Welcome to my very first MGAR Newsletter, DeMarco’s Diary.
I am honored to be your 48th Miss Gay Arkansas America and want to take this time to let you know a little about myself.
My given name is Santiago Cura, but I go by Jess. I am originally from the small town of Weslaco, Texas. I currently live in Rogers, and I am 38 years old. I’m the proud father of two beautiful children; my son Draven is 16 years, and my daughter Katelyn turns 12 in a few weeks.
For me, growing up in Texas was not the easiest. I am one of six children raised by a single parent without an education, who struggled to find work. At 19 I packed all of my belongings, decided to make a change, and go after my dreams. I moved to the Natural State in 2000. Relocating to Arkansas was not as easy as I expected; I spoke Spanglish, a combination of broken English and broken Spanish. I struggled to communicate properly in either language, but I pushed on and I eventually made a life here and found a job at a restaurant. I have pushed myself up the ladder at that restaurant, making a career for myself for almost 19 years.
Like many, I was introduced to the art form of female illusion during my very first time in a gay club. It was that night, at the 10th Avenue Bar in McAllen, Texas that I was inspired and fell in love with what we call “drag.” Kathryn York, Miss Gay Texas USofA 2003 and Miss Gay USofA At Large 2006 was my everything. I began performing in a few clubs, however, put all of that aside when I decided to move to Arkansas. Becoming a father and working on my career were the most important things that needed my focus. Fast forward 17-years...
In the spring of 2017, then reigning Miss Gay Arkansas, Cassandra Rae, invited me to compete for Miss Gay Sweetheart Arkansas America. Although I had considered returning to the art form, I didn’t have much knowledge of pageantry, and I’d been out of the game for 17 years. I told Cassandra I would do it, and I took my chances! Winning that city preliminary, and tieing for 3rd alternate to Miss Gay Arkansas 2018, validated that I could pursue this after so long. By way of placing first alternate at the Miss Gay Southern Arkansas preliminary, giving me two weeks to prepare, I returned to MGAR once more, achieving the title of Miss Gay Arkansas 2019!
Representing Arkansas at Miss Gay America was an experience I’ll keep in my heart for years to come. Meeting representatives from across the country, people who I call my sisters, and seeing how they were all willing to help in anyway they could, made me realize what the Symbol of Excellence truly is about. Overall, I placed 19th out of 37 contestants at Miss Gay America. This opening experience to my reign as Miss Gay Arkansas has reinforced that anything in life is possible as long as I work hard.
I want to thank Norman Jones for creating a standard that inspires us to aspire for more, and for allowing us to believe in ourselves and look forward when we think we have nothing else. I also want to give a special thanks to Arkansas city preliminary promotors Jamie Wilson and Diedra Windsor for believing in me and giving me that extra push, and to C4, Triniti and Kinkead’s nightclubs for the support, they offered leading up to Miss Gay America.
I am honored to be a part of the long line of Arkansas’ Symbols of Excellence. As Miss Gay Arkansas I want to be the one who inspires you and pushes you beyond your limits. Remember, we have everything in our power to be our future, to do and be anything we want
Miss Gay Arkansas America 2019