By Laura Latzko, May 2016 Issue. Meet the other 2016 titleholders here.

For Nevaeh Sweetness, pageantry is a new endeavor. The femme performer won the Arizona EOY Femme title in her first time competing in a pageant.

Sweetness, whose background is in theater tap, ballet and hip-hop, got her start dancing at BS West and Apollo’s, and she currently dances in the Rock’n Bodies Review, presented by Wild Men of the West Productions, every Sunday at The Rock.

Echo caught up with the newly crowned Arizona EOY Femme 2016 to find out how she felt about her new title.

Echo: What does winning Arizona EOY Femme mean to you?

Sweetness: There’s more to me than just stripping. I have a lot of skills, and I want everybody to see that. I love learning new things, developing and growing. Being in the system here taught me many new skills, from doing makeup to editing music to stoning [gowns]. I want to grow and show people different sides of me … I’ve had a lot of people say they respect me more. They see a different side of me than they saw when I first started.

Echo: What makes you stand out as an entertainer?

Sweetness: I am very diverse being a girl in the male part of the community. I’m bringing something completely different. It’s different with male dancers because they are hot and the guys want them. Me being a girl dancing for men, at first people were like, ‘Why are you here?’ I’m not trying to get laid. I’m just trying to entertain you. That in itself is different from other femmes because femmes in the community that I’ve met usually work in lesbian bars. Working in the male community, it helps me to learn every aspect of the community – the gay male, the lesbian, the transgender community – and it helps keep me very open-minded.

Photo by Jorge Martinez.

Echo: What would you like to accomplish at a state titleholder?

Sweetness: I want the femmes to have more of an impact in the community by giving back to one n ten and other charities. I grew up having basically nothing as a kid, so I want to pay it forward to those going through a similar situation. A lot of my close friends, one n ten took them in when they were younger. I appreciate the things they’ve done for people close to me.

Echo: What made you choose EOY system over other systems?

Sweetness: In the EOY system, it is about just being you, not matter what. That’s why I ended up doing it. They didn’t try to change me. They didn’t try to make me into a cookie cutter pageant queen. They were like, “Do you.”

Echo: What inspired your EOY package?

Sweetness: I wanted to do a slow song in the beginning. I normally only dance to fast songs, and I wanted to show I could slow it down and being seductive is not being vulgar. It can be very classy. I also wanted to get the crowd excited and show off my energy. I’m a very energetic person, and I love bouncing around…I don’t know about other femmes. I know I kind of stay me. I’m very bubbly and outgoing on and off the stage.

Echo: What is the hardest category for you and how did you work to overcome the challenges?

Sweetness: My hardest thing was walking in a gown. I had to figure out how to slow it down and walk in a long dress. I’m very short. I’m only 5’1, and I’m not a very coordinated person walking in a dress…To walk gracefully, pose, take my time and balance this big updo on my head, it was a big challenge… I’d walk around my house for 20 to 30 minutes learning how to walk slowly and pick the dress up in front of me so I didn’t step on it.

Echo: What advice would you give to someone starting out in pageantry?

Sweetness: I would tell them to just have fun. A lot of times, people get lost when they are too serious. Don’t forget to have some fun. Learning is supposed to be fun. Don’t lose yourself within the pageant. Stay you and just have fun.

Keep reading Show less
Photo courtesy of The Dinah

The Dinah

Keep reading Show less
Photo courtesy of Michael Feinstein.

Michael Feinstein

Keep reading Show less
Gilles Toucas

Michael Feinstein will commemorate Judy Garland’s life on March 20 at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

Keep reading Show less