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Video | Queer of the Year 2011: Meet the finalists

News release from Montreal's Queer of the Year contest:

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN PRANCE?

MONTREAL WELCOMES SIX “QUEER OF THE YEAR” FINALISTS FOR A SURVIVAL OF THE FIERCE AND FABULOUS

Montreal, Quebec (July 29, 2011) – They’re queer, they’re here, and they’re back! Montreal welcomes six finalists for a survival of the fierce and fabulous to crown the second annual “Queer of the Year” contest winner during Montreal Pride Week.

Contestants submitted applications in June for Tourism Montreal’s “Queer of the Year” contest and 20 semi-finalists were selected for Skype interviews. A panel of judges narrowed the colorful lineup down to six finalists (based on personality, community involvement, sex appeal, healthy lifestyle and yes, even talent!) who will soon be whisked off to Montreal, one of the world’s most LGBT-friendly cities. Throughout Montreal Pride Week (August 8 through August 14), the six finalists will compete in a variety of challenges and activities, all of which will be captured on film. Viewers can keep up with the action online and vote for their favorite contestants, starting August 7, at: http://www.queeroftheyearcontest.com

At the end of the competition, the finalist with the most public votes combined with the most points from the judges will win the ultimate title of QUEER OF THE YEAR and a chance to take part in the Pride parade on Sunday, August 14 which marks the end of Montreal’s Pride Week celebrations. The winner will also enjoy the grand prize of $5,000 CAD (approximately $5,275 USD) plus flights and accommodations to return for a weekend visit to Montreal after the competition. The remaining finalists will each receive $1,000 CAD.

Meet the Finalists…

Yenna Woloshen from Saskatoon, Canada

Yenna, also known as the China Doll, has an evocative, red-lipstick smile and irresistible charm. She sees the good in anything, even in bugs that show up uninvited to parties. Her art and gay idols are Andy Warhol and Prince and as the perfect compliment, she admires the wit and style of Audrey Hepburn. Yenna's diet may be simple, bananas, peanut butter toast and eggs, but her fascination with 80s glam, Lolita allure and standing out are elaborately hot.

Célio Pereira from Porto, Portugal

When you meet Célio, one of the first things you’ll notice is he’s looking not just at you, but into your soul. As a designer, photographer and experimental cook, Célio relies heavily on realism for inspiration. This Brazilian designer who moved to Portugal for a lover, splits his time between art creation, fashion blogging and his ridiculously cute little French bulldog named Bob.

Jason Wimberly from San Diego, California

Jason has been ready for his close-up since he was a kid. As a teen he went from cheerleading right into modeling and the world of high fashion marketing, which means he doesn’t get on a plane without fake eyelashes and stilettos. He’s a self-employed fashion expert, entertainer, spokesperson, TV host, dancer, fitness coach and activist. But don't let his colorful passport and 8-pack fool you. He says his loving, small-town family is the reason he is who he is today.

Christine Rodriguez from Brooklyn, New York

Christine is the definition of the lesbian who wears her heart on her sleeve… as well as her lips. She is a poet (yes, she knows it), comic and LGBT outreach enthusiast. Her laugh alone should be played in hospitals to cheer people up and her cooking is a passion she loves to share with friends. This self-described drama queen loves to strut her drag-hippie-punk rocker-dandy self wherever she goes: yoga, knitting, the kitchen and maybe below your belt.

Eric Perry from New York, New York

It’s one thing to be a band geek. It’s another very special and very queer thing to play trumpet in an LGBT marching band that played for President Barack Obama’s inauguration. When Eric isn’t tooting on that beautiful horn, he is a graphic designer living the liberal New York life he always dreamed of when he was growing up in Indianapolis. He’s got a few tricks up his sleeves! Just ask him about his go-go dancer and wet underwear contest stints.

Timothy Warguleski from Winchester, Virginia

Usually when you ask someone to sing in public, their eyes dart around and they begin to sweat. Timothy not only loves to sing, even by request, but he’s up for all kinds of adventures and prides himself in spontaneity and positivity. This adorable aspiring cook will have you in stitches and smiles before you can say hello. His gay icon is the epic Alexander the Great so watch out, Timothy has big plans to lead, make you laugh and seduce you with song.

Wish you were here…

Bursting with exciting festivals and fun outdoor activities, Montreal is one of the world’s liveliest summer cities and a hotspot for gays and lesbians in all spheres of life. The city’s “Village” is at the heart of the action. Until Labor Day weekend the entire village (one of the biggest in the world - 15 city blocks along Montreal's main street, Ste-Catherine) becomes a fantastic pedestrian walkway with public art, patios and performances. But gay and lesbian life isn't just in the Village - it extends throughout the entire city. Arrival is easy and you’ll discover hotels at every price point along with tons of free activities to enjoy this summer.

Is that a deal, or are you just happy to see me?

Tourism Montreal is offering great packages from summer through December, including the LGBT Package with hotel rates starting as low as $129 CAD per night. This package also includes special privileges, ranging from over a dozen discount coupons and fantastic freebies at Montreal’s must-visit hotspots! Visit http://www.tourisme-montreal.org/Offers/Gay-Travel for a listing of participating hotels, terms, conditions and additional offers.

For more information, prize info, rules or the latest Montreal LGBT news…

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