Queen USA Application

Queen USA celebrates the heights of transgender beauty, culture and identity in the grand pageant tradition, while honoring trans pioneers and engaging both contestants and audience in a broader awareness of transgender issues and offering calls to action.

St. John’s Well Child and Family Center and Karina Samala present the Queen USA 2017 Pageant at the Theatre at the ACE Hotel in downtown, Los Angeles on October 22nd, as part of St. John’s multi-event TransNation Festival.  This is the second year that Queen USA has gone national, with semi-finalists culled from applicants from all 50 states and Native American nations.
Proceeds from TransNation Festival will benefit the St. John’s Well Child and Family Center’s non-profit Transgender Health Program, which provides comprehensive transgender health services in a safe and welcoming environment to people in Los Angeles, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, or presentation.
Saturday, October 21st:

3 p.m. –  4 p.m.   Out of Town Contestants:  Host Hotel arrival and check-in with TransNation Festival Staff

Sunday, October 22nd:

10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Dress Rehearsal

1 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Lunch served (backstage)

1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. Hair & make-up

4 p.m. –  5 p.m. Photos

5 p.m. – 6 p.m. Opening number rehearsal

6 p.m. – 7 p.m. Dinner served (backstage)

7 p.m. Doors

7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Pageant

10:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. Photos,  Afterparty

Monday, October 23rd:

12 p.m. Out of Town Contestants’ Check-out

*Schedule is subject to change

Contestants will need to bring the following wardrobe items to wear in the pageant:

  • Red cocktail dress, knee-length or shorter (U.S.A. flag-red)
  • Swimsuit, either a one piece or a two piece (any color)
  • Evening wear/long dress of their choice (any color)

*Hair and makeup services are not provided.

  • The Winner of the Queen USA pageant will receive: $10,000
  • The Second Place Winner will receive:$7,500
  • The Third Place Winner will receive:$5,000
To be eligible to compete in the Queen USA Pageant, you must be:

  • 21 years old or over on or before the submission of this application
  • A transgender and/or gender non-conforming individual
  • In good physical and mental health and capable of performing the duties of the National Titleholder, as set forth in this application
  • Able to travel and meet all the obligations and the time commitment required of the National Titleholder, as set forth in this application
  • A current or prior resident of the state which you are applying to represent
  • A supporter of transgender health and human rights
Founded in 2001 and produced by Karina Samala of the Imperial Court of Los Angeles and Hollywood, The Queen USA Pageant is an annual pageant for the transgender community, bringing together some of the most beautiful and talented transgender individuals in the country.

The Queen USA pageant showcases the beauty, diversity, talent, and intelligence of the transgender community and serves as a platform for the greater TLGBQ community, allies, and the mainstream community to join together to understand the real challenges that transgender individuals face, and celebrate the triumphs and victories of this strong community.

From its grassroots beginnings, the pageant has provided candidates with many benefits, including serving to boost confidence, self-esteem and self-worth, and encouraging community. Transgender persons are oftentimes rejected, marginalized, and alienated in our society. A recent study concluded that a staggering 41% of transgender people attempted suicide in their life. Queen USA pageant honors the beauty of transgender individuals, while highlighting the worth and dignity of trans experiences. Many previous contestants and winners have gone on to pursue careers in art, entertainment, business, healthcare, and law.

KARINA SAMALA is the longtime producer of the Queen USA and Queen of the Universe transgender beauty pageants. A graduate of M.I.T. Philippines with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering, Ms. Samala worked as a Senior Process Engineer for Northrop- Grumman Corporation, for several years.

Ms.Samala has competed in and won numerous transgender beauty pageants, with titles including “Queen of the Universe” 1991, “Miss Gay World” 1995 and “Miss California Continental” 1990. In addition to her involvement in these TLGB events, Ms. Samala has been active in several TLGBQ advocacy groups and philanthropic organizations for over twenty years.

Ms. Samala is currently the chairperson for the City of Los Angeles’ Human Relations Commission’s Transgender Advisory Council and the President of the Board of Directors of the Imperial Court of Los Angeles and Hollywood. She is also a member of the City of West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Board, the Christopher Street West/LA Pride Board, the County of Los Angeles Sheriff’s TLGB Advisory Council, the Community Police Advisory Board – LAPD Jail Division, and the Asian Pacific Islander Pride Council.

For her extensive and continued work in the community, Ms. Samala has been presented numerous awards. She received “Lifetime Achievement” and “Stonewall 40 Trans-Heroes” awards from the International Court Council; the “Keeper of the Dream” Award and “Rainbow Key” Award from the City of West Hollywood; the KCET- TV “Local Heroes Award, and the “Spirit of Los Angeles” Awarded by the City of Los Angeles.

Applicants will be notified by email of their acceptance to be Contestants in the Queen USA Pageant by 9/22/17.  A submitted application does not guarantee acceptance as a Contestant nor placement in the event.

Categories and Judging

Contestants will be judged according to the following:

a.) Cocktail Wear / Presentation (25%) – In an opening presentation, contestants will wear a red cocktail dress (knee-length or shorter). Each will have a chance to introduce themselves. This is the Contestant’s first opportunity to show their personality, poise, and personal style.

b.) Swimwear (25%) – Contestants will wear either a one piece or two-piece swimsuit of their choice. This is their opportunity to show their beauty, physique, and grace.

c.) Evening wear / Long Gown (25%) – Contestants will wear an evening wear/long gown of their choice. This is their opportunity to show their poise, elegance, and style.

Selection of 10 Semi Finalists

10 semi-finalists will be selected based on ranking from the cumulative scores of the three above-mentioned categories.

Semi-Finals Interview (25%) – The top 10 will be given a chance to showcase their intelligence and spokesperson abilities by answering a question randomly drawn from a bowl. Questions will be about transgender and the greater TLGBQ issues and advocacies. The ten semi-finalists will be selected based on ranked cumulative scores of all the previous categories. In instances of ties, the judges will have the final decision on whom to include by voting.

This is the last opportunity for each Contestant to convince the judges that beyond physical beauty and grace, they can be a good spokesperson and role model for the transgender community. They will be given 2 minutes to address the judges and answer their randomly drawn question.