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Queen For A Year

Deva Station’s style is throwback  Old Hollywood glamour and glitz. She loves rhinestones and glitter and drama, but the practical side of her character knows she has to please her audience, so she throws in some top 40, or hard rock, or whatever else is trending that she thinks will resonate with her fans. It [...]
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Deva Station’s style is throwback  Old Hollywood glamour and glitz. She loves rhinestones and glitter and drama, but the practical side of her character knows she has to please her audience, so she throws in some top 40, or hard rock, or whatever else is trending that she thinks will resonate with her fans.

It works—or, she werks. On stage, she’s poised and in-control, but then she’ll pop her hip out or flip her hair or do a kick that draws cheers and tips from the audience, who respond to her enthusiasm and thorough enjoyment for performing.

Deva’s one of the best drag queens in the United States, winning the title of Miss Gay America back in the fall of 2017. She’s gone from performing at Columbus’s now-closed Wall Street Nightclub, where she got her start, to touring the country and running the Miss Gay America business, carrying on its legacy of “pushing the boundaries to stay relevant, to stay current, while paying homage to the past.”

Seven years ago when Deva Station first stepped onto the stage—a preliminary pageant to Miss Ohio America—her creator, who asked to remain anonymous, had never been in drag before. A friend painted his face, and he borrowed a gown. And somehow, three months later, Deva won Miss Gay Ohio America. Apparently, she had always been ready for the spotlight, although her origin story wasn’t quite as bright.

Deva was originally a kind of hiding place for her creator. At a time when he felt like his life was in turmoil, he found an escape center stage, beneath costumes and painted with makeup.

“I didn’t necessarily come into drag the same way that a lot of people come into it, as something that I’d always wanted to do or something that I’d strived for…but ultimately it ended up changing everything about me and kind of saving my life,” he said.

She’s come a long way since that first performance. Michael Bishop, owner and promoter of Miss Gay Buckeye America and Miss Gay Ohio America, has known Deva throughout her existence. He says she’s changed 1,000 percent, building a confidence and a look that has propelled her to a national title.

Great stage presence isn’t all it takes, though. A Miss Gay America also has to be an adept businessperson, the importance of which is emphasized in the pageant’s first category: a male interview where contestants walk in as a boy and have eight minutes to explain their brand and business strategies to a panel of judges.

“It’s one thing to just be a performer,” Bishop said. “To win Miss America, it’s not easy. It’s a tough competition. You have to be extremely smart.”

Deva is a business. She says she’s no different than any other character her creator might have played as an actor. He walks in, puts on his costume and makeup, and becomes Deva. He acts the part, does the show and then takes it all off, walking out as a boy.

Deva’s creator is 45, and his family doesn’t know he does drag; they’re older, and he says he doesn’t think they’ll understand. He keeps that aspect of himself separate from other parts of his life also to protect his other business and its employees. Still, drag for Deva has been a form of artistic expression and a personally transformative experience.

“When you grow up a young gay man…you have to hide a lot of who you are,” Deva’s creator said. “I’m older, so it wasn’t necessarily accepted as a society norm to have any feminine features or feminine attributes…Being Deva Station and ironically dressing in women’s clothes and portraying a female character has taught me more about what it is to be a man and to face battles and to just be proud of who I am.”

Drag right now is thriving. After being thrust into the mainstream with RuPaul’s Drag Race introducing new audiences to the scene and normalizing drag as a type of theatre and entertainment, Deva says she’s seen people from every walk of life at shows. Instead of seeing doing drag as abnormal or even sexualized, now it’s an art that shows off the ways people can transform their bodies and faces.

“It’s definitely a form for artistic expression, and it’s a chance to step outside maybe your personal life and be somebody different,” Bishop said. “Put a smile on somebody’s face and maybe make them think a little, and maybe push them to accept something that they’re not necessarily sure they understand.”

Columbus, in particular, is a drag hotspot. The city “has one of the biggest and best drag scenes in the United States,” Deva said, with talent and diversity that underpin some of the most notable drag entertainers in the area: from Mary Ann Brandt’s comedy and big stage production shows to Nina and Virginia West with their branding and work to bring funds and awareness to local charities and the LGBT community.

“There’s more talent in Columbus than I’ve seen throughout the whole United States,” Deva said.

But the profession has a time limit; as Deva noted, no one really wants to see a 75-year-old drag queen performing, so eventually she’ll have to take the skills she’s learned along the way and apply them to a different phase of life. Luckily, her Miss Gay America title has helped her learn more about being an administrator and facilitator, which she says may open the door for her to work on the event planning, production and management side of performances.

That phase of life, for Deva, is still a ways away, though she’s also thinking about how she wants her work with Miss Gay America to be remembered. When her reign comes to an end, Deva says she hopes to leave a legacy of kindness and humility, two things she says she tries to remember regardless of her success.

