by Gerald Bohulano, ABS-CBN News
PHOENIX, AZ — Josstyn Redulla was crowned Miss Gay Arizona America last weekend. She is Arizona’s first Filipino-American queen.
Known on stage as Olivia Gardens, Redulla won the crown in front of a sold out crowd at Tempe Center of the Arts.
“It’s been a dream of mine since I’ve started seven years ago, and so to have been selected this year, having put in the work and the effort to prepare my competition package… it was really quite overwhelming.”
Redulla was born and raised in Hawaii and moved to Arizona thirteen years ago.
“My dad’s side is from the Philippines. My mom side are Native Hawaiian. I have many relatives still in the Philippines, and many of us are in Hawaii as well.”
Redulla is the 32nd Miss Gay Arizona America.
Miss Gay America was founded in 1972, and is one of the longest running female impersonation pageants in the US. Redulla will spend the next four months preparing for the national pageant.
Redulla says he wants to make an impact in the community by partnering with LGBT organizations. He says he’s lucky to have tremendous family support, and he wants to inspire others to follow their dreams.
“The advice that I would give to anyone, any young boy who wants to be in this industry, is to follow your dreams — and know that there are many, many people in the industry, in the community, in the world really, who are supportive of the arts, and supportive of people following their dreams,” he said. “So I would tell them to do it and do it well, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.”
The Miss Gay America pageant’s coronation night will take place on October 7 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Redulla hopes to be the second Filipino-American to win the prestigious female impersonation pageant since Maya Montana in 1988.