Candidate for Empress: David “Vanity Fair” Chimko
Candidate for Emperor: JJ Velour
Candidate for Emperor: Stefan “Stiffy” Steele
We all seem to love Royalty - from the classic fairytales to the popular Disney movies, to our obsessions with members of the Royal family. Likewise, many Albertans have a spot in their hearts for The Imperial Sovereign Court of the Wild Rose Social Association (ISCWRSA).
The mission of the ISCWRSA is to raise funds through activities and events to support dozens of charities and the Edmonton LGBT community. The court also strives toward promoting an attitude of acceptance of LGBT people within the community as a whole. Edmonton is but one branch of the International Court System, which has over 65 chapters in the United States, Canada and Mexico, making the ICS one of the largest LGBT organizations in the world. 2012 marks the 36th anniversary of the "Edmonton Court".
The ISCWR has many feats under their belt, of which they can feel proud: they have played a significant role in fundraising for charities, and raising awareness of human rights.
The ISCWR attracts people of all backgrounds and sexual orientations, which could reflect the positive change in mainstream attitude toward sexual minorities. They are intent on continuing this positive motion of change and continuing to spread a message of acceptance and friendliness towards the Edmonton community as a whole.
The society eagerly awaits the upcoming Coronation Charity Ball and hopes to see Coronation Events in Edmonton continue to grow over the coming years. The Coronation Charity Ball attracts all walks of life. It is widely attended, and some see this event as a perfect networking opportunity to establish life-long friends and business contacts.
So, who will be the new entries into this year’s court? The Emperor and Empress are by no means figurehead positions. The successful candidates will utilize their personal strengths and put their ideas into action to make positive changes during their reign.
These lovely nominees took time out of their busy schedule to invite GayCalgary Magazine in for a closer look at who they are.
Candidate for Emperor: Stefan "Stiffy" Steele
Stiffy has been an Edmontonian for over three years. He grew up in Fort McMurray Alberta and moved to Edmonton for work, where he met his partner who would later become Emperor 35 of Edmonton. This relationship inspired Stefan to get involved in the community and within his first year of doing so, he stepped into his first title as King of Hearts 2. More recently he ran successfully for the position of Imperial Crown Prince to the 36th Reign, and has spent the last 10 months reigning with this title.
Through these roles, he has gained a great deal of knowledge on planning successful fundraising events through a greater understanding of policies and procedures. These positions allowed for him to broaden his horizons and support charity events both in Canada and the United States. He was involved in: Inqueeries, Youth Understanding Youth, Team Edmonton Events, Womonspace Events, and has traveled to cities including; Las Vegas, Seattle, Vancouver, Regina, Winnipeg and Calgary. All of the traveling he has done has been paid for out of his own pocket, as has he donated a great deal of time to the ISCWR.
His most rewarding experience to date was being able to volunteer for the first year of a camp partnered with HIV Edmonton to support children and families affected or infected with HIV.
For Stiffy, his endeavors have been more than rewarding. He has combined two passions: his creative outlet of performing and his love for helping others. If elected as Emperor, he looks forward to working again with various charities from past collaborations, and branching out into different areas for fundraising. He plans on working hard to increase the quality of shows and boosting attendance.
Candidate for Empress: David "Vanity Fair" Chimko
Edmonton was introduced to Vanity Fair after David moved to the city in 1996. He began Drag and involvement with the ISCWR by doing shows at The Roost nightclub. Drag literally chose him. "Two Queens cornered me, handed me a phone number and told me to call because I was being put in Drag whether I liked it or not."
He certainly liked it. He loves every aspect of it, styling wigs, deciding on outfits and figuring out the perfect song. "Drag is intriguing, almost therapeutic, the two-hours spent putting on hair and face, is me time, I get into the zone and enjoy the quiet introspective time while creating."
Over the years Vanity has been involved in Edmonton’s gay community through Volunteering with HIV Edmonton, The Pride society, event coordination and volunteering with the ISCWR. Vanity has held titles including Mz. Gay Edmonton 12 & 22, Entertainer of the Year 2000 & 2010, and Imperial Crown Princess.
The first time he saw an Empress presenting a cheque to their charity, it was destined; one day Vanity would be in that role. The road to this goal has been hard, full of personal sacrifices that have been worthwhile for the benefits of her community. Vanity is particularly passionate about supporting The Pride Centre. The Centre has had a rough spell after a fire, and requires extra help. "We may not all rely on the Pride Centre for our daily lives, but the fact is there are people that do".
He is passionate about performing, and giving everything he has to pull an audience into a show. The role of Empress would be a perfect fit for Vanity, who loves giving back to the community. "Empress is not just a title, it is about making our community stronger."
Candidate for Emperor: JJ Velour
JJ has led quite the colourful life. He came out at the ripe age of 25, has a partner of 9.5 years and 3 children in adulthood. JJ is not just a part of the drag/court community, but also the Leather and Bear communities. JJ is a born-again Christian who has learned to love who he is, and what he is. He has a youth ministry certificate and associate degree in Christian studies, which qualifies him as a Pastor.
After living a life of catering to others expectations, he now lives his life for himself; pursuing what makes him happy.
JJ wears his heart on his sleeve and lives for helping others. He is very passionate about acting and performing. He firmly believes the only way to live life is to be happy, so he lives for friends, his partner and family. Looking out for others isn’t just a character trait for JJ, it is a duty; he is a union activist who works hard to protect his fellow co-workers.
After many stages of growth, JJ is finally at a point in life where he has found happiness. He hopes to spread this feeling to others, because as he says, life is too short to live as anything but happy. He knows what it is like to struggle, but he also knows what it is like to overcome.
He feels his experiences both professionally and personally make him a great fit for the Court. It would allow him to reach out and help others, and also make an impact on the community. He hopes to gain more support for The Pride Centre of Edmonton and help in the community by uniting LBGT people. He hopes to network with other groups to fundraise outside the bar environment and gain more exposure for charities and the Court.
Saturday August 25th, 2012
The Ramada Inn & Conference Centre