“Especially as gay men, you go through a lot to figure out who you are and to find not necessarily acceptance from society but accepting yourself, and I hope that my role is in helping others accept who they are, where they’re going and help them drive their own path and find their own success.”

In that vein, although Deva’s off traveling the U.S., she hopes folks will support their local drag queens by going to shows—Boscoe’s, Axis, Union. Columbus even hosts drag brunches, for the morning people out there.

“It’s very brave to put on women’s clothing and makeup and step up on that stage and be judged, so reward them for their bravery,” she said.

For more, visit missgayamerica.com.

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Community

Oh Snap! Local photo studio helping bring Columbus’ imagination to life

614now Staff

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SPONSORED

We can only count on our memories to preserve moments so much, and word of mouth can only get us so far. Sometimes, a message needs to be captured with a shutter and presented with an image.

At Zurïe Studio you can bring your imagination to life and preserve special moments in one beautiful place at a reasonable price. The space features a sun-soaked studio and clean aesthetic, allowing the subjects of your photos to command the screen without distraction.

The studio also offers paper backdrops, stools, and minimal props to amplify your project, mini session, or photo shoot. All outside props are welcome, too, with a loading dock to make setup a breeze.

Speaking of mini, (614) Kids Club has teamed up with Zurïe to offer a FREE Family Holiday Mini Photography Session! Join us December 7th from 10am-Noon at Zurïe to have your picture snapped by LA + Co Photography.

This event is open to the public (as long as you get your ticket in advance), but (614) Kids Club members will receive:

  • (614) Kids Club Members get to skip the line
  • Two digital prints of their minis – for FREE

Click here to learn more and reserve your spot!

Whether it's head shots for the office, new products you want to promote, a creative vision that keeps you up at night, or just trying to get one nice picture of your family acting like the love one another, Zurïe is passionate about the people of Columbus, and will work with you to create something beautiful and memorable.

Zurïe Studio is conveniently located at 3477 N High St. in Clintonville, directly behind the new Katalina’s. They are open 8am- 5pm every day by appointment. To learn more and book your rental, visit zurie.co.

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Sports

The Big Ten: 10 reasons why Jim Harbaugh is an absolute nutcase

1870 Staff

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There’s no question Jim Harbaugh is a weirdo. He’s been caught picking his nose on the sidelines, he essentially wears the same outfit every single day no matter the occasion, and his personality is about as bright as a military general on cocaine. In other words, Harbaugh is set in his ways, and his ways are strange as shit.

But there’s more to this man’s madness than booger flicking and khaki pants. He’s a weirdo that wears many hats (but not many different variation of pants). And we have 10 reasons to prove it to you.

1.) Jim Harbaugh, the Spongebob fanatic.

To quote the coach on a radio show in Ann Arbor, “I love his attitude. He attacks each day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind! I’ve kind of modeled my behavior after him. We all should. What a great employee he is. He’s a go-getter. He’s always got a bounce to his step. He’s got pizzazz. He puts his heart and soul into making those krabby patties. I think he’s awesome.” Uhhh, sure. Whatever you say, man.

2.) Jim Harbaugh, the house guest.

“Mom, can coach Harbaugh stay the night tonight?” Those were (probably) the words of Michigan’s current kicker, Quinn Nordin, as well as the defensive end from USC, Connor Murphy. In an effort to get the two recruits to commit to Michigan, Harbaugh took trips to visit the athletes. Perfectly normal. What’s not normal is Harbaugh crashing at the recruits house for the night. Dude, you are the third highest paid coach in college football. You’re either too cheap to buy a hotel, or you’re too odd to realize this was a weird ass move.

3.) Jim Harbaugh, the music man.

If you haven’t had the luxury of watching this music video, put this magazine down and pull up YouTube. Rap duo, Bailey, produced a Michigan hype song to promote the 2016 season titled “Who Has It Better Than Us?” which featured Harbaugh literally screaming those exact words for the chorus. This is just as much weird (Harbaugh’s rap career isn’t looking good) as it is ironic as the Wolverines would go on to lose to Ohio State and in their bowl game against Florida State. We can think of at least two schools that have it better than ya’ll…

4.) Jim Harbaugh, the conspiracy theorist.

He said they were a “nervous bird.” We’re not even gonna attempt to explain this. Here’s what a former Michigan quarterback, Wilton Speight, had to say to Bleacher Report about the hate against chickens: “He thinks some type of sickness injected its way into the human population when people began eating white meats instead of beef and pork. And he believes it, 100 percent.” … Riiiiight.

5.) Jim Harbaugh, the babysitter.

Turns out that fateful night he stayed with Connor Murphy wasn’t the first time. Harbaugh has stayed at the Murphy residence in the past, when he was a head coach at Stanford, to recruit Murphy’s brother, Trent. During the night, Connor and Trent’s mother went into labor forcing the father to take her to the hospital to give birth. As for Harbaugh and, at the time, 12-year-old Connor? Here’s what Connor told the LA Times: “Coach Harbaugh sat on my living room floor with me and we drank milk and played chess.”

