The Source for Drag in Arizona & Nationally
What is your ultimate goal as a male entertainer?
My ultimate goal is for everyone to remember me as the person who changed their life for the better. We can all recall the best choice we made in our lives. The moment that we are most thankful for. I stay focused on living a healthy life while promoting positivity and success for those around me. Like I said before, I work beyond the entertainer, I work on the individual. That is my goal, helping the boys who are entertainers become the competitive gentlemen of tomorrow.
What's the best advice you can give somebody who is interested in competing for All American Gent?
Come to AAGent with your heart in it and with good intentions.
Money and an extensive resume will get you NO WHERE here at AAG if used as your only platform. It is anyone’s to win or lose. We don’t want to know about your past, we want to know who you are TODAY.
AAG is about you and your art.
Whoever can show up and display their art the best way that they can and as clean as they can while showing their heart on that stage will win the contest.
If you are relying on a resume, money, stones, “hype”, etc. then stay home.
AAG is inclusive and exclusive. By that I mean that our doors are open to anyone who wants to come and join our family, but we only want those artists that truly want to be here to come into our doors. Leave the egos at the door. We are your friends and family, and to some, the only friends and family that they have. We take pride in that.
All that I ask of you is for you to be you. You can be thick, skinny, white, black, Asian, Muslim, masculine or feminine, or a mixture like myself. No one has the right to judge you for the way you entered this world. We are truly a blended family here at AAG and would love to have any competitor with a beautiful passion for their art to join us this coming year. That is what All American Gent is all about.
Where do you see yourself in 5 year's?
In 5 years, I see myself with a family, further up the nursing ladder and enjoying the memories of my past.
I have already outlived many friends at the age of 27. Every day is a blessing. I take things day by day.
So, I’ve learned not to plan too far ahead. I always just keep thinking positive thoughts while working towards personal goals. Ultimately, God’s plan is already in play. I must give him the perfect opportunities to fulfil his plan for me.
Anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
I am a God-fearing man. I live every day with love for myself and fear in my heart to ensure that I make the best decisions. Being fair and honest will always be the recipe for good business. That is why I worked very hard and gave my all so that you could one day call me your All American Gent.
I love you all and I hope you have love for me in your hearts as well. Even if we have never met, I hope that by the end of this I have sparked something inside of you to become a better person. I want everyone to become a good influence in other people’s lives, even if we do not feel the same way about ourselves at times.
Be an advocate for those who need your help. We are all worth something to somebody. Be someone’s reason to smile. If you ever need me, look me up… I’ll be there. I am your GENT.
The Pleasure Is All Mine,
Cielo Whitney, All American Gent 2017
Are there any other titles you've held or any other titles you are interested in?
I held Mr. USA Unlimited 2011, a national contest that unfortunately folded this year after 32 years of life, and I also have held various preliminaries to other contests before capturing my second national title,
All American Gent 2017.
I have never competed in a bar title though. That was something that I have always been personally against, when it comes to those who find themselves afraid to do a national contest. They find themselves always feeling “not ready” for a national contest when the truth is, no one is ever ready to have their art judged in front of the whole country on a national stage. You must jump into it and run with the bulls.
At this time I reflect on the past 4 years and see how dedicated I was to AAG. It was due the vast differences between Gent and other systems for reasons why I did Gent. I knew why AAG was different in my heart from all other systems. I just choose not to discuss them because I would not want to influence how others feel about other systems in their heart. I do not have that right to alter their dreams. I support anyone doing what they love, even if it is for another system. That’s what being a grown man is all about. So, no… I do not have any plans to go to another system after my reign as
All American Gent.
What was you first experience with Male Entertainment?
My first experience as a male entertainer was when I competed for Mr. Gay Austin USofA in 2009. I committed to the contest because I was under the impression that it was a modeling gig. A few local friends of mine introduced me to people who could turn me into a winner with only 5 days before the contest. Mind you, I had zero knowledge about what was going on and may I mention, a 19-year-old kid with zero money driving a 2001 Saturn.
The head judge was none other than the legendary Craig Henderson himself who wrote on my comment sheet, “You are going to go far in this business.” I took that to heart and I still remember reading that comment every day.
