Jaslene Dickson was crowned Miss Gay Pennsylvania during a glittering ceremony at the Clarion Hotel in New Cumberland Township last weekend.
“This was my fourth try at the crown, and I am proud to have finally won,” said Dickson from her current home in Harrisburg, where she works as a claims-support analyst for Capitol Blue Cross and also performs in drag. (“It’s not something I depend on to pay my bills,” she quipped.)
Born in Queens, New York to parents of Puerto-Rican descent, Dickson moved to Harrisburg when she was 18 and never left. She also spent time as Miss Hope Pennsylvania, courtesy the Hope Foundation and its charities, in 2015.
“I grew up in a foster-care system, so the pageant world became a place where I was offered a family,” she said of why walking for fame, glory and tiaras became her thing. “I forged bonds there that are as strong as any nuclear unit. There is comfort in the pageant world. That’s what pushed me and drove me forward.”
With her victory gown designed by Christian Roldan (“She really made my vision come true with that evening gown”) and the inspiration of Jessica Rabbit in her walk, Dickson said she believes it was her top levels of consistency and focus in every category that brought her victory.
“I could feel how consistent I was. In pageants, it’s not necessarily about winning categories. As long as you can be consistently good, you will be a winner. I brought a strong and consistent package all night.”
It wasn’t an easy victory, however. Dickson admitted that her main competition, the First Alternate to Miss Gay Pennsylvania America 2018, Sarabesque, gave her a run for her money. “She was amazing, stunning and flawless all night. I was truly worried that Sarabesque was going to beat me.”
Philadelphia got a nod in the awards proceedings as Emily Valentine became the Third Alternate.
Now that Dickson is the queen of all queens in Pennsylvania, she doesn’t just want to look glamorous and sashay around the state waving her miter.
“I don’t just want to be involved with nightclubs, I want to work with local LGBTQ centers that focus on youth. I feel as if we have a crisis going on with LGBTQ youth that needs to be recognized, addressed and worked on. It sometimes takes one person to move a movement forward, and that’s what I want to do with my reign.”