Interview: Mark Alan Smith aka Nakoma Shaye

Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith
Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith

In September of 2019, I had the honor of reconnecting with former Miss Gay Texas America 1991, Mark Alan Smith who has also performed as Nakoma Shaye and hails from Shreveport/Bossier City, Louisiana. Marks’s words remind me why I started this site so many years ago and I am forever grateful that he took the time to share his story with all of us.

This site has grown into an enormous database of entertainers, locations and events that cascade our LGTBQ+ community. I am happy to shine a light on individuals like Mark and hope this interview is the first of many to come.

-Nick Anthony, Founder of Our Community Roots
September 5, 2019

Our Community Roots: Tell us about how you got started performing. When and where was this? Were there any individuals that really helped you when you first started performing? What are some of your awards and accomplishments?

Mark Alan Smith:

July 10th, 1979. The date I started Performing. I Won my first Title after only 10 months in Drag. And within 13 years I accomplished every one of my Drag Pageant Dreams, accept One..being Crowned Miss Gay America. Regrets, only that One! But have NEVER EVER been made to feel as if I wasn’t one. My Miss Gay America Sisters and Family have been my greatest supporters. If they had an Honorary Crown for Miss Gay America, THAT would be the Crowning achievement of my Drag Career. To be honored by your sisters for one’s neverending commitment to a system would in fact be the Highest compliment.

Pageant Titles and Placements:

Miss Gay South 1992
Miss Gay America Finalist 1992
MGA Prelim Awards:
Interview; Winner
Group Interview; Winner
Sportswear; Winner
Evening Gown; Winner
Talent; Winner
Voted one of the Top 10 Entertainers in Texas 1992
Miss Gay Texas 1991
Miss Gay Waco 1991
Miss Gay America 1991 Finalist
MGA Prelim Awards:
Interview: Winner
Sportswear: Winner
Miss Gay Arlington 1990
1st Alt Miss Gay Texas 1990
Miss Gay America 1990 Finalist
MGA Prelim Awards:
Interview: Winner
Sportswear: Winner
Miss Gay San Antonio 1988-89
2nd Alt Miss Gay Texas 1989
2nd Alt Miss Gay San Antonio USofA 1987
Miss Gay Pride San Antonio 1986
Miss Gay Tallulahs 1984
2nd Alt Miss Gay South Texas 1981
San Antonio Newcomer of the Year/ Miss Faces 1980

Other Achievements during my Pageant Career:

Pageant Director of Miss Gay Texas 1992-1995.
Mentors; Norma Kristie Miss Gay America Emeritus 1972-73 & Miss Gay America 1985 Naomi Sims
Interview Coach
Mentor: Miss Gay Texas 1984-85 Pauletta Leigh 1980-1988
I continue to coach contestants both for Miss. and Mr. Pageants to this day.
Contestant Talent Coordinator to this day
Also, Designer, Choreographer, Model Coach and Life Coach helping others change their entire outlook on their personal life, as well as their careers and choices.

I had quite a few AMAZING individuals in the Gay Entertainment Industry that take me under their wing and helped me develop not only personally, but professionally. They are as Follows:

  • Miss Gay Texas 1984 – Pauletta Leigh from San Antonio. ( Pauletta was my Best Friend and Drag Mother )
  • Miss Gay Texas 1977 – Donna Day – Houston
  • Miss Gay Texas 1976 / Miss Gay America 77 – Hot Chocolate better known world wide as Larry Edwards La Cages’ and DIVAS Las Vegas’s very own Tina Turner.
  • Miss Gay Texas 1975/ Miss Gay America 1985 – Naomi Sims
  • Miss Gay Texas 1980 Lindsey Love
  • Miss Gay Texas 1982 / Miss Gay America 1984- Tasha Kohl
  • Miss Gay Texas 1990 / Miss Gay U.S of A 1994 Coco
  • Miss Gay San Antonio 1980 Monica Layne
  • Miss Gay America Emeritus 1972 – Norma Kristie
  • Miss Gay U.S of A 1988 – Tommie Ross
  • Miss Gay U.S of A – Diana Hutton. She was the one that helped me realize one could sing in drag.
  • Miss Gay America 1979 – Rachael Wells
  • Miss Gay USofA 2012 – Lawanda Jackson
  • Miss Gay USofA at large Emeritus 1986 – Carmella Marcella Garcia
  • Miss Gay America 1987 – Blaze Starr

