Kyle's Korner: October 2018
This past month of September was very special; things came full circle, as the first time I competed at Mr. Gay America was on my 25th Birthday in St. Louis, Missouri. Twenty-five years later, I celebrated my 50th birthday, as your national titleholder, with a full-blown gala: my family came in from Chicago, my mother did my birthday toast, over 200 people attended, and I wore an amazing white suit. It took me three days to open all of my presents. To say that I felt loved and special is an understatement!
During the birthday toasts, however, I noticed that the family/friends who offered their special words and thoughts would often say, "most people really don't know Kyle…" or "if you know Kyle...”. I was surprised at how many people said this, so I asked one of my best friends about it and he said, "Kyle, most people know you professionally not personally". So, I decided to take this month to introduce myself to you personally.
I was born in Chicago, Illinois September 26, 1967. My mother, "Birdy", is from British Honduras, now known as Belize, in Central America. My father is from Lubbock, Texas. As I come from a multi-racial, multi-national background, it is safe to say I am somewhat of a "Mutt". I have an older brother "Michael" who is six years older than me. Even though we came from the same person, we have nothing in common. He is tall, I am short. He was a jock, I was a performer. He was extremely handsome and I was average looking. He wanted to date girls and I wanted to do their hair, make up, and put them in pretty dresses. Needless to say, this presented many challenges in my childhood.
There was never a time in my life that I did not know I was gay. I had no idea why I was different. My father who was a football player would say horrible things about gay people and I often thought he was talking about me. Growing up Roman Catholic, attending Catholic school, and having been an altar boy, my internal battles and the fear of being "found out" were always on the forefront of my mind. In high school, I was just another kid. I was on the student council, played tennis, did gymnastics, and was a cheerleader. I was also in our award-winning chorus and did many plays and musicals. I also had the chance to perform with recording artist "R Kelly", however, in high school I knew him as Robert Kelly.
The greatest thing about my high school was that the popular kids were those that were smart and talented, instead of the jocks. Even though I was talented and got good grades, I did not have any swag, fashion sense for myself, and was too scared to be me, because then my friends would find out my "big secret". I keep my secret private by having a girlfriend in high school. She was pretty, smart, had an amazing athletic body, and was just a very nice girl. I can say to this very day, she loved her some Kyle. But although I was attracted to her, both physically and emotionally, I still knew who I really was. At that time in my life, I thought that this was going to be my life. I would get married, have kids, get a dog named Spot, and have a guy on the side. This is how God made me and these were the cards I had been dealt.
I went to college at the age of seventeen. As a young freshman, I did not know the ways of the world; I was arrogant and somewhat cocky, for absolutely no reason. I wanted to be a totally different person than I was in high school, so I spent the year bragging about winning national dance championships, coming from "Lake Shore," an affluent area of Chicago, and thinking I was better than everyone else. Needless to say, I did not have many friends. After being ignored, talked about, and shunned, I decided that I learned my lesson and during my second year of college, I settled into just being a student. At that time, I was a cheerleader, in student government, and was a member Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated. Joining my fraternity is a blog by itself, but I will say this, I learned to live and stay in the closet because of it. I later graduated with a degree in Psychology and Dance Performance.
As I am here typing this blog, I am a single man and sometimes I feel sad that I am single at this point in my life. I hope God will bless me with a life partner. My besties would say, "Kyle, you are single, but not available," or "Kyle, you need to lower your standards, everyone is not like you". My reply: "At 50 years old, you do not have the benefit of time, I have to get this right the first time". And of course, we laugh. As an adult, I have been so focused on building my brand as a businessman and titleholder. Now, I am working hard to enjoy life "just because" and have stopped focusing on accomplishments. Wish me luck with that! After I give up my title, I will spend the rest of my life being normal, as I have never been that.
I will end this blog just giving you some basics fun facts about me:
1. Favorite Color- Periwinkle Blue
2. Favorite Food - BBQ anything
3. Favorite TV show: The Bachelor
4. Favorite Actor: Michael Douglas
5. Favorite Actress: Demi Moore
6. Favorite Male Vocalist: Barry Manilow
7. Dream Vacation; African Safari
8. Favorite Female Vocalist: Linda Eder
9. Dream Car: Mercedes 400 E Class Convertible
10. Pet Peeve: Toilet paper being rolled under instead of over
11. Fashion: Preppy Nerdy
12. Man Crush: Taye Diggs, Johnathan Rynes Myers, Wilson Cruz
I am just a regular guy. I like watching sports, I am a news junky, and I only "pretty up" when I am being a titleholder. Just understand that when you meet me on the road, you are meeting Mr. Gay America, Kyle Ean. If you want to get to know me and be friends with just Kyle Haggerty, just say so, as making friends would be awesome during my reign.
Much Love and Respect,
Your Mr. Gay America, Kyle Ean
Mykul Jay Valentine - 3rd Alternate Mr Gay America 2017
1. Mykul, you and I are competing in a gymnastics meet. The last rotation is the "floor exercise" what is your final tumbling pass that you would attempt to seal the deal and edge me out. ... oh, and can you do it now? Uh...I know you can do some flips. So, I won't say cartwheel...So, maybe a whip-through to double Arabian! Can I still do it? Lol. Yeah...but my knees would probably break in half as soon as I landed. Lol.
2. You and I are out for drinks and hanging out. The same guy is flirting with both of us. He is hot, sexy, intelligent, and everything you would want in a husband, what do you do??? I'd ask you about that rash you got after your hookup last night. Lol.
3. In a former life you have dated another "pageant boy"... what did you learn from it ... good, bad, or indifferent? Lol. Another life?? The shade of this question! Well, I'll never do it again! That's the first thing I learned! It's not bad, it's actually refreshing to be with someone who understands what you do and shares the same hobby. I learned that there will always be competition between you two, even if you all don't see it. There will always be jealousy. Everyone will always compare you all to each other. Which is annoying. There are no secrets between you two, and it's kinda like being a celebrity. Everyone is always on your business. The best thing though, is the support you give each other, the ideas for new performances, being able to go to each other for advice, and even sharing costumes sometimes!
4. What advise would you give to to everyone to be an amazing national titleholder? Always make yourself available. It gets annoying sometimes all the questions and messages people send you asking for things, but they took the time out of their at to message you, you can take the time out of your day to respond. Invest in yourself, meaning, get promos made, get new costumes, go to other pageants and give your system- as well as yourself, exposure. People will always have opinions about what and how you are doing. They'll always have something to say good and bad. Remember, most of the people who say things have never done a contest before, or even been on stage. Ignore them. All that matters is you and your system's promoter. And HAVE FUN! It's a once in a lifetime opportunity! Make the most of it! Don't get caught up in the nonsense! Make the most of it because YOU make YOUR reign!!