A Never Ending List of Undying Gratitude – Miss Diva USofA Nationals

The whole of last week has been a bit of blur and I’ve just now been capable of formulating everything I want/need to say. I am sure that I have inadvertently left someone or something out; please know that it is not intentional and I love and thank you so much. This has been one of the hardest but definitely one of the most magical experiences I have had in my 36 years of existence.
 
I never could have imaged when I stepped foot on my first stage as a wee-performer that the roads would lead me here. After doing (almost) every kind of performance imaginable—from artistic roller skating, Belly + Polynesian dancing, modern, ballet, hip-hop—I found what would be my forever home at age 16. Drag had me smitten from the moment I saw my first queen do a backhand spring in 6” stilettos. I have spent the last 20+ years living, breathing, and perfecting my craft so when an opportunity and moment like this arrived I would be ready. While there is no way to be 100% prepared for the unprecedented and uncharted, I was/am blessed to have a rich history comprised of experiences and people that I could turn to for inspiration, guidance, and support. And to them I owe my sincerest and profound gratitude.
 
Aaron Davis – you were the original inspiration and my first introduction into the world of drag when I was too young to even be in your club. You were the first to take me under your wing and give me an all access pass to the glamour that goes on before a queen ever hits the stage. You are forever etched in my memory and my heart. Thank you for your nonjudgmental acceptance.
 
To all the queens who had a profound impact on me in my drag-formative years and didn’t even know it – Layla LaRue, Sweet Savage, and Erica Andrews to name a few, you have made me see that to be a true queen means staying just as true to yourself off stage as you are onstage. 
 
To all those who played a role in helping me get to where I needed to be for Nationals– Sweet Mark, DragonLady, Michael Krug, Onyx Anderson, Michael Hayes, Edna Jean Robinson, Dean Wilson, Joshua Allen, Joshua Salazar, Corey Harbour, Vu Quang Anh, Miabella of Crescent Moon Belly Dance, Jimmy D’Stone, Ally Greer– whether through sponsorship, creating custom hair and/or jewelry, or just kind + supportive words you all own a piece of this history with me.
 
To Christina Garcia & my Oklahoma drag family – It has been my honor representing your system and state; I hope I have made you proud (and thank you for sharing me with Texas) :).
 
To the Dallas drag community – I never knew it could/would be like this . . . the outpouring of love, support, and encouragement for this little 5’0 faux queen has been intoxicating. You never once treated me as anything other than a true queen and I am forever grateful for your faith in me.
 
To my beautiful dancers – Gitane and Marta, welcome to the Skyy family! We are forever bound to each other in draghood. Thank you for being a part of the magic and I know our journey together isn’t over yet ;).
 
To my new MI family – I can’t believe I have gone this long in my drag career without knowing and being in your presence. Y’all blew me away this past week and now you will never be able to get rid of me :). (You have been WARNED!)
 
To my new sisters in Divahood – Holy shit; we did it! Together we make up a part of USofA history and I am honored to have shared this experience with each of you.  Qtip- your talent is inspiring and you make me want to be a better queen. Bella – you are a gift to this art form and I know you are going to be and achieve great things (and I will be there with you every step of the way). Ruby – It truly is an honor to share the stage with you. Your legacy is humbling and I can’t wait to work with you in the future.  Tabbi – that gown was everything! You were so beautiful and I’m looking forward to seeing what you bring next year :).  Anastasia, Erica, and Alyson – y’all are amazing and I can’t wait to watch the video and see just how flawless each of you are. I hope to see you next year (if not sooner ;)).
 
To everyone/ pageant system who showed a constant belief in my talent Miss Gay Texas America/ Christian and Christian, Christopher Wilson, Edna Jean Robinson, Asia O’Hara, Linze Serell, Kara Dion, Gabrielle Diamond, Chanel LaMastersGizelle Bevon Ashton– I cannot begin to tell you what your support and acceptance has meant to me. I am humbled to have such amazing talent believing in mine. Thank you for helping me become the queen I am today. You are all brilliant.  
 
And to all of the new faces and beautiful people who have just entered into my orbit – I am so thankful that you are here and I will try not to wear you out too much ;).
 
And then there are those that no matter where in life you go or wherever the roads you journey upon take you will be there and love you through it all. There are no words in any lexicon that truly captures the range of emotions and gratitude that I have for you, but I will try my best to honor and thank you within the confines of our language.   
 
My mom and dad have supported (whether they agree with it or not) ever single journey that I have gone on. If I ever wanted to do it, they supported me through it. They have bestowed upon me the ultimate life gift of following my dreams. They instilled in me at a young age that THAT was the most important thing. My drive is because of them. My desire to become everything I can be is because they taught and raised me to believe in myself and never give up. I am the woman I am today because they raised me to embrace everyone and everything with love. They gave up 18 + years of their life to raise me and I will never be able to repay them.
 
Jenna Skyy – I am empty of things to say because I am so full of overwhelming emotions because you have been it all to me: a mentor, a mother queen looking after her first born, a best friend, a creative cohort, a shoulder to cry on, the keeper of my secrets. If I needed it, you were always THE it.  I have become Brandi Amara Skyy because you saw in me these moments that I couldn’t see in myself; you saw the queen before I even knew where to look. You and I have been together before either of us were the Skyy’s we are today and we will still be standing side by side when all the spotlights fade because that’s  just what we do. You were there to help push me through the moments before the stage lights hit and the crown touched my head and I will forever be there as a driving force edging you to and over the precipice of greatness. You are on the edge of glory and I get to be there on that stage—bobby pins in hand—for your crowning moment when the whole world gets to see what I have had the honor of always knowing.    
 
Manny – You have taught me the beauty behind choreographed movements and showed me that I could be a better dancer than I ever thought I could be. You are the 5, 6, 7, 8 to my non-counting self. You are the sharpness to my flow. You were my heart in those times that I thought about giving it all up. I have learned the beauty of living life and loving each moment on this planet by watching you live yours. I owe my positivity to seeing and witnessing your strength. I am the person I am today because you have impacted and inspired me be better at everything—performing, dancing, friendship, creativity—there is not a single aspect of my life that has not been influenced by you. Whether you know it or not or whether I tell you enough of not, you will always be magic and the kind of person I will spend forever aspiring to be.   
 
And finally behind every queen is a shadow that few see on stage. I am blessed that this shadow is a beacon of light all on her own. She is the sun in my universe. Without her strength, energy, love, and light I would be still be fighting and chasing my own darkness instead of basking in the light of my dreams and potential.  I have evolved because of her love. I have become because I felt safe enough in her arms and love to explore sides of me that had been hidden in fear. I have not nor will I ever know another love like yours. My soul, Candace Collins, I will love, honor, and carry your dreams into fruition just as lovingly as you have always done mine. I am indebted to you in a cost that I can never repay. But I promise you this: I will be your shadow and personal sun whenever you decide it’s your time to shine and I will spend forever trying to give you all the light and love that you have given me.  
 
I am beyond humbled and honored to be so graciously welcomed into the core of this family that I have admired from within for so long. Thank you to my USofA family of titleholders, promoters, and fans. I promise that I will do everything within my power to live up to your splendor.
 
BrandiAmaraSkyy_Signature
 
Miss Diva USofA

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