6.) Jim Harbaugh, the patriotic music man.

If coaching doesn’t work, it seems like Harbaugh is eyeing a career in music. In 2016, rapper Lil Dicky came to Ann Arbor to preform. For reasons we have absolutely no way of understanding, Lil Dicky brought Harbaugh on stage to… sing the national anthem? And, as on brand as the mother fucker is, he was wearing those damn khakis for the performance. He probably flicked a few boogers backstage, too.

7.) Jim Harbaugh, the president?

Apparently rapper Wale and Jim Harbaugh are cooking something up for a presidential run. In 2016, Wale tweeted at the TTUN coach and endorsed him for a presidential campaign. Harbaugh responded back eager to bring Wale on as his Vice President. Let’s play a game, Buckeye Nation, would you rather have Trump as president, or Harbaugh?

8.) Jim Harbaugh, the khakis man.

We all know how much the man loves his Dockers, but do you really know how deep that love runs? The man worksout in his khakis. We’re sure that never gets too sweaty. The man swims—SWIMS!!—in his khakis. And he’s even been spotted running around the practice field shirtless showing off that pasty-white dad bod, but still in those damned khakis.

9.) Jim Harbaugh, the dietician.

We already know the man hates chickens, but did you know how much he loves cows? Almost as much as he loves khakis, believe it or not. Harbaugh is convinced that milk and steak are a “natural steroid.” Here’s what Harbaugh had to say about his affinity to “natural steroids” on a radio show in Ann Arbor: “I take a vitamin every day. It’s called a steak. … I truly believe the No. 1 natural steroid is sleep, and the No. 2 natural steroid is milk, whole milk. Three would be water. Four would be steak. [Steak] … it goes with everything.”

10.) Jim Harbaugh, the actor.

Why not? He’s a president, a singer, a rapper, a babysitter, and even a Spongebob stan. Of course he’s made a few appearances on television. The first time was on Saved By The Bell where he didn’t even get an excited “woo!” from the fake audience when he came on screen. Screech gets one every time he’s on camera and he’s a main character. The other time was when Harbaugh showed his true side on Detroiters for a skit. He loses his shit during a tailgating style game and ends up drilling the main character in the back of the head with a football. Okay so the Detroiters skit is actually kind of funny.•

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Sports

Top 5 times Ohio State broke Michigan’s heart in The Game

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Curtis Samuel Shows off His Madden Moves (2016)

For all Buckeye fans, this moment is unforgettable. After going down to Michigan in the second quarter, the two teams matched blows all game and even ended up in double overtime. After J.T. Barrett converted a fourth down, Curtis Samuel 15-yards to seal the win. Not only was Samuel’s TD amazing, it also cemented the Bucks’ place in the College Football Playoff while keeping TTUN out. Two birds with one stone.

Game of the Century (2006)

In the final iteration of the Buckeyes led by Troy Smith and Ted Ginn, Jr., the Buckeyes did not disappoint. This game had perhaps the largest implications of any on this list, because everyone in America pretty much knew that the winner would advance to the BCS National Championship game. Also: who could forget both Beanie Wells and Antonio Pittman going 50+ yards for touchdowns in the same game?

Ohio State Can’t Go to a Bowl Game… But They Also Aren’t Going to Lose (2012)

While Ohio State was dealing with a ban from bowl games, they didn’t stop wrecking opponents, and Michigan was no exception. Heading into the game, Michigan was the No. 20 team in the nation and had hopes for a win over their rival as well as moving up in the rankings to get a more prestigious bowl game. The Wolverines got neither.

Tyvis Powell is Clutch as Hell (2013)

This was one of the more competitive games in recent history. After being tied at halftime, the Bucks and Wolverines continued to trade blows until the very last moment. At the end of the game, Devin Gardner threw a touchdown to Devin Funchess to bring Michigan within 1 point and set up for a PAT. However, Michigan gambled for the win by going for two, and Tyvis Powell shut them down. It’s basically the Ohio State football equivalent of LeBron James’ block on Andre Iguodala in the 2016 NBA Finals, except Ohio State actually ended up winning.

Beat Michigan, then Win The Championship (2002)

Going into the game as the #2 team in the nation, Ohio State had amassed 12 wins before facing off against their bitter rival and were working on one of the best seasons in college football history. Seeing as Michigan had played spoiler to the Bucks’ perfect seasons three times in the ’90s, it felt like Michigan could keep Ohio State out of the BCS national championship, but Will Allen had other plans. With time expiring, Allen snagged an interception near the end zone that prevented the Wolverines from scoring a game winning touchdown. After that, Ohio State went on to beat Miami and win the BCS national championship. Talk about a story book ending for the Bucks — and a nightmare for the Wolverines.

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