Girl Pride Denver, Part One

Karina Hermosillo
I am SO excited!  I just landed in Denver for PRIDE Weekend!  And what a weekend it’s going to be!  There are no less than 20+ events over the next 4 days celebrating LGBTQ Pride!  And one of the events I am most looking forward to is Girl Pride Denver.
My friend DJ Tatiana is producing one of the HOTTEST parties of the weekend at City Hall Event Space on Saturday, June 15.  She has gotten two incredible women to co-host with her~ Whitney Mixter, from the Real L Word, and Karina Hermosillo, out Nuestra Belleza Latina contestant.
I got to chat with them to find out about Denver, pride and why they do what they do. Here’s the first part of that chat with Hermosillo about what it was like being an out, Latina, pageant contestant on Spanish language giant, Univision.
TLS: I’m so excited that we are getting you here for Denver Pride!  I love that you’re a beauty queen and out.  How long have you been out?
Hermosillo: Well, I have always been into pageants since I was a little girl.  I knew when I was 14 [that I was gay] I didn’t come out to my family until I was 22.  I was always so scared.
TLS; It can be scary.
Hermosillo: Yeah, I thought everyone would disown me.  Everyone thought there was no way I could come from pageants and be really girlie, and be a lesbian.
TLS:  You participated in the epitome of straight woman kind of event.
H: It’s kind of like America’s Top Model for Latin women.
TLS: Wow that’s huge. How did your family feel about it?
H: My mother was my biggest supporter.  She even went to Houston with me for the audition.
TLS: How did you decide to be out on the show?
H: I made it to the last round [in Houston] and they didn’t select me.  I was like what the heck!  I almost gave up.  My mom was like, don’t give up.  So, we went to Phoenix, AZ
TLS: Oh my goodness!
H: I auditioned again and it was the same producers.  And they were like didn’t we just see you.  Yeah, we actually liked you, but there was just something missing.
TLS: What was wrong?
H: In Houston, when they asked me about my personal life I didn’t tell them everything.  So, I told them upfront if I get selected I want to be selected for who I am [as a lesbian].  I was so scared.  You know this is pageants.  You’re supposed to be a role model.  And I think I could be a role model.  I can teach people about not giving up and reaching your dreams.  I told them all of that and they got a look and I was sure I didn’t get chosen.  I was ok because I said at least I was myself and at least I tried.  And I made it.
TLS: Yay!  And then what happened?
H: Out of 87 finalists, they only chose 30 [for the on air competition].  The producers told me that I didn’t have to tell [the judges] about my sexual orientation.  So, I thought about it the whole time.  And then I remembered a story that my girlfriend and I saw a week before about a 15 year old boy that had hung himself because of bullying…then I went out on stage…[introduced myself]…I am here to represent not only Mexico…but I also want to create a positive change among the homosexual community.
TLS: But, they kept you in anyway
H: They kept in the 30 and I had move to Miami while the whole thing was going on.  I made it to the top 10.
TLS: Were people mean?
H:  It was very stressful.  You are going to have people for you and, of course people who are going to be against you…I would just say I’m so glad that they are asking me all of these questions because it gave me [a platform] to say it’s okay, your sexual orientation doesn’t have to stop you from doing what you want to do…and I wanted to eliminate the stereotype [about what a lesbian looks like].
TLS: Right on.
H: It’s just so amazing.  I have millions of people from all over the [Spanish speaking] world that support me.  They write me every day telling me, just by me being on that show, it made a change in their life.
TLS: So, tell me about the kiss.
H: [The producers] would give us surprises every week.  And the week before I got eliminated they brought my partner to see me.  I hadn’t seen her in over a month…we weren’t allowed to talk on the phone…so after my show was done [that night], they let me talk to her.  So, of course, I ran and hugged her and I kissed her.  I was so excited.  Then all of a sudden we had all of these paparazzi all over us.
TLS: Really?
H: It was so crazy…so there was an adult gossip show that [aired] after our show [talking about our show].  And they kept showing the part where I kissed her.  So, the next week…people were complaining how could I do that on a family show…it was the worst week.  People asked if I regretted what I did.  I said no, I did what anyone in a relationship would have done after not seeing their significant other for a long time…so then that was the end of it [I got voted off].
TLS:  It doesn’t matter that you didn’t win.  You’re bigger than the girl that won.  Everyone knows who you are.
H: At first, I was really sad…but then I got to see all of the people that were writing me…from all of the Latin countries…I even have straight people [complimenting] me for standing up for who I am.  It’s about being who you are and being brave…I have had interviews from all over the place…even more than the winner.
TLS: Tell it sister!  I’m so proud of you.  And now we get to meet you for Denver Pride.
H: I was invited here for several presentations [including Girl Pride]…once I got to Denver I met so many supportive people…it’s been so cool.
If you want to meet the beautiful and talented Karina Hermosillo, then make sure you get to Girl Pride Denver & After Hours, Saturday, June 15, from 8pm until 5am, 18+, $10 cover.

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