Being a symbol of excellence has different meanings for those who hold the title of Miss Gay Arizona America. For the newest titleholder Sicarya Seville, it will be important to reign with a purpose and use her platform to bring attention to larger issues in society.
On Aug. 7 at AURA in Tempe, Sicarya became the new Miss Gay Arizona America titleholder as Espressa Grande stepped down during a “One in a Million” themed pageant.
The performer, who is known as Adonias Arevalo Melara in her daily life, is the drag daughter of former Miss Gay Arizona America and former Miss Phoenix Pride Barbra Seville.
Like her drag mother, Sicarya hopes to make a difference in the community.
“Winning is important, but it sometimes isn’t enough. It’s really about what you do with the crown and the responsibility you are given and how you can bring that back to the community,” Sicarya said.
During the pageant, the drag performer competed against nine others, including new and returning contestants, in male interview, talent, evening gown and onstage question categories.
During the state pageant, she won awards for on-stage question, interview and talent categories. During the recent pageant, Sicarya performed as a news-anchor and superhero in a talent number featuring videos and photo montages on immigration, voter restriction law and police violence issues.
Since she started doing drag, Sicarya has always used it as a platform to spread a larger message and inspire others.
“For me, it has always been about bringing drag to the origins. When we go back to Stonewall, it was drag queens and femmes. It was black trans women. It was entertainers. Drag has always been very political. It has always been a way of fighting systems of oppression,” Sicarya said.
Sicarya said that her strongest categories, which are also her favorite, are interview and onstage question because they offer a chance for her to be more authentic and present who she is.
She finds evening gown to be the most challenging category for her.
“There is a magic to understanding what fits you well, what color looks good on you. It’s a category where everything has to be perfect,” Sicarya said.
She said that her pageant victory is a testament not just to her hard work but to those who have helped and encouraged her.
The drag queen worked with five dancers but had a team of about 12 people, who helped her to build and stone costumes, choreograph her talent number, practice for interview and get dressed at the pageant.
Her partner, who has a background in fashion design, assisted her in creating looks for the state pageant. He often makes her drag costumes, and Sicarya stones them.
Although she has only been doing drag for about three years, Sicarya has noticed growth in herself. Starting out, she didn’t know how to do her makeup, but she learned important skills needed over the years.
“Drag is really mastering your art. I can’t wait for what’s ahead of me. With the three years I’ve been doing this, I’ve grown so much. I know that I will keep growing more,” Sicarya said.
Getting ready for a pageant over the last year during the coronavirus pandemic was challenging because she and her partner were trying to help their families financially.
During the height of COVID, Sicarya took part in a number of virtual drag shows. She said this helped her to expand on her skills as a performer, and she was able to apply her video skills to her pageant talent number.
“Emotionally, it was really hard. I didn’t see my drag sisters for months. We performed many digital shows. We got into this habit of performing online, which was a new thing. At the end of the day, it really got us to diversify the way that we approached drag,” Sicarya said.
As the new state titleholder, Sicarya becomes the face of the system and an administrator for preliminary pageants. She will also compete at the national Miss Gay America Pageant in January.
Sicarya qualified for the state pageant by winning the Miss Gay Copper City America prelim. She previously went to nationals in 2019 as the first alternate to the Arizona state title.
During her first trip to nationals, she played the piano and did a spoken word number that brought attention to the issue of immigrant children being separated from their families.
“It really delivered the message, especially since Miss Gay America was in St. Louis, Missouri, a very conservative state, where oftentimes they don’t see people like us,” Sicarya said.
She said she was one of only a handful of people of color competing in the pageant, and part of her goal as state titleholder is to help bring more diversity to the system.
Sicarya plans in the near future to hold workshops where she will give advice to others interested in pageantry.
“One of my biggest priorities will be making it more accessible for entertainers to join our local preliminaries. I want to provide coaching on interview, coaching on gown, coaching on talent. I wish somebody would have told me when I competed the little details of gown, the little details of talent or understanding the system better,” Sicarya said.
She also plans to establish scholarships to help other drag queens financially to be able to compete in pageants.
Sicarya started doing drag in 2017 while living in Texas. Before that, she had been in the drag scene in Houston for a number of years, often helping other entertainers with stoning outfits and moving their bags before and after shows.
She took almost a two-year break from drag and began performing again in 2019, after she had moved to Arizona. She is the weekly host on Fridays at Karamba Nightclub and has performed at different venues throughout the Valley.
Originally from El Salvador, she is a DACA recipient. Her drag name was inspired by the Spanish word for assassin or hitman/hitwoman.
Sicarya doesn’t consider herself a dancer but she did theater in high school and grew up playing the piano and singing in church.
For many years, she has been involved in different activist efforts.
Sicarya is the national organizing director for Poder Latinx and acts as a spokesperson for the organization on immigration, paid leave and the environmental topics.
She is also a political commentator for Univision for presidential and election segments and works with RipplePHX’s Loteria team, an outreach program that uses the art of drag to create HIV awareness.
The performer participated in the 2014 National LGBTQ Task Force and the 2016 Instituto Latino.
She was featured in a music video put out by Poder Latinx, the HRC and Las Cafeteras this year during pride month and in a presidential town hall for Elizabeth Warren last year.
The drag queen has received local awards such as the ArizonaDrag.com Award of Excellence, the Phoenix Pride Mayor Phil Gordon Spirit Award and a Virginia G. Foundation Piper scholarship to attend the Knowledge Exchange for Resilience fellowship at ASU in 2019.
She has also been honored with the 2012 City of Houston’s and NFL Foundation’s Hometown Hero Award,the Houston Endowment’s 2013 Heart of Gold Award and the 2013 Halliburton Research Participation Grant.