Gadiva-Alaza-Williams took the stage by storm to win the judges over and be crowned Misster UNH 2013.
Drag kings and queens took the stage Wednesday, April 17, for UNH Pride’s Misster UNH annual pageant show.
Doors opened at 8:30 p.m. and the show started at 9 p.m. The six contestants took their turn introducing themselves to the audience, as well as judges Dean Frederic Baker, FYSC director Felicia Edwards, and Dante Gennaro from AIDS project New Haven.
Secretary of UNH Pride Amber Crow, along with vice president Katie Rice, were the MCs of the night. UNH’s 5-6-7-8 dance team and pep band cosponsored the event.
Each contestant introduced himself or herself with a show name. First contestant, 21-year old Adam Carpentier, PIRO president, called himself “Miss Kimmy.” Miguel Tan, 23, called himself “Anna-List.” Christopher Senerchia, 18, called himself “Amanda-Play-With,” while Anthony Nelson, 22, called himself “Sasha Ferocious.” Tagewattie Dasrat, called herself “T-Bags,” and Donovan Linder called himself “Gadiva-Alaza-Williams.”
The second part of the pageant was a lip synching contest where contestants came out on stage and performed to their choice of music. Carpentier came out dancing to “Candy Man,” and ended his performance with a cartwheel off stage. Next was Tan who performed the Whitney Houston classic “How Will I Know,” followed by Senerchia who sang to “Like a Boy.” Next was a Beyoncé-inspired performance to “Who Run the World” by Nelson. Dasrat followed with another powerfully inspiring song “Empire State of Mind.” Finally, Linder got up close and personal with the audience as he sang and danced to a remix.
After the lip synching contest, there was a brief intermission. Baker got up on stage to draw raffle tickets and announce the winners for the door prize giveaways. The prizes included five $25 gift cards to Dunkin’ Donuts, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or McDonalds. UNH’s 5-6-7-8 dance team and James Zap also performed. Zap sang and played acoustic guitar to four songs, including Ed Sheeran’s “Drunk,” the Friends theme song “I’ll Be There for You,” (to which the audience stepped in as Zap’s background, singing and clapping along), Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning,” and a Zap original about his love/hate relationship with UNH.
The final part of the pageant was formal wear, where contestants came out in gowns or fancy clothing and were asked questions by each judge. Each member was asked why he or she wanted to be Misster UNH. Carpentier, in a sea foam green elegant dress responded, “I entered in Misster UNH because it’s a cause I believe in. HIV and AIDS speaks close to me. I do it for everyone living with or who have suffered from it.”
Nelson responded to the question with a heart-wrenching personal story about his uncle who was diagnosed with HIV. His uncle was the only homosexual figure that Nelson had in his life, which he idolized. His uncle was diagnosed when Nelson was five and died by the time Nelson turned 10. He spoke on behalf of the homosexual community, which is greatly affected by HIV and advocated that something needed to be done. Each contestant stated they supported the cause and enforced their belief that people need to be more educated about the HIV and AIDS issue.
However, when asked, Tan responded that he competed in the pageant for a different reason. “I represent the women who don’t shave their legs or wear makeup because they are beautiful without it,” he said.
While the judges collaborated to tally their scores, the theme baskets were given away. There was a chance to win a movie basket, a beach basket or a sex basket valued at $69. Raffle tickets were sold at the show up until the drawing for the baskets started. The tickets were sold for fifty cents each, three for $1, or an arms length for $5. All the proceeds from the event were donated to AIDS Project New Haven. Donations were also collected throughout the week in Bartels. Gennaro thanked the audience members, all the donators and the competitors for the support of AIDS Project New Haven.
The first title awarded was Miss Congeniality, which was given to Nelson for raising the most money. Next, Senerchia was announced first runner up, and finally Linder was crowned Misster UNH.
“I embody everything that represents Misster UNH: commitment, community and character,” said Linder.