Each and Everyone of these astounding individuals played a major part in my life. Without them I do NOT think I would be who I am today. The greatest thing about 1987 was the fact that both Miss Gay America Blaze Starr and Miss Gay USofA Diana Hutton were both live Singing National Titleholders. That assured me that Live Talent was definitely appreciated, Loved and accepted.

Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith
Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith

OCR: Where are you living right now? Have you lived and performed in any other locations throughout your career?

MAS: I live in Shreveport Bossier City, Louisiana and I LOVE IT. I also lived Dallas, Texas for 30 years. In 1984 I got my first major Professional Job at a Club in Waco, TX so I moved there to work for 6 months. Then I moved back to San Antonio to start working full time as a Professional Entertainer. Upon moving back, my career really started taking off. I began working 4-5 nights a week, sometimes 7. It was in 1984 in Waco where I began singing Live and from that moment on I have never put down the microphone. I began working all over the country as an emcee for pageants and events. And in that same year of 84, I got my first Headlining job to Open up for Martha Wash and Izora, better known as ” The Weather Girls”. THAT..was AMAZING. After that, Club/ Bar Owners really started taking notice of me and began hiring me all over town. Then in 1986 I put together an ALL LIVE SINGING One-Man Show with Celebrity Impressions and Comedy which added to my abilities as an entertainer. That’s when I REALLY feel in love with entertaining. I stayed living in Texas and toured all over the U.S and Club Med in Cancun Mexico until 2005 when I was offered a job Hosting and Headlining in Las Vegas. So…I moved to Las Vegas to work at a place Called ” Celebrities ”. It was located across from Lady Luck Hotel and Casino in the Downtown Experience. That experience gave me a lot of confidence and when that was over, I moved back to Dallas. And then more offers kept coming in, but this time they were some amazing offers which opened up Europe, Africa, The Caribbean and Mexico. Through out my career I have been blessed and fortunate to appear with some amazing Music Icons, Legends and Individuals such as Eartha Kitt, Elton John, Tiffany, Thelma Houston, Chita Rivera, Bruce Valanch, Levi Kreis from Broadways Million Dollar Quartet, Liz Mikels from Friday Night Lights & Roscoe Jenkins and Kristine W just to name a few. In the joy of it all, I sometimes still have to pinch myself to say ” Am I REALLY doing all this” and the answer is Yes and you’ll do so much more. I truly believe there is so much more that God has in store for me and my career.

Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith
Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith

OCR: Many entertainers use a stage name. Why did you decide to headline with your real name?

MAS: I decided to change my name because when I did use a Drag Name it didn’t change who I was as an entertainer or an individual. At that time People were not taking me seriously as an entertainer. Even when I sang live they still believed I was Lip-Syncing. I thought, why am I working so hard to sing when they don’t even realize it or care one way or the other…lol. So I began realizing that Hot Chocolate uses his real name Larry Edwards. Charles Pierce used his as well. Frank Marino the same and the list goes on and all of those individuals were being acknowledged as serious entertainer. There fore I knew if I wanted to be taken seriously as an entertainer I needed to make the change. Because everyone kept referring to me as a Drag Queen and Drag Queens are known for Lip-Syncing which I have not done in many many years. It wasn’t until LOGO started putting Drag full time on television were people taking Drag serious. I commend and have respect all those in the Drag Community who wish to be called Drag Queen and treated as such. If it works for them, then go out and be the best Drag Queen you can be. But I prefer to be accepted and acknowledged as an Entertainer because whether I am ” IN” or ” OUT ” of Drag, I can still pick up the mic and make people laugh, smile and have fun as an entertainer. I just enjoy doing it in Drag. Because if I’m doing Bette Midler Live…I need to look like her and sound like her. And for others out there that wish to SING LIVE in Drag I encourage all of you to do so. There is nothing like having an audience in awe of what comes out of your vocal chords and they smile, hug you and say…” Now THAT is talent”. Nothing like it in the World. It changes your life!

Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith
Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith

OCR: You are widely known for your impersonations of various celebrities. Which celebrities are in you portfolio? Are there any celebrities that are a favorite to perform?

MAS: I Love Being a Celebrity Impressionist….My idol was Rich Little( to those readers who do not know him…Google his name…He was Amazing ). I remember saying ” I want to be another Rich Little but for the Gay Community and in Drag. I do a lot of voices…but I have to say The favorites among my fans are Eartha Kitt, Cher, Bette Midler, Carol Channing, Patti LaBelle, Tina Turner, Louis Armstrong, Elton John, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Eric Cartman ( South Park ), Karen Carpenter and the list can go on.

I believe it is VERY important to continue doing the Legandary Lady’s and Gentlemen who many people would never get to see or hear again such as Eartha Kitt, Karen Carpenter, Billie Holiday Judy and Liza to name a few, because there are so many youngsters out there who have no idea who these Gay ICONS are. And they are such a HUGE part of our Heritage and our upbringing. Without them we could not have survived a lot that we have been through. And without US they would have ended their careers long ago. WE are the reason why so many individuals have had the fame they had. And I cannot think of a better way to honor them then by continuing their Love of Entertaining by bringing them back to life in one way or another.

I have even had many audience members and fans, come and tell me how thankful they are that they got to see and hear this one or that one because of what they meant too them. It is truly a humbling experience to be able to bring that much Love and joy to another individual. I am truly Blessed!

My favorites are just that… the one’s who’s light has been dimmed by death and or tragedy. They are the one’s who could have continued for ever and ever. Theirs is the music that touched our hearts.

Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith
Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith

OCR: Having been in the business for more than 40 years, what are the main differences, if any, that you see between female impersonation today and yesterday? What do you think the reason is?

MAS: There is a HUGE difference in Drag today then there was back then. Back then there were lines out the doors and around the blocks with hundreds of people waiting to get in to see the shows. Again back then one had to earn their right to be one the stage. NOT every queen that did Drag got to do it Professionally. And when you were invited to perform with the Legends and the History Makers, you knew you had arrived. Back then you really had to have that special something that made you unique, different, one-of-a-kind talent. Whether it was the way you danced, or your costumes were unlike anyone else, or you just had a talent unlike anyone else…no matter what it was, each Entertainer at that time was Unique and the people knew that…

Now-a-days. it seems that everywhere you turn there’s someone wearing a dress and a crown and saying ” I’m so and so… Back in the day there were only 2 National Pageants Miss Gay America & Miss Gay U.S of A. And they were tough pageants. And when you won a State or Regional Title to one of those Pageants, you were considered Top of The Line. The year I won Miss Gay Texas we had 68 Contestants. That year there were more contestants for Miss Texas than the National Contests…I was so honored and Thrilled to have won out a field of that many contestants. But it made me work even harder to prove myself worthy of becoming that years winner. And to go to Miss Gay America and make Top 10…You were considered one of the Top 10 Entertainers of that year. I achieved that goal three years in a row…I was so Proud of that achievement and honor. But I also realized at that moment, I had achieved all I could for the Drag Pageant Days and it was now time to move forward with my career. I could have ended up spending many more years to WIN, but I wanted more than just a title. So I swallowed my tears and pain of never achieving that goal of winning and moved forward. A Lady always knows when it’s time to leave. and I felt I left a winner anyway. Here it is 20 years later and I am still going strong in my career. I do not think that would have happened had I not made the moved on when I did. But I must admit it did take some time to get over never Winning. But I am so Proud and Honor to continue to know some of the Greatest Miss Gay America’s and U.S of A’s to this day. They are wonderful and inspiring entertainers and they are My Friends. The Current Miss Gay U.S. of A 2012 is Lawanda Jackson and she is one of the loveliest Friends and Individuals I know. And WOW on a stage. Just ask those who have seen her.

Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith
Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith

OCR: Mark, some would say that there are many issues that plague the LGBTQ+ community. Are there any that you feel stand out as critical? How do you think we can improve and fix any potential problems?

I believe this issue I’m about to talk about, is quite frustrating to almost every single Long standing Entertainer ( 30 Years Plus ) who Walked the Walk, Talked the Talk and Fought the Fight. It is the issue of knowing Our History, Our Reasoning, Our Purpose and Our Legacy of Being a Drag Queen or simply a member of the LGBT Community.

I came out on the Ten Year Anniversary of Stonewall, June 27 1979. Two weeks Later on my 19 birthday July 10th 1979, I did my very first Drag Amateur Contest. Knowing nothing about Drag what so ever, I used my own hair, no powder on my face ( didn’t know the difference), wore a dance leotard, wrap-around skirt and Black pumps. And did Dim All The Lights by Donna Summers. I danced, twirled and did cartwheels ( which evidently was huge at the time) the crowd went CRAZY. I got 1st Runner Up my first time in Drag. The next week later, I wowed them with Shame by Evelyn Champagne King and Won. Oh my…I seemed to have been bitten by the Almighty Drag Bug. And well, that began my career of what is now 40 years and still going. Who’d of thunk?

A month later, my favorite Drag Performer San Antonio’s Legendary Lady Miss Pauletta Leigh took an interest in me. And trust me, it was NO EASY TASK. Back then, when one is welcomed into a Drag House, one must be 100% willing to ALWAYS listen & learn. Now a days, Queens are just asking the Head Diva if they can use their last names. THAT was NEVER EVER accepted. You either EARNED IT or LOST IT. My Drag Mother did NOT want us using her last name. She said, and I quote…” You will NOT use my name to open your doors. You WILL chose a name that fits your own style and personality. And then I will teach you the tools needed to reach as far as the eyes can see” If she didn’t think we had what it took at the time…she gave us a few more weeks to prove we were catching on and ready to take further steps. Not everyone succeeded. I was NOT going to fail, I was going to listen to everything, watch everything and learn everything I could. AND I DID! Now here comes the part that was EXTREMELY Important and VITAL to her teachings. Pay attention YOUNGINS…. She said, this is not all about dresses, Make up, performing or Winning. This is about WHO WE ARE, WHAT WE ARE & more importantly, WHY WE ARE. You WILL learn OUR HISTORY and until you know it, you will NOT be seen, heard or Represent anything, let alone my House. Because, how can you Represent something you know NOTHING about? She began telling me her History that started in the late 60’s like that of Stonewall. She taught me all about the Stonewall Riots of NYC and why that night was the most important and influential night in LGBT HISTORY. It’s because on THAT one single Summer Night in the Village at the Stonewall Inn, Drag Queens refused to step away, step down, be silent, be frightened or go quietly in the night. HELL NO, WE WONT GO! They stood up to the NYPD and fought vigorously, loudly and physically to prove that THEY & THEIR COMMUNITY had RIGHTS. Thus began the Nationwide GAY Movement. And it was on that day that Judy Garland had been Buried. The gays were upset and devastated that our ICON is now gone and no more. And it was NOT the day to mess with a bunch of Queens. SHE WAS and STILL IS our everything, Our Leading Lady, Our Ruby Slipper Little Girl. She was simply our RAINBOW! Hence the number one symbol of ALL THINGS GAY! Now here’s where my TRUE frustration and lonely sorrow comes in. When I hear a so-called Drag Queen of Any Age say these horrible four words. ” Who is Judy Garland?” And truth be told. These past 5 years, I have heard it hundreds of times, over and over and over again by young Individuals who want to be leaders in the Gay Community, yet have no earthy idea what that honor or privilege entails.

