Is This the First Gay Miss California?
BY Diane Anderson-Minshall
January 05 2012 3:34 PM ET
Tell me about your
I have a wonderfully
supportive belly-dancing journalist girlfriend, Masa Zokaei. She has been a
part of all of this from the get-go. Even writing the first in-depth article on
me for GreaterLongBeach.com [Editor’s note: Zokaei did a series about falling
in love with Jenelle and learning their relationship would include a pageant, which
can be read here.]
Everyone was riveted by the fact that
you have tattoos, piercings, and a
fauxhawk. Tell me about the tats.
I have five tattoos. The nautical stars on my wrists stand for my human choice
to use my power for good and to help or hurt people. The lips on my neck are my
mothers; I lost my dad at a young age, and it’s my kiss from an angel. The
tattoo on my left forearm, reading “What goes around comes around,” shows my
belief in karma and how what you put out there is what you get back. And my
right forearm is an eye with a wooden stake, an eye for an eye, you reap what
You said they all reflect what you were
going through at different points in your life. And the hawk?
I have had a huge back-combed hair-sprayed Mohawk for almost 10 years. My
16-year-old picture from my driver’s license has me with a hawk! [Laughs]
Pageants have been painted as
un-feminist bastions of male oppression. You must feel differently. Tell me how
you see pageants.
What I have experienced behind the scenes with these girls last Sunday was
something I will never forget. Yes, there was a mirror borrowed or using someone
else’s hot curling iron every once in a while, but overall there was a sense of
camaraderie between all of us that I would have never expected. No tux or gowns
ripped, no hair pulled or catfights. Like what an ignorant skeptic like
myself before almost expected. It was a relieving and educating experience. The
guts it takes to get up on that stage and intimidating runway is unreal.
No matter what happens on Friday, any
I am proud to have gone on this journey. I learned a lot about myself, the world
around me, pageants, and what it takes, and I’ve helped people along the way and
given hope to youth and peers. And most of all, I learned what it is like to
take a walk in someone else’s shoes — or at least a walk into a foreign place
where fear of vulnerability is your worst enemy. The girls that won worked
their bloody heads off for the title. They deserve it.