Two for the Price of One

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Arnold Myint, aka Suzy Wong, being crowned Miss Gay Mid-America

Two for the Price of One

This post is a tribute to my friend Arnold Myint, aka Suzy Wong. There are many sides to Arnold. He is as high-energy as it gets and can do a million things at once. He is always on the go, always has a project in the works, and will not settle for anything less than perfection.

Arnold is a phenomenal chef and a very giving person. One picture of this is that he recently raised top dollars for Nashville Cares during Dining Out for Life., combining his life as a chef with his passion for giving.

But, I’m not here to rave about his cooking, I want to talk to you about his drag. You see, I happen to love drag queens. The art of female impersonation has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. A lot of people just think of drag as a man in a dress, but it is so much more than that. I have watched Arnold develop the character of Suzy Wong from the beginning. In fact, the beginning was when Andrew Pentecost, the most incredible makeup artist I know, came to my house and turned Arnold into Suzy for one of my jewelry ads. We had a blast that night. Then Suzy started showing up more and more frequently. Suzy was turning into a brand, and Arnold found ways to combine his skills as a chef with Suzy’s skills as an entertainer. (An example of this is that at the New York Pride celebration recently Suzy was the cocktail queen for Absolut vodka). Arnold was once a professional skater, and he missed the fun of putting on makeup and shiny costumes and being in the spotlight. Suzy came in on 6″ platform heels rather than skates but the same Arnold was underneath the wig.

What came next for Suzy was pageants. There are all sorts of drag queens. Pageant queens are in a world of their own. Arnold and I drove to Cincinnati three summers ago to see a pageant together. He was a backup dancer for one of the contestants. I could see the handwriting on the wall. Arnold is a real competitor and had his eyes on a crown. So, last October I went along to the Miss Gay America Pageant in Columbus, Ohio as the chief cheerleader and confidante of Miss Gay Tennessee America, my gal pal, Suzy Wong.

This past spring Suzy won the crown of Miss Gay Mid-America, and, as the acting Miss Gay Tennessee, has worked very hard to support all the contestants in the preliminary pageants leading up to Miss Gay Tennessee, 2014. I have been very happy to do the photos for the Miss Gay Tennessee website. It has given me a chance to photograph some very interesting female impersonators and has also given me a chance to watch Arnold at work. He has been so incredibly helpful and supportive to everyone I have photographed. His genuine love for this art form, and his genuine love for helping others has shown through every time, even though some of these people will eventually be his competitors in the upcoming Miss Gay America Pageant in St. Louis this October. Once again I look forward to going along as his right-hand pal. No matter what the outcome of the contest, I know my friend Arnold will be a good sport and a source of positive energy for everyone who crosses his path. That’s just how Suzy rolls.

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