My Drag Mother also insisted that one MUST learn the entire History and Legacy of ALL PAGEANT SYSTEMS in AMERICA. You wanna be Miss Gay Texas, Miss Gay America, Miss Gay USofA, Miss Gay ANYTHING. Then I suggest you learn who they were, when it started, what year the held the Title, what was their contribution to the Title and the community and on and on and on. And therefore, I DID! And it was exciting, Important, it was relevant to the purpose at hand. Because WHY? Because one CANNOT Represent without such Knowledge of what the are Representing and who they are Representing be it City Title, State Title,, Regional Title or the highest honor of National Title.

And one more thing.
A Crown does NOT make one a QUEEN.
A Title does NOT make one Important.
Anyone can buy and wear a Crown.

A Crown is won by Merit, Hard work, Dedication, integrity, Values, Intelligence, Strength and so much more. However, if one has the greatness of Kindness, Love, Understanding, Unity, Compassion and personal Faith and Belief in one’s self. Then NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE and No dream is UNREACHABLE.

SO…before you step on a stage or go into an interview, Remember this….One NEVER EVER knows what one will be asked. And wouldn’t you rather have the knowledge of ALL THINGS DRAG, Our OUTSTANDING History and of those who contributed their lives to an everlasting Legacy. Or…will you sit there in Complete silence and tongue tied trying to wing your way through it? Because that’s what will surely happen. And after spending thousands on that GORGEOUS gown, Amazing Talent number, Superb Presentation…you’ll stand quietly in the background saying, ” Damn, if I had only known what they were taking about and how important it is to my success”.

OCR: Are there any causes that you support? Tell us why you devote time to this cause.

MAS: There are many causes I support. Whether it is related to Cancer, Aids, Food Pantries etc ..When ever someone calls me or asks If I can appear, If I am in town I always love to help out in any small way I can.

Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith
Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith

OCR: Who do you believe are some of the inspirations from the past and present among entertainers in the LGBTQ+ community? Why do they stand out?

MAS: As far as Inspirational Individuals in our LGBT Community Past or Present, I have to say there are several that come to mind.

Pauletta Leigh was always there for anyone who needed her. Over the span of her life and career she had helped raise thousands and thousands of dollars for EVERY cause imaginable.

Rodd Gray – Miss Gay America 1995 Patti Le Plae Safe is VERY inspirational. She dedicated her life to making sure everyone played safe and spoke about it openly at every event, ever club..every where she traveled that was her platform. And it still is too this day, hence the stage name.

Bottom line, I believe WE as entertainers could ALL be very inspirational if we would just take the time to find the passion in our hearts to care. And I mean TRULY care about something that can be useful and helpful to others. I set out on a mission 17 years ago to let my gay brothers and sisters know just how truly wonderful they are. And that if they would learn to let the pain and suffering of their past fade away, then they would begin to see the beauty of what life is all about. Even in these tormenting days of the world in all it’s anguish one can still find peace and happiness. But I know all too well that their hurt, pain and suffering runs deep. We are constantly reminded of those who have either turned their backs on us or have who have damaged us to the core. And I know it is very difficult to forgive and move forward. But it is possible and achievable. I know that over the years so many LGBT members of our community have let Finger-Pointers and Bible-Thumpers tell them they are going to hell and GOD HATES them. And in the process many have turned their backs on God. Well I tell YOU ALL this…What those horrible Preachers have said is a LIE! They were NOT and are NOT doing GODS work. They are NOT doing him a favor at all. They are the one’s who have actually ruined the true face of God and his Son Jesus Christ.

