Tell us about your business.
Mac Huffington: I moved here from Chicago, Illinois to go to school. I graduated from Fisk University with a B.S. in Business Management. While in school, I found the gay community and found a place where I could be me. I was very excited to be a part early on. It was nice to know I was not the only one. I was not out in Chicago.
When I found the pageant scene and meet Bianca Paige, Rita Ross, Stephanie Wells and Gary Brodrick (owner of Performance Studios) I knew the drag world was what I wanted to be involved in. Pride was just starting, and I heard about it, went to a meeting and have been hooked ever since. I love Pride and our community and everything that it has grown to be, especially knowing I was a part of it.
Mac Productions began from just wanting to be a part of the drag scene. Drag Queens were so amazing to me but there were very few Drag Kings. I wanted to make Drag Kings as popular as the Queens and do the things they were doing. We began promoting Drag Kings and traveling and performing at every event we could.
Over 20 years ago, I started with the Ms. & Mr. Nashville Pride Pageant in 1996, then I added Drag Kings to the Pageant the following year. Bianca Paige was the first Ms. Nashville Pride and Bushra Shabazz, a member of MAC Productions, was the first Mr. Nashville Pride. Then came the Mr. Esquire Pageant for Male Impersonators in 1997, with 13 contestants at Connections Night Club. There were about 200-300 people in attendance.
There were very few drag king pageants in the 1990s, but over the years Drag Kings and Drag King pageants have risen to great heights. There are now national pageants for Drag Kings as well. I have owned two national pageants, one for Drag Kings and one for Divas. I currently own the Mr. Esquire Pageant (for the past 23 years) and Pageant for Diva's (AFAB) (in its 14th year).
What difficulties related to gender or sexuality have you had to overcome to be successful?
Mac Huffington: The popularity of Drag Kings/Male Illusionist has risen greatly but the struggle is still to get them equal bookings and pay comparable to the Drag Queens.
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