DRAG ARTIST OF THE MONTH
Mr. Gay United States Jackson B Nite
Miss Gay United States Sabrina White
The struggle of 2020 didn’t stop these two drag artists from capturing a dream and winning a national title. For one it was his first and for the other it’s been 20 years since capturing a national title but both prepared, traveled and delivered all during a global pandemic.
ArizonaDrag.com is excited to been able to speak with the newly crowned and reigning
Mr. & Miss Gay United States Jackson B Nite and Sabrina White.
What was your first experience with the art of Drag?
Jackson: My first experience with drag was when I started college. I went to the bar there, Vice Versa, on a show night. One of the first numbers, someone wheeled a big garbage can out on stage. I was so confused, I had no idea what was going on. They announce the queen, Messy Elliot, and Reba McEntire’s "Fancy" starts playing; all of a sudden, the queen pops up out of the trash can in a red sequin gown. I don't think I've ever laughed or screamed so loud in my life.
Sabrina: I began my career like most people start on Halloween 30 years ago!!!! I was a dinner theater kid and was just so amazed by the glamour from watching the ladies at The Connection Complex in Louisville KY
How did you get your drag name?
Jackson: Many years ago, I did female illusion. It was long before I knew male entertainers were a thing. My drag name then was Jessica Nite. A decade later when I decided to do male entertainment, I chose a name that honored my previous drag persona. The "B." is short for Bottoms, the DC drag family I am a part of.
Sabrina: I’m a huge fan of classic black and white movies and my favorite actress has always been Audrey Hepburn even after her fame she gave back so much of her life to those in need... and my favorite Rosi play was a movie called Sabrina.
What is your style of Drag?
Jackson: My style of drag is pretty eclectic but is definitely "pageanty". I dance, sing, do characters, Broadway, all kinds of stuff.
Sabrina: I’m not sure that I have a style of drag anymore I used to be a ballad queen when I first began then I became a dancer, with techno now I’m more of a eclectic entertainer where I do slow, fast ,Broadway, character illusions, country, rock ‘n’ roll little bit of everything now.
What does Drag mean to you?
Jackson: Drag is the deliberate deconstruction and reconstruction of gender norms. It is a way to challenge stereotypical gender roles and expectations, to create art and political/social commentary and strengthen the community.
Sabrina: This definition has grown and changed so much over my 30 years as a performer... but ultimately what you make it and how you approach it, and what you do with it..... it’s hard to stay relevant after a few years and if you can evolve with the craft you get left behind.
What makes you different from any of the other drag artist?
Jackson: I'm me.
Sabrina: Well I’m not sure that I’m that much different than other impersonators.... I have been around a little longer than some, and I remember the fights we had back in the day ... so being able to stay relevant and have the chance to perform each week matters a little more to me...
What has been your greatest moment as a drag artist?
Jackson: Winning Mr. Gay United States.
Sabrina: Too many to mention....
What was your most embarrassing?
Jackson: Having my pants rip on stage and the entire audience seeing my goodies.
Sabrina: I don’t really have an embarrassing story... I mean we have all tripped or lost a wig here and there but nothing exciting to share lol
Who are you drag idols?
Jackson: Montie St. James, Mykul Jay Valentine, Misty Knight (RIP), Michelle Devereaux Levigne, Axel Andrews, Landon Cider and my husband Dylan Dickherson.
Sabrina: Tandy Andrews, Sweet Savage, Chili Pepper, Tommy Ross, Chanel Dupree, Amber Richards just to name a few....
What’s the biggest difference between the man and the male entertainer?
Jackson: Jackson is a boisterous, fun loving extrovert. I'm more of an introverted homebody.
Sabrina: Well besides the shyness... Sabrina is still a virgin hahaha
Do you come from a Drag Family?
Jackson: Yep, the Bottoms family of Washington, D.C., headed by Ophelia Bottoms and my drag father Xavier Bottoms.
Sabrina: Well I did have a few mentors and a drag mother (Margo Davis) in Louisville Kentucky . Currently I have two drag children both of which are both national pageant winners as well - Andora Tetee MGA 2018 & Kristina Kelly AAG At Large 2017
Do you remember the first song you performed, the first stage, and how you felt about it?
Jackson: The first song I performed as a male entertainer was my talent mix that I used when competing for Mr. Gay West Virginia United States. The pageant was held at The Club in Martinsburg, WV. It was an exciting but frightening experience. I had not done male entertainment at the time and I wasn't sure how it would go. I had fun with it though and won the pageant.