Luckily, I ended up winning the contest that night against two veterans. I have been riding steady ever since!
Following that first experience, what made you want to become a male entertainer?
I competed heavily in colorguard through high school and beyond. I grew tired of learning one show for six months at a time. Now, in male pageantry I can allow myself to produce my own productions back to back my way and on my own time. This is the opportunity that many performing artists dream of. That’s what keeps me going till this day. Closing my eyes and imagining my art and bringing it to life. It’s magical.
Introduce yourself to those who might not know who you are. Cielo Whitney is......
Cielo Whitney is absolutely a character. Sometimes I do not know who I will be tomorrow. As crazy as it sounds, it is very true. In my personal profession, I am a nurse. I have been a nurse for 5 years now. I have two very drastically different professions and I love people to meet both sides of me. I am consistently and unapologetically me, and I hope that anyone who meets me would appreciate me for being just that.
Does Cielo Whitney come from a Drag Family? Have any Drag children?
I do come from a drag family. I do not have any drag children. Like many others, I went through 5 drag families in my first 6 months before meeting Odyssey Nicole Whitney, who is a San Antonio native. She picked me up and took me under her wing. Odyssey Whitney (my drag-mother) taught me how to turn anything into whatever I wanted to create. Her creativity and passion as a drag mother has made me the artist that I am today. With her help, anything is possible.
Now, my drag-grandmother, Alexis Nicole Whitney, All American Goddess At Large 2018 taught me to never let anything hold me back. Since she is visually impaired, her superb vocabulary and business influences have molded me into the administrator and business man that I needed to be as a national title holder.
With that being said, I have never been more proud to be a WHITNEY!
Keke Valazquez-Lord won Miss Continental Plus 2017 on Tuesday April 18, 2017 at The Park West Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. Keke competed against 23 contestants in Interview, Swimwear, Evening Gown, Talent and Question & Answer.
Dominique Sanchez won the title of Miss Gay USofA Classic on Monday May 22, 2017 at The Roundup Saloon in Dallas, Texas. Dominique competed against 15 other contestants from all across the USofA.
What is Drag like in your hometown?
I am originally from Richmond, TX where drag of any kind does not exist. I was never exposed to it until I moved to the Austin, TX area at the age of 19. But, that did not hold me back from flat ironing my hair and applying my school colors to my eye lids for every one of my high school football games. HELLO!
What would you consider is your style of performing?
My style is emotional and at times emotionally sexual. If I am feeling sexual, I want to make you feel the same way. If I want to jump a bridge that night, I will make you feel the same way, unfortunately. Only kidding, but yes I perform emotionally. However, I feel inside I let it out on that stage. Top 100 has never been my thing as you can see with my talent at All American Gent this year.
How long has Cielo been an entertainer? Any previous experience?
I have been a performer since May 31, 2009. That is Cielo Whitney’s birthday.
Before that, I performed in color guard and winter guard all 4 years of high school and two years after graduating. I then went on to teaching high school guard for two years before committing full time to male entertainment.
All American Gent 2017
What advice would you give somebody who is interested in becoming a male entertainer?
The art of male entertainment has changed a lot since the 70’s and 80’s. It’s no longer necessary to have the perfect body.
Since you are not coming out as a stripper, go-go dancer, drag queen and will most likely stay fully clothed, you have the first 30 seconds of any performance to convince the audience that they will be entertained because
YOU ARE AN ARTIST WITH A PURPOSE ON THAT STAGE.
Learn to be what I call a “universal entertainer.” Learn to adapt to any type of crowd and make every “type” of man or woman in the crowd love you. It takes time to figure it out, but if you don’t take the time to understand yourself as an artist, no one else will. EXPERIMENT!
Who are some of your idols in Male Entertainment?
My idols would include Kalil Valentino, RK LaRue, Angel Saez, Rico Cavalli and JC Devenport.
What would most people be surprised to know about you?
I strive to become a parent. My biggest motivation through nursing school was to eventually build a family and give them the life that I was not fortunate enough to have. But, first I need to find a husband…
What is the difference between Cielo on stage vs off stage?
