Miami Beach Gay Pride names Olympic medalist Grand Marshal

Gus Kenworthy, Roxanne Vargas and Joanna James

Gus Kenworthy joins NBC’s Roxanne Vargas to lead the parade April 8 following a week’s worth of events, including the Miss Miami Beach Gay Pride Pageant

By Jose Cassola

Olympic silver medalist Gus Kenworthy is joining NBC6 anchor and host Roxanne Vargas for Grand Marshal duties at this year’s Miami Beach Gay Pride, which celebrates its 10th anniversary from April 2-8.

The two marshals will lead the parade down Ocean Drive beginning at noon Sunday, April 8, following a week of events that include the sixth annual Miss Miami Beach Gay Pride Pageant on Monday, April 2.

Mark Fernandes, chairman of the Pride board of directors, said Kenworthy and Vargas were chosen as this year’s Grand Marshals because they are “two preeminent public figures who well represent and support the LGBTQ community.”

“Gus for being a role model as an out and proud sportsman who excels