Sabrina: Actually yes- it was Shirley Murdock “ In your eyes” ( told ya - I started out as a ballad queen)
What was your main goal when you became a Drag Artist?
Jackson: My main goal was to win a national.
Sabrina: Just to entertain, have fun, make new friends and give back! I have always been an introvert and the shy guy in the back corner of the bar- Drag gave me a voice to be a part of a growing gay community and gave me a chance to give back and help fight for our rights in the 80s and 90s
Question for Jackson:
You’ve considered yourself a pageant boy and have competed for several pageants before obtaining the national title of Mr. Gay United States. What made you pursue the title of Mr. Gay United States vs any other national title?
Jackson: My first time doing male entertainment was competing for a prelim to Gay United States. I had known the promoter for many years and they asked me to compete. That event started me in the system and in male entertainment.
Question for Sabrina:
It’s been 18 year’s since you last won your last pageant that being Miss Gay America and you’ve competed in one or two prior to just winning your new National Title. What made you want to jump back into pageantry after so long?
Sabrina: I knew I was t done yet and I knew I had some unfinished business left to finish before I retired....
Why did you choose Miss Gay United States as your national pageant of choice?
Sabrina: Well Gay United States used to be a prelim to MGA and it follows the same scoring system and based on same rules as MGA so it was a perfect fit for me....
Take us back to the crowning moment, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, you are competing for a National Pageant and you’re there waiting for them to announce the winner. Did you think you were going to win? And What was your reaction once they announced you as the winner?
Jackson: It was completely surreal. I didn't think I was going to win at all; I was fully prepared for Rolly or Aric to take the title. My first reaction was shock and then tears. A few years ago a dear friend passed away and the last conversation I had with her we talked about Gay United States. We promised each other that we would go back and we would help each other win. She never got to come back and win the crown, but when they announced me as the winner I felt like I had kept my promise to her.
Sabrina: Well- I wasn’t sure what to think- it’s such a rush when you in that final countdown to the announcement of who is going to win.... I think it’s that RUSH... that I enjoy... again we all want to win but the reality is there’s always a bigger chance you WONT get crowned..... it doesn’t make you any less of a contestant or retainer it’s just the opinions of those five judges and you have to win those five people over
How do you plan to have a successful reign starting it during a global pandemic and possibly finishing it after a global pandemic?
Jackson: The pandemic has made drag difficult in general. However, there are many ways that performers and title holders can stay in touch with their audience and promote themselves and their systems. While the pandemic is still raging, social media is vital to keeping in contact with promoters and potential contestants. Staying active on Facebook, Instagram, etc is key. I'm excited to be able to travel to the other nationals once the pandemic is over, but until then, I'm going to make the most of a bad situation.
Sabrina: Staying visible! I’m still very fortunate to have places to work here in St Louis- but I am planning on being more visible on all the social media platforms... I just signed up for TikToc and I’m actually feeling a little old and technologically challenged haha
What’s one thing people may be surprised to know about you?
Jackson: I don't know if it would surprise anyone, but I'm a huge bibliophile, politics and history nerd.
Sabrina: I love to cook and bake!
Is there any other national pageant you hope to pursue in the future?
Jackson: Haven't really thought about it. I want to succeed in this reign before I think of another adventure.
Sabrina: Hhmmm stay tuned, I still have some unfinished business for sure but as I’m about to hit 50 next month.... not sure how much longer I can keep kicking and stretching... (SNL moment)
If you could be a superhero, who would you be and why?
Jackson: Who says I'm not one already.
Sabrina: Wonder Woman- I mean we grew up together- I did her for talent in 2001- and she has a new movie as I have a new title!,
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Jackson: I'm not sure where I'm going to be next year, let alone that far in the future.
Sabrina: Not sure... I’m surprised I’ve lasted this long as a performer.... but like I said in my onstage question- I feel like I’ve been given this second chance to finish a career that I threw away over being stupid.......
Anything else you like to add for our readers?
Sabrina: Stay strong, stay focused and remember - tomorrow is never promised - so be kind to one another, you never know how a smile can impact someone and give them hope..
Keep up with Mr. and Miss Gay United States
Jackson B. Nite & Sabrina White on Social Media:
(click links below to follow)