To kick off Montreal Pride Week (August 12-19), the Canadian city’s tourism organization has announced the five fabulous finalists in its third annual Queer of the Year contest—and one of them is GO favorite Ivette Gonzalez-Ale.
Our cover girl from February 2012 is the co-founder of Marimacho, a clothing line, and produces queer Latin dance parties in NYC. As the only woman in the competition, this Latina looks forward to beating the boys in the daily competitions.
If Gonzalez-Ale takes home the title, she will be making history as the first woman and person of color to win. “I feel very honored to represent women in the competition,” she told GO.
In entering the competition, contestants applied through a Facebook application and were interviewed through Skype. After being selected, each contestant tried to leave a lasting impression by creating a video explaining why they should be the Queer of the Year. The judges eventually chose five finalists and flew them to Montreal for Pride Week.
During their visit, contestants are staying at Hotel Le Germain, the host hotel for Pride festivities. So far, the finalists have received a historic tour of Montreal, drank some beers at the Gay Village and met the first person to ever organize a Pride Parade in Montreal. To add to the fun, Gonzalez-Ale will be leading the Hole-y Dyke March on Saturday as a drill sergeant.
Each contestant is expected to show his or her personality, talent, healthy lifestyle, community spirit and sex appeal through daily challenges, orchestrated by hostess Mikala Bierma.
And for the first time, voting for the winner is going public. Votes can be submitted through the Queer of the Year Facebook page, where five videos of challenges and numerous goofy pictures of the finalists can be viewed.
The finalists will be on the Queer of the Year float at the massive Pride Parade this Sunday. During the closing ceremony, the winner will be announced and receive a $5,000 (Canadian) cash prize as well as a free trip back to the city. Oh, and let’s not forget the bragging rights!
The other four finalists will win $1,000 and be left to question who their true Facebook friends are.
If announced as the Queer of the Year, Gonzalez-Ale plans on putting the $5,000 towards a new suite line that she is working on with Marimacho. As for the trip back to Montreal, she says she will use the beautiful city as a place to do a photo shoot.
“Montreal has really been treating me kindly,” she said. “The queer community here is wonderful and I encourage everyone to visit.”
After the five videos of each daily challenge are posted, the tallied number of votes per video will determine the winner. Each person can vote five times. The contest’s Facebook page will constantly be updated this week. Check out the daily challenge videos and the hilarious “Literal Cat Walk” clip—and don’t forget to vote for the next Queer of the Year.