Local legends, big local talent and a whopping $5,000 grand prize make the weekly Atlanta All Stars drag contest special. The heat is on every Tuesday at Future Atlanta.
Who else could bring together such a top-tier menagerie of queens and judges? Of course, it’s the keystone judge of All Stars herself, Phoenix.
As a local legend, RuPaul alum, Fantasy Girls producer and entertainment director at Future, Phoenix’s resume is long and full. The contest producer and pandemic pivoter is known for great shows, serious competitions, big talent and high stakes.
“When I was coming up, I didn’t have the opportunity to perform and learn at the same time, this would have been an amazing resource,” Phoenix told Q. “These competitions also push you outside your normal comfort zone and challenge you in different forms that you may would have ever ventured in to.”
This time, she ups the ante. All of the contestants have five or more years of experience, and the audience they bring helps determine each week’s winner.
“They are coming in with experience, with a fan base, with knowledge,” she continued. “I’m looking for a real battle of greatness!”
In the photo gallery below, our cameras caught Week 1 of competition, where Miss He won the night. We asked Phoenix for the scoop on this contest and her prolific history. Check out our Q&A:
What makes a Phoenix-produced contest so special?
I started creating these competitions over a decade ago to give up and comers a place to learn and grow as artists, also get a chance to showcase their talents. Now more than ever, getting an opportunity as an up and coming performer can be difficult.
So many amazing queens have participated in my competitions, like Dragnificent, and went on to do great things, Violet Chachki, LaLa Ri, Biqtch Puddin, Angeria Van Micheals, Evah Destruction, Brigitte Bidet just to name a few.
Obviously, I don’t take credit for their accomplishments, but they’ve all given credit to being in my competitions with helping them grow and becoming who they are today.
What makes All Stars stand out from your contests of the past?
Atlanta All stars is different from anything I’ve done before due to the fact that it’s not for new comers.
The cast includes Raquel Rae Heart, Aqua De’Laroja, Majik Sebastian Cassedine, Evelyn Caldwell, Chyna White, Cici Nicole, Miss He, Iyona Hilton Black, Drew Friday and Qween Farrazz.
In addition to the contestants, we have a judges panel and host with DECADES in the business, and with countless titles and accomplishments, Niesha Dupree, Bianca Nicole, Myself, and Taejah Thomas as the host.
On top of the experience, we are giving away the largest prize package ever offered in an Atlanta based competition, $5000 plus prizes. That’s insane!
What are you looking for in the next big talent?
I’m looking for someone who continues to better themselves. Someone who takes what we say and uses it to their advantage.
The judges panel aren’t the end all of drag, but we do have the knowledge. I always say when you feel like you have nothing else to learn, that’s when it’s time to move on to something else.
Besides that, I’m also looking for something that keeps my attention, that strong stage presence, if you can’t grasp me in the first 60 seconds, chances are you’ve lost me.
What else do you want people to know?
A competition like this takes a lot of helping hands to make happen. I’m very thankful to my family at Future, to Keith Young and Hoosh Mishu for continuing to believe in my visions.
These competitions are a part of my legacy. When I first started them, no one was doing it, and now you can find them around the city.
When I decide to hang the heels up, I want what I’ve created to continue to have an impact on our Atlanta LGBTQ+ and drag scene.
Photos by Russ Bowen-Youngblood