Pictured, left to right, are Sylar Tsar as current reigning 2015-16 Mr. Charlotte Pride with Buff Faye as current reigning 2015-16 Miss Charlotte Pride.

Pageant season is here. All summer long you will find drag queens competing for prelims and statewide titles on their way to national contests for Miss Gay America, All American Goddess, Entertainer of the Year, USA Unlimited and the list continues.

This month I asked some of my favorite pageant queens what do they think is important in doing a pageant. Hmmmmm… their advice is refreshing and so critical. So listen up and see if you are ready to compete for your crown!

Preparation is key. To do a pageant, you must prepare yourself. You should consider why you want to do the pageant. What will be your assets and where you will need to focus to improve. Plus think critically about each of the categories and what you need to do to put forward your best heel.

Research the pageant system. Understand the pageant rules and system. There are many types of pageants and each have their own criteria. Look back at past winners and their packages. Find out what judges like and what has scored well in that pageant system. How are the points divided? Do they drop the high the low score? How many judges will there be? You will not be surprised with the outcome if you do your diligence in researching the pageant.

Evening gown ready? Make sure you start early to find the appropriate evening gown for your pageant system. You can’t buy something just off the rack and expect to win. The fit and look has to be perfect if you’re going to stand out above the rest.

Don’t play dumb. Onstage Question & Interview categories are not the same in every system and sometimes they don’t even have an interview. But be prepared to know your stuff. You may have to answer questions related to your bio, why you want to win the pageant, what you will do with your pageant win – or simply know the history of the system if asked.

Got talent? The most important, if not the highest score, in every pageant is the Talent Category. Be sure your talent is appropriate for the system. Plan your costumes and dancers way ahead of time. And plan for someone to drop out. Talent will make or break you. It is hard to win a pageant unless you have a quality, engaging talent.

Save your money. Pageants are expensive. Start saving your money now so you can afford quality hair, makeup and costumes for your package. This is not the time to drag out what you wear on stage every weekend to perform.

Find sponsors. Ask bars that you work at and your friends to see if they’ll sponsor you. It takes a village to help a drag queen become her best self. If you don’t ask, you will never know. Don’t be upset if someone can’t give you money. And always show appreciation to those who do help.

Judging is good. Be sure to ask judges for feedback and listen. You should also get your scores so you can see how you rated. It is appropriate for judges to talk to you after a pageant and for you to talk with them. A good judge will be willing to share his/her feedback.  Always be kind and courteous.

Everybody loses. Go into the pageant wanting to learn and become better. It is very unlikely that the first time you compete you will win. If you do win, well you must be special!

DRAG TIP: Don’t stand by Malayia Chanel Iman during the crowning of the winner if you have open toe shoes. Oh, and realize we all make mistakes or do stupid things now and then. We live. We learn.

SHOUT OUTS: Plan now. Buff Faye’s Drag Brunch is back on Saturday, June 18 at Pure Pizza, 1911 Central Ave., in Plaza Midwood from Noon to 2:30 p.m. Come out and enjoy some daytime drag with food and fun for the whole family.

— Buff Faye calls the Queen City her home and believes in making the world a better place (and likes to raise money for charities). Find her at your favorite bars and hot spots. Plus don’t forget her weekly Saturday night show with Patti O’Furniture, monthly drag brunch and regular Friday night party bus. Learn more at AllBuff.com. Follow on Twitter @BuffFaye

Buff Faye

Buff Faye calls the Queen City her home and performs to help save the world from Republicans (and raise money for charities). Find her at your favorite bars and hot spots. Plus don’t forget her monthly...