Each and Everyone of you are perfect just the way you are. God does NOT make mistakes…PEOPLE do! And all those Evangelical Individuals who continue to thrust their HATE and CRUELTY our way will have to account for their HUGE MISTAKE when standing before The Almighty! And ALL those LGBT individuals who didn’t listen and still loved god and believed will walk lovingly and gracefully through the kingdom of heaven WAY before those who have damaged Gods Perfect Image.

This has been my mission for many years. A lot of individuals get really mad and upset when I speak about this subject. But those who actually do listen and hear me, truly understand what it is I am saying. And it is such a joy for me to see and hear when someone comes and tells me they have never thought of it that way. Gods messengers here on Earth have a responsibility NOT to themselves, but do GOD. And that’s where these preachers make their HUGE MISTAKE. There are some Preachers who actually believe they are GOD. But I tell you now, anyone of those Preachers or Teachers who put themselves before God will truly suffer the consequences.

I was actually fired from a job because I sang a song of Spiritual encouragement and Blessings, letting Gays know they are loved by God. And of all the songs I performed that night, that one got the largest and Longest Standing Ovation…YET Someone complained and I was let go. It was at that moment, I knew that was a blessing. Because I realized I NO LONGER needed to work in a place or for someone who does NOT encourage self-love and joy through the spirit of God. I did NOT need to be anywhere near that place. It hurt for a while, but God comforted me immediately and I moved forward.

I hope each and everyone of you, even those who have a hard time believing, know that it is in us all to truly be compassionate and loving towards each other. You just have to decided whether or not YOU are capable of allowing that Love and Compassion to fester and grow until YOU are bursting with it. It is those, who in their darkest moments when they are most vulnerable, can allow light and glory to shine so bright from within, that others feel it and see it in your presence. You are the inspirations. You are the TRUE testament of Gods great work. YOU are the one’s who will forever be known as Living Testaments to the TRUTH! That ALL who believe will forever be blessed and rewarded for your heavenly attribute. I send waves of Love and joy your way in hopes that every one will be hit with the Greatness of our humanity. It all begins with you.

Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith
Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith

OCR: Are there any venues, shows or events from the past that are no longer around that you miss. Can you share with us some of your memories?

MAS: YES there was ONE show I would go and see every time they were in town. It was these four individuals that forever changed my life…they were called ” The Fabulous Four ”. The group consisted of.. Naomi Sims MGA 1985, Donna Day MGT 1975, Hot Chocolate Miss Gay America 1980 and Tasha Kohl Miss Gay America 1984. When these four individuals hit the stage it was magical. They traveled all over the country making people laugh, go wild, crazy leaving them in awe. I adored each and everyone of them. I was blessed to call them friends and family. When ever one of us were invited to perform with them you knew you had made it. I had the fortune of working with them many times throughout my career. We lost Naomi back in 1994 and Donna back in 2003. Chocolate and Tasha are still performing to this day. Hot Chocolate aka Larry Edwards works in the show DIVAS Las Vegas as the Amazing Tina Turner. And Tasha Kohl aka Kohl Faulkner continues to Travel and perform throughout the country.

Nakoma Shaye
Nakoma Shaye

OCR: Any advice for entertainers who are just getting started out? What advice would give to someone seeking help?

MAS: I would say almost every long standing entertainer would have some sort of advice for these individuals. This first advice is more personal rather than professional.