Oh, I am completely different.
Cielo loves to do photoshoots, travel and be right in the center of the stage when possible.
Now, Eli is completely an introvert. I do everything alone. I go to the movies, eat out, go to the bar once every other month completely alone unless I run into friends. That’s why I find it so much fun to travel and reign, it gets me out of my normal routine of living a peaceful and quite life. So, in other words, I can be a very mellow individual away from the persona of Cielo Whitney.
My birth mother, Robin Stovall, is my best friend.
This pass March in Daytona Beach, Florida you won the title of All American Gent on your second year at nationals: Take us back to that moment you heard your name called. Did you expect to win? How was the entire experience?
I first came to All American Gent where I placed first alternate to Monte R. St. James. He then was crowned the first ever All American Gent. So, I took a few years off to reevaluate every aspect of my life and it paid off!
The moment my name was called I felt every emotion that I went through while preparing all year long. The things that engulfed mind at crowning included the extreme amount of overtime at work at the hospital, being on my feet day after day with barely any time off, the sponsors who believed in me, the yelling and screaming because my team and I wanted everything perfect, the endless phone calls for advice, the ridiculous amount of money that I placed on the idea of becoming All American Gent, the traveling that I looked forward to around the country and beyond this year, and the new opportunities such as this interview. I latched onto Jose Vega for dear life. He eventually laughed and told me I was going to be okay and helped blocked me until I could wipe my face clean because I forgot there was a crowd of people with cell phones watching me. I felt a tad crazy, I just didn’t want to look the part. That was my heart pouring out on that stage, at that very moment.
I just wanted to lay down and curl up into a ball and cry so hard. I was so happy to have what I knew was always mine.
I did expect to win. I never doubted myself. I knew I wasn’t perfect. I magnified my strengths and tried my best to hide my imperfections. If I didn’t believe I was going to win then I couldn’t expect anyone else to BELIEVE!
The experience of being your All American Gent is a once in a lifetime kind of experience. One day my reign will end and I must teach myself how to dream again. That is how much I wanted AAGent and only AAGent.
Why did you choose to compete for All American Gent vs any other male contest?
I chose to compete for All American Gent because I felt this was the best place for my art to be best appreciated without “unnecessary distractions”. The categories allowed me to express my creativity, business skills, and ability to appeal to a professional crowd as well as the electrifying club scene here in the US mainland and Puerto Rico. I went in with a package that defined every aspect of me as a male entertainer and me off of the stage, so when I won it was not only a celebration for what I could do, but it was a celebration for who I was. I won my own way. That is what AAG is all about. There are no molds. I plan to also reign with that same concept in mind.
It's a Whitney thing this year for All American Gent and All American Goddess. What does it mean to reign with family?
This conquest has turned into a blessing for us both!
For those of you that do not know, the current reigning All American Goddess At Large 2017 is none other than my drag-grandmother, Alexis Nicole Whitney. She also happens to be visually impaired. Her vision has completely degenerated. But, this obstacle will never hold her back.
God has blessed us both with this shared opportunity in the AAG system.
She trusts me to guide her when walking anywhere. I know how she works. I know how to read a menu to her, how to describe a pageant to her as it’s happening, orientate her to a new hotel room, etc. She trusts me to be her eyes, and this year I will do just that as her Gent.
We are both also very humble individuals who never forgets where we came from. We can commit each other to different situations without the worry that the other will be too “GRAND” and get mad about the financial situations on a booking or become picky about a certain hotel scenario etc. We can put the promoter’s and contestant’s experiences ahead of our own this year without hesitation.
We both applied for the job with the same goals and ethics, to lead those who want to fill our shoes with the best experience that they have ever had in this industry.
I am lucky to call my grandmother my queen and I her king.
What can we expect from you as All American Gent?
You can expect me to stay exactly who I am. I will continue to be the example of a healthy balance of pageantry and progressive professionalism in my personal life/career.
Not only can a national title holder guide someone to a national contest, but they can also coach them to maintain a healthy and PRODUCTIVE career in their personal life at the same time. THAT is how you mold a proper gentleman.
I am the man for that job.