Latrice Royale recently traveled to South Africa, and wrote this beautiful account of her trip for NewNowNext.
As the anticipation and excitement of this “Journey of a Lifetime” grew nearer, I would have never in my wildest imagination, thought what this trip would really mean to me. I would be traveling to Cape Town South Africa to entertain and Co-Host the 2012 Miss Gay Western Cape Pageant.
From the moment I stepped off the plane, I was greeted by a mob of beautiful and radiant faces. With pictures, posters, and signs in hand as they all screamed LaaaTRIIIIIIIIIIIIIICE! I have never felt so welcomed in all my life.
The night before the pageant we had a small meet and greet, here I had the pleasure of meeting with all the pageant finalist. The energy and spirit that was in the room was of joy and excitement. I know without a doubt in my soul, what my next goal in life is. I’ve always known that I had a greater purpose in life, and now I know what it is. But that’s to come soon, with God’s help.
The Miss Gay Western Cape pageant is the most prestigious pageants of its kind.
With sixteen finalists would be battling for this honor. Although the format for this pageant is quite different from our U.S pageants, it was extremely entertaining. Now, I have been to numerous pageants in my career, but never one like this. From start to finish this was the ULTIMATE in production.
The ladies compete in three categories on final night. Swimwear, theme wear (Out of Africa), and finally evening gown. The top 5 would then move on to Q&A. Notice something missing??? I sure did, there is no talent competition in which we here in the States hold in high regard. Definitely different from what I am use to. Barry Reid is the pageant coordinator, and let me just tell you, he puts on one hell of a pageant. With the help of his business partner Mark, they put on one of the most professionally ran events I’ve ever attended. From start to finish this event was ready to be televised.
I learned a great deal during my short stay in Cape Town. I learned that even though, we may speak different, we may look different, but “Love” is universal. I have fallen in love with my new family in South Africa. I was embraced in such a way that I really can’t be put into words. It was something that you felt; you felt it deep in your heart. Not only that, but to embrace the family that I traveled with and to make her feel just as welcomed and loved as I did. My style, image, fashion coordinator and one of my Favorite people in life traveled with me. To hear CHELSEA!!!! Yelled from all directions, was just as glorious as hearing my own name. Our lives will never be the same.
As I asked questions and did a little research, I found that it wasn’t easy for these young hopefuls to do the ART as we know it here in the U.S. These girls are scraping to get the supplies they need. They are so limited not only in supplies, but it is too costly for most to import items that they need to Cape Town. I am blessed to be in a situation where I can get anything I need and want at the push of a button. Don’t get me wrong they do a fine job of making do, but we’re going into 2013 and making do is simply not acceptable at this stage of the game. I found myself saying “you can’t build a house without tools!”
I get very emotional when I think of the passion and drive that these talented and beautiful souls have. As I stated earlier, I now have a new mission and goal in life. From what I have witnessed, these girls have what it takes to do great things in the art of female impersonation. Getting them access to the tools and knowledge that they need to take it to the next level and beyond is my mission. It is going to take a village to help raise my new South African babies, but I know it can be done. It can be done with the help of some of my friends’ right here in the U.S. I will be calling on the help of cosmetic lines, fashion and hair designers. This is an opportunity to help change the lives of others. I’ve been very blessed in life and because of that, I want to make a difference! Stay tuned, there is more to come!