PERSONAL ADVICE: It is most important in this business that YOU remain true to yourself at all times. Sometimes we can get connected or involved with those who are not so true. They present themselves in one way, only to find out later they are not that way at all. If we surround ourselves with true, loving, kind, hard-working mentors who want nothing more than for us to succeed, then you have found the right individuals. It’s like I said earlier Lying, Cheating and Stealing are NOT good examples of a good person. These types of individuals suffer everyday because of their lack of self-worth. And they want nothing more than to pull you down with them. Do NOT let this happen. If you do, I guarantee you will suffer in the long run. Take it from one who knows. It took many years for me to reshape myself. But after the long and difficult road, I released everyone of those hateful individuals who were in my life and I have lived according to the Golden rule. ” Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you “. And even though to this day that rule sometimes does not work. I do not give up. I still believe that for every hateful individual out there, there are many more kind one’s. Finding them is priceless and worth the effort. Please know that there will be certain people who will stop at nothing to steer you down the wrong path. IT’S NOT WORTH IT!

PROFESSIONAL ADVICE: What ever you do make sure that if you lip-sync You know your words and all the phonetics and sounds of each note, laugh, growl or whatever the artist is doing is accurate. Nothing people hate more than to go see a show and certain Queens do NOT have great lip-sync skills. Because I can guarantee you this…If an entertainer has a FLAWLESS costume or outfit on and she/he doesn’t know their words…The outfit then becomes obsolete…it doesn’t matter anymore what they look like all they will remember is that fact that they did NOT know there words.

We use to have an entertainer named Lady Shawn a former Miss Gay America. Shawn had a physical defect that rendered him from moving a lot while performing. HOWEVER, when she hit the stage …OMG.. on top of him being beautiful and with the Glorious work of his hands and facial expressions and his FLAWLESS lip-sync ONE could NOT take their eye’s off her. I remember one night as he stood there doing ” You Are My Friend ” by Patti LaBelle ( his favorite artist ) people were lined up down three rows…one to the Left, the Middle and the Right of him. and He stood there and had to perform that song three times in order for every person in that theater to tip him. When all was said and done and after three standing ovations and encores..well lets just say this…Rent was not a problem…for several months..LMAO! It was so glorious to witness greatness.

We use to announce him as this…Ladies and Gentleman please make welcome to the stage…The Style, The Grace and The Elegant face of Miss Lady Shawn..the crowd went crazy….those days are over. And even now while I am sitting here remembering my friend Shawn…my heart is full.

So remember this my New Friends ready to hit the stage. It’s not how expensive your clothes are. It’s not how gorgeous your face it, it’s not how many fans one has…it’s all about being a professional not only on stage but off stage as well that will allow YOU and your career to go far, VERY far. So may God Bless you on your journey and may you always know that you are loved. Now go out and knock um dead!

Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith
Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith

OCR: What has been your biggest accomplishment?

MAS: WOW! I have to think a while on this one….let me see…I’d have to say my biggest accomplishments are when I am asked to perform with some of the greatest entertainers of our time. That lets me know that my talent, hard-work and dedication has been well worth it.

My first taste of WOW…happened when I was asked to open up for Martha Wash and Izora.. better known as “The Weather Girls”. That night was a night to remember and I was in heaven. Martha, Izora and myself all got ready back in the dressing room. We had a special place for them…but they refused..they said ” Oh NO Girl..WE want to get ready with YOU”. It was at that moment when I realized some Celebrities will be down-to-earth and treat you as an equal. And that Night we were. It was that defining moment that helped me to mold myself after them in that personal way. Always making sure I make others feel comfortable and welcomed. That is something a lot of entertainers do not do.

Next I got to work with Thelma Houston, then the Legendary Miss Eartha Kitt ( who by the way was my first Celebrity Impression I ever did ) that’s a long story so maybe another time I’ll tell you all about it. Then I got to meet Joan Rivers at her request. That also was very impressive to me. That she would request to meet me. It was an honor. She is every bit as fabulous as you think she is….and CRAZY as well…LOVE HER! Then came Sir Elton John..doing a musical romp on stage with him was a dream come true. I believe our accomplishments are rewarded when we stay true to ourselves and believe in ourselves. There have been many individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing through out my career. Individuals that have allowed me to share my greatest gifts blessed by god. This ride has allowed me to float on Cloud 9 many times…but then I have to come down back to earth and face reality when it is all said and done. I still have to struggle everyday with certain individual who do not know how to run a business or do not know how to treat entertainers, or those who simply do NOT care one way or the other WHAT one has accomplished. But I say to them all.. ” No Problem..I’ll just sit back and wait for Gods next Blessing. For I know it will be the right blessing at the right time”. No matter how bad I am treated by others in our community. You can NEVER EVER erase the glory or the joy of ALL one has done. Even if it makes others think they have the right to treat you in such a manner….They do NOT! It’s not our problem…it’s theirs!

Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith
Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith

OCR: Would you like to leave any words of wisdom to our readers. Give us your final word.

MAS: Well as you can all see by reading, my life has been a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs and in’s and out’s through darkness and sunshine. Never let anyone make you feel unworthy or less than. You will find that YOUR greatest accomplishments will render others either speechless or jealous. The speechless ones will be happy for your success and wish nothing but the best for you. The Jealous ones will say they do not care. They will mock you, hate you, speak all kinds of cruelty against you and make life a living hell at times. But not to fear my friends. They are NOT important. You’ll find that even some of your best friends will not be impressed one way or the other. This is when you realize that maybe just maybe they were not your friends after all. You will go through may ups and downs yourself. But PLEASE I beg of you. Do NOT give UP. It will get better you just have to want it bad enough.

There will be other entertainers who will one day look up too you. It is at this moment in your life you have to decide. Do I want those individuals to be self-centered, egotistical, hateful and cruel? Or do I want them to be thankful, gracious, loving and kind realizing better is always good and forth-coming. It is always so much easier to be a HATER. There is no effort or hard work in that. It is difficult at times to be the better person. But the rewards for your true self are astounding.

I believe in my heart of hearts and my soul of souls that one day WE as a community will get it right. That WE will no longer allow ourselves to keep hurting each other with hate, cruelty, unkindness and disrespect. I have HOPE for a better tomorrow. If anyone out there who reads my thoughts and words is not touched or understanding of what I have said, then you my friend may just be part of the problem. Put down that forked tongue, look in the mirror and ask yourself this ” Do I TRULY LOVE who I am and how I treat others?” If the answer is YES. Then carry on and reap what you sow. BUT, If you do NOT like who you are and what you have done. Now is the time to make a change. You have it in you to be ALL things glorious, great, wonderful and marvelous. Start today by going and making amends with those you have hurt. Be forth-coming and honest. Be true and humbled. Be the new you in everything you do. And then start living the good life.

For those who already live a life filled with Hope, Understanding, Dedication, Joy, Kindness, Commitment and Faith…keep marching forward spreading all that you are and let the Universe absorb your GREATNESS!

Well that’s about it my dear loving souls. I want for ALL OF YOU to have a wonderful life filled with the most beautiful friendships, the most wonderful experiences. the greatest fans, the most joyous news, the biggest accomplishments and most giving hearts and souls. But if at any moment you feel burdened or alone. Take a moment look in the mirror and say to yourself with the kindest of words ” I am Gods Child. I am worthy, I am beautiful, I am ALL things good and glorious”. Then give a word of thanks to the one who created such an incredible individual! Thank You and May God Bless You All! My heart and soul are full. Mark Alan Smith

OCR: In closing, if our readers, pageant owners, club owners or LGBT Organizations wish to book you, how can they reach out and get in touch with you?

That’s sweet of you to ask.

They can reach me on Facebook @ Mark Alan Smith. They can Friend Me or use messenger if they prefer.

Live Vocalist
Celebrity Impressionist
Lip-Sync Artist
Private Engagements

Thank You very much for this wonderful opportunity to speak openly, honestly and candidly with your readers about my passion and love for my Nationwide Community and the Drag we bring to them each and every day. God Bless You All
Mark Alan Smith

Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith
Nakoma Shaye aka Mark Alan Smith
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