I Came to Slay
by C.L. Frederick
Monique Heart was recently crowned Miss Gay Kansas City. The pageant, which was held at Missy B’s, played to a packed crowd and was the preliminary to the Miss Gay Missouri Pageant.
“I was coming to win honey, there was no other option,” Heart said. “I came to slay and snatch the crown and I did.”
Heart is proud to represent Kansas City and is overwhelmed by the support her community has shown. Miss Gay Missouri is one of the most historic and longest-running pageants in the United States. It is the second oldest pageant in the Miss Gay America system.
“To be Miss Gay Missouri would be legendary,” Heart said.
Being named Miss Gay Kansas City was an extraordinary experience for Heart. She stated that it was one of the most special experiences of her life and was a night that she will never forget.
“It was like a rite of passage,” Heart said. “My best friend, Moltyn Decadence, was the reigning Miss Gay Kansas City and it was such an honor for her to crown me. To share that moment with her was special. She has been a big sister and big brother to me and has helped shape me into the beautiful man I am today.”
No matter what event she is hosting or participating in, Heart said she does not have an individual favorite because each opportunity has merit and she cherishes each equally.
“My Favorite? Well that would be any event that I get to hold a microphone and take a crowd of people on a journey into this beautiful world of female impersonation,” said Heart.
Heart is the drag alter ego of Kevin Richardson, who initially never intended on pursuing drag full time or professionally. It was an interest that developed over time. She was unsure if drag was her calling until she decided to experiment and give it a dry run.
“I knew I always wanted to be pretty, but it was after seeing people’s responses to me and I began to see my professional growth that I was really cut out for it,” said Heart.
Drag has afforded Heart the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life and has given her countless unforgettable experiences.
“The most memorable night I have had in my drag career, of which there have been many, was my first night in drag,” Heart said. “I put on a mini Vogue battle. I saw this young college guy and I could tell that he wanted to ‘dance the house down.’ So, I walked over to him and encouraged him to dance and dance he did. In that moment, I knew that God was proud of me and he did not care that I was in a dress, platform shoes, and a wig.”
Heart’s decision to enter the world of drag was a very trying and painful experience in the beginning. She had just come out and left the International House of Prayer, an evangelical missions organization, in Grandview in March of 2011 and began doing drag in October of 2011.
“I was dealing with the lies and accusations that I was a failure because I couldn’t fight the good fight of praying the gay away,” said Heart. Coming from a deeply evangelical background proved quite the quandary for her and she had to deal with a tremendous amount of judgment and shunning from her religious association.
“Initially, I thought that doing drag would take me deeper into depression because some of the bad stuff I heard from anti-gay ministries and where the ‘gay life’ can lead you. So I stepped back and prayed: ‘Papa, if I am not supposed to do drag because it will lead to my destruction, close down every door.’
“Later that day, I walked into Hamburger Mary’s and they handed me a check and said ‘Go get everything you need to get started’ and they gave me my own show, Boy Bar,” said Heart. This was a sign that could not be ignored and eventually led Heart to becoming one of Kansas City’s most established drag personalities.
Heart believes in supporting her fellow drag performers as she considers it an extraordinary sisterhood that she feels privileged to be a part of. She offers priceless advice to any considering the pursuit of drag. “First, there are no rules in drag,” Heart said. “I believe in always looking polished. Drag is fancy, so make it beautiful and marvelous no matter what style of drag you choose to express.”
“Second, love the man behind the makeup. It is easy to transform and look fabulous, but it is hard to love the reflection in the mirror. To be excellent comes from within, and until we truly love ourselves we will never be beautiful,” said Heart.
Heart explained that it is important for her to put a smile on everyone’s face and to help them forget the hard times life presents. She hopes to invite them into the fantasy world of drag in hopes of making everyone feel beautiful and part of something extraordinary. She is also enormously proud and moved by the history of the drag community.
“Drag queens are the heart and the backbone of the LGBTQ community. Let’s remind ourselves of Stonewall, which was started by a black drag queen and a Puerto Rican transgender woman. I feel blessed to be a part of that legacy and sisterhood. Drag can be a very powerful platform. We all need one another,” said Heart.
Heart credits her success as a drag entertainer to the Kansas City LGBT community and the support they show to its drag performers. “We are a special community because of our love and that keeps me going every day,” said Heart. She anticipates making the most out of this opportunity and has high hopes that she will indeed represent Kansas City as Miss Gay Missouri.
“I will twirl all over this great state and continue to inspire,” Heart said. “I hope to eventually win Miss Gay America.”
The Miss Gay Missouri Pageant returns to downtown Kansas City April 7-9 and will be held at The Arts Asylum. Tickets range from $10 to $15 and will be available for purchase at the door or by calling 816-916-2401 or 314-640-4068. The pageant theme this year is ‘Memoir of a Geisha.’
“I am coming to slay,” Heart said. “It is going to be a battle, and this Kansas City queen is bringing the heat this year.”