Forecast for Philadelphia: Reigning Royals

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

It may have "reigned" but there was no need to take cover or even grab an umbrella! This was a forecast we all love, a beautiful night filled with stars!  On Saturday evening, June 28, 2014, in Philadelphia it was "reigning" royals.  At a special pageant, the city’s best and brightest competed for the title of Mr. and Miss Q Spot Philadelphia 2014. In a very close competition in which had us all on the edge of our seats, Stevetta Vinowski and Alice Wills edged out the competition to take the crowns. After competing in Presentation, Talent, Evening Wear and Question and Answer, the esteemed panel of judges consisting of Ms. Finesse Ross, Ms. Andrea Lamour, Ms. Karen Vonsay and Mr. Austin McFarland selected the newest ambassadors of Q Spot. Both of the winners and their first runner-ups, Joel Dunn and Russell Reyes (Leyani Adore Monroe) are now representing Qspot in the Royal Court.

This pageant is not the typical pageant were the contestants could fall back on "pretty" rather it was an intensive search for the incredible young folks we have in our LGBTQA community who area already making huge positive change within it and beyond.  Q Spot Philly is a late night resource program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Allied (LGBTQA) young adults, 18-29, in the Philadelphia area. The Q Spot happens on 4th Saturdays, 8pm to midnight at the William Way Center, 1315 Spruce Street, May through December. With that in mind, for the second year in a row it was decided that collaborating with these young folks would be a "win-win" for all involved as it was decided that two new ambassadors would be elected to represent the values and mission of Q Spot for the next year by raising community awareness for the organization in terms of branding, fundraising etc and to the title-holders’ individual platforms as well. The judges sought to choose the two who best embodied the spirit of Q Spot and who would serve best as ambassadors. Each contestant attended Pageant Readiness trainings ahead of time and worked hard to best showcase the role models that they are for the night of the pageant. All who attended the event were blown away! These young folks took command of the stage and showed the audience they meant business. With such intelligence, talent and poise, they exceeded any expectations with the work they had already started and work they wanted to accomplish moving forward. They say our youth are our future and with these young folks already making beautiful changes in our community, I know we are in the best of hands! I sat down with the new Royal Court and here is what they had to say! All hail our Royals!!!!!

D.M.: Congrats to you both, Stevetta and Alice! You both worked so hard for your titles and you are so very deserving. I want to take a minute to let our community get to know a little about you if I might!

Alice: Thank you so much! My name is Alice, or Ali, Ah-Lee-Chay; I was born and raised in North Philadelphia and I am a freelance actress working job to job to support my art.  I love learning anything from new languages to arts, facts and staying active. I intern at Koresh Dance Company and have hopes of someday being a well-known out actress, advocating for Queers everywhere.

Stevetta: Hi everyone,  of course you know my name is Stevetta. I’m a 24 year old entrepreneur with a Non Profit for LBGTQA youth called The Freedom Organization. 

D.M. :  Why did you decide to run for this title and what are your hopes or what is it that you want to accomplish as Mr. or Miss Q Spot?

Alice : I was raised in a neighborhood of poverty and where churches and community centers advocated endlessly. From middle school on I remember the P.A.L taking us inner-city youth to play golf, tennis, run track as well as chess and compete in quiz-a-thons. I remember traveling with a youth group a few summers to paint, clean, and do outreach to different communities. Following on the path they introduced me to, I did the City Years program for the youth, City Heroes where City Year employees mentored the children through 100 hours of community service. Being raised in the environment of volunteerism is extremely empowering, gratifying and crucial to the soul and once I graduated and began my career, I felt those activities were missing in my life. I began wanting a platform to initiate my own ideas of volunteering and outreach and a way to make the Gay, as well as the African American Woman’s voice heard, and lead the next generation of baby gays after me. I see my nieces and want to teach them what is important that will make you feel whole, and how to be an active member in their community.  Whew, that’s pretty much the tip of the ice berg…..

Stevetta : I decided to run for Mr. Q Spot to inform others that it is perfectly okay to be yourself and I wanted to be an example of that, hence the reason why I ran for Mr. Q Spot as a woman and that in itself is what I hope to accomplish with this title. In today’s society, children are growing up believing that being you and being different are not at all okay and I would like to change that.

