Passing Down Her Crown

Miss Junior Phoenix Gay Pride Rhiannon Nichelle prepares for what’s next

By Laura Latzko - Oct. 9, 2014

Miss Junior Phoenix Gay Pride Rhiannon Nichelle prepares to pass down her crown at Rainbows Festival. © Scotty Kirby Photography

As Maxx Carlisle-King, aka Rhiannon Nichelle, prepares to step down as Miss Junior Phoenix Gay Pride, he plans to use what he has learned to guide him in future endeavors.

Carlisle-King said although the past year as has been a challenge with performing and finishing his last year of high school, he considers it a great honor to represent the local community.

“It’s not something you hear of very often. It’s really cool to be able to say, I represent Phoenix Pride," Carlisle-King said. “You don’t see a lot of young people get an opportunity like this.”

When Rhiannon Nichelle entered the Phoenix Gay Pride Pageant, shewas a new drag queen who primarily did Lady Gaga impersonations. Carlisle-King said he it still working to defining who Rhiannon Nichelle is, but he has time (he just turned 18).

“Sometimes I like being pretty, and other times I like being gory and bloody,” he said of Rhiannon Nichelle’s style.

Since winning the pageant last year, Carlisle-King has performed at a variety of events throughout Arizona, including Bisbee Pride and a Lady Gaga Artpop release party at the (now closed) Bar on Central. He has also gone on to compete – and win – BS West’s “Star’s Choice,” a drag competition for newcomers hosted by Kendra Katoure.

Throughout the past year, Carlisle-King said he’s grown immeasurably as a drag performer, admitting that he didn’t know how to do his own drag makeup until recently.

“Sometimes I like being pretty, and other times I like being gory and bloody,” Carlisle-King said of Rhiannon Nichelle’s style. © Scotty Kirby Photography

But, the young drag queen learned from his mentor, Kimberly V. Devin, who loaned him a dress, for his success at the pageant last year.

Although he plans to attend college in Los Angeles, where he will major in musical theater, the titleholder hopes to stay involved within the LGBT community through performances and community service.

Carlisle-King credits the art of drag with teaching him how to overcome adversity, (not just wig malfunctions). And, Miss Junior Phoenix Gay Pride, he has been able to connect with youth from Arizona and across the country, providing them with advice or a listening ear. He plans to continue to strive to be a role model for others.

“I want to be that beacon of light, even though I won’t be reigning anymore. It’s still what I want to do,” he said. “I want to be there for anyone who ever needs help or someone to talk to.”

For more information on the 2014 Miss and Mister Junior Phoenix Gay Pride Pageant, read The Stage is Set in the Rainbow's Festival Preview.

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