Nashville Pride Pageant rocks 80s vibe June 9

Get ready for June 9. In an event leading up to the highly anticipated Nashville Pride Festival, the glitterati will descend upon Play Dance Bar to determine who will be crowned the fiercest, most fabulous Dude and Diva in all the city.

Of course, we’re talking about Ms. and Mr. Nashville Pride. Last year’s winners Ivy White and Lucas Prescott will be on hand to bestow their current titles and the opportunity to reign over the Entertainment Stage festivities at Riverfront Park.

This year’s host Annastacia Beaverhousen, a former Ms. Nashville Pride herself (’10), will host the show in her trademark bawdy and raucous style sure to entertain the crowd and keep the energy high throughout the evening. Boasting a Pride in the 80s theme, this year’s show will surely be a throwback to the high fashions of times past.

The Pride Pageant began in 1998, crowning an icon as its first Ms. Nashville Pride, the late Bianca Paige. Since then, the winners of the pageant read like a who’s who of Nashville drag royalty: Dakota St. James (’99), Trinity Monroe (’03), Mya Campbell (’04), Katrina Avalon (’05), and Stephanie Wells (’06)—just to name a very few.

But this is not just a pageant for the queens of drag. From the beginning, the kings have held court as well. The first winner—holding court with Bianca Paige—was the inimitable Bushra.

Though perhaps not as well known, the kings of the stage have brought a swagger and exuberance that make the pageants an unmitigated joy to watch. Past winners include: Teddy White (’00), D’luv Sayvion (’03, ’04), Buddy Holly (’06), Armani St. James (’09), and Lil Eazy (’11). The title of Mr. Nashville Pride has also been held by a real boy, Deshay Campbell (’05).

The responsibility of putting on the pageant has, since the beginning, fallen on MAC. An icon in her own right, MAC has been putting on pageants in the Nashville area for 17 years, and has been on the board of Nashville Pride for over 20 years. Her career in pageantry began when she took over the Mr. and Ms. Music City Pageant, now renamed the Mr. Esquire Pageant. Together with her production company, MAC Productions, she is the driving force behind many of the pageants that occur in the area.

She has a particular focus and love for the art of male impersonation. “For me, personally, the rewards are to see [drag kings] grow as performers—and people. We help a lot of them personally, and it’s always great to see them do well, to see their confidence grow. I just love to see that.”

After all this time, she knows exactly what makes for a great pageant. “It’s whether the crowd enjoys it. I don’t care if it’s two contestants, or ten, or how many more, success is in the crowd.”  Nice prizes also help, she notes. The biggest prize for winning is the crown and jewelry set, and will be provided by Performance Studios this year.

Soon, the stage will once again be set to determine who will be the fiercest, the most fabulous, the one who shines the brightest. They will truly be royalty, and they will ascend to a spot once held by current and past icons who have contributed so much to our community…and to our pride.

Nashville Pride Pageant will be held June 9. Contestants can register for the Nashville Pride Pageant online at or can register on the day of the show in person at Play Dance Bar starting at 5pm. Entrance fee is $50.00. Doors open at 8pm, and the show starts at 9pm.

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