D.M.: We know that the judges had a difficult time scoring all four of you and that the competition was very close. What is it about YOU that YOU think earned the title?

Alice: Man I sweated bullets every time I was in front of the judges! But I think the fact that I am always ready to take what it coming at me with a positive stride makes everyone around me feel at ease and confident. In return, they’ll follow suit, or even lead others.  It’s a life goal for me to be an example, everywhere I go, letting my light shine as well as igniting a few others along the way. Taking permission and granting it for others to make believe and celebrate being as cheesy and Queer as life allows them to be. A favorite author of mine says "Let the Good Times Roll" and with that mindset who wouldn’t invite me to their next event?! Haha…….

Stevetta: First and foremost I have to say that each contestant did an awesome job and it was very close and I’m still in awe that I was crowned Mr. Q Spot. Honestly, I’m not too sure what won me the title but if I had to guess I would say my uniqueness and me stepping out as me and not thinking twice of the opinions of others. Me just being me!

D.M.: I know that you are already out in our community making changes and have been before this pageant. Would you like to share a specific platform that you are involved with/passionate about?

Alice: My platform into our, as well as other communities, is art; acting to be exact. I’ve been in three Queer Films (even though I play straight in 2) and am in the process of shooting one now. "Cool, Crazy Sexy Cool : The Web Series", "Beautiful Something", "Persuasive Ideas" and " Luv Don’t Live Here Anymore". The CRAZY SEXY COOL Series of films by film maker Danielle Erwin and co-writer Sean Chin premiered the summer of 2013 In Philadelphia’s Q-Festival. The film touched on the topics of domestic abuse in our community, and played all around Philadelphia to raise more awareness. The Film "Luv Don’t Live Here Anymore" is an Afro-Centric biopic by film maker Mikal Odom centered around themes of coping and living with HIV/AIDS. Each Topic means so much to me and are stories that youth need to be exposed to, especially in our culture, queer culture, that the media still mutes.  You can like and donate to each of the pages on facebook and Indiegogo!

Stevetta: I am very passionate about the LBGTQA community. I’am actually the Founder and CEO of a Non Profit organization, where our main focus is the youth of the LBGTQA community. We want them to know that it is okay to be who you are and we will work continuously until we meet that goal.  Our website is:
Also check us out on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube @The Freedom Organization. I hope to bring change as well as uniqueness to Q Spot. I definitely want to leave a mark behind. I would love to try to shed more light on Q Spot and the amazing that they have done and the things to come….

     I asked the two other members of Q Spot’s Royal Court, Joel and Leyani ( who won our special fundraising challenge), to share a few words of wisdom they live by that might help other young people! 

Leyani : Never underestimate yourself in what you are able to do, live your life to the fullest and NEVER let anyone stop you!

Joel: The direction you decide to go in life will have a huge impact on your future. Always follow the path to your dreams so you do not get lost!

      I caught up with the fabulous founder of Q Spot, Quincy Greene who shared the following:

"This was one of the best Q Spot events in our 4 year history! All of the 4 contestants are now pageant title holders and part of our Q Spot Royal Court. They are our newest ambassadors for Q Spot Philly. These young leaders will continue to spread the word about Q Spot; which is a safe space program for LGBTQA young adults, 18-29, that meets at the William Way Center on 4th Saturdays. We want to thank everyone that helped to support our 2nd Annual Q Spot Pageant. Special thanks to Dan Mangini, our esteemed judges: Andrea LaMour, Karen Vonsay, Finesse Ross and Austin McFarland,as well our Philadelphia Young Leader’s Council, volunteers and sponsors."

     Well there you have it folks. These young folks are poised to set the world on fire. Q Spot is that little gem of a non-profit that continues to defy the odds and keep growing slowly but surely. It was noted that it was more like a "ministry" and upon reflection, it truly is. There is so much love, community and hard work put into it on a daily business so that it can continue to transform young lives. It exists because of the generosity of other organizations and indivisuals who support the work that it does. I have seen some of the most amazing young people doing amazing things due to Q Spot’s services and programming leading the way. Too often our young get put down for so many things and it leaves us wondering about the future of our world. Here is a chance for our community to show our young folks we believe in them. Each young person is truly royal and Q Spot makes sure they know that! For more information and tickets about the upcoming Q Spot Gala (all are welcome) or to make a donation please visit :


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