the Jacksons aren’t missing a sibling.   

Tyrah admires her drag mother, Danielle Hunter and Armani.  Her titles have included Miss Sunshine State 2006, Miss Gay Nashville America, Miss Gay Memphis America First Alternate, Miss Gay Tennessee America First Alternate, Miss Gay Tennessee America 2012 Second Alternate, and Miss Gay Pride Second Alternate. 

If she appeared on TV, it would be in “a reality show where they follow me around from day to day.” One imagines the inventive Tyrah rifling through bolts at Jo-Ann Fabrics, racing around Performance Studios, rehearsing energetically and fielding questions about her astonishing eyelashes. “My lashes are always like that,” she teased when asked.

At her benefit show, Tyrah captivated in a black floppy hat, blonde bangs, glittery corset and four-inch heels, performing to Janet Jackson’s “I Get So Lonely.” She also paid tribute to the elegant Whitney Houston in a breathtaking self-made gown coated in sequins. Sleek and sophisticated, Tyrah nailed it.   

In early October, Tyrah Hunter burned down the stage at the Miss Gay America 2014 pageant.  She pranced across it in her sexy couture gowns, spoke with perfect enunciation in a debonair suit and showed her panache during the talent categories. Her inimitable wardrobe included a green-striped zoot suit ensemble with a black corset and wide-brimmed hat, a head-turning red gown with a deep v in back and dramatic architectural shoulders, a curvaceous white sheath confection with whipped cream on top, and a silhouette-hugging golden gown absolutely dripping with crystals. Most of the above collection was created by Tyrah herself, ensuring that nobody would approach her level of sophisticated self-assurance.  Surprisingly, she didn’t make Top 10, but hindrances only fuel Tyrah’s ambition. After receiving the news, she posed for a photo looking more splendid than ever, her engaging self-assurance unaffected. Tyrah Hunter’s exceptional ability to focus ensures her success in all that she does, and her admirers will always have her back.

photo credit: Katy Parson

WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

Keep readingShow less
by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

Keep readingShow less

Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

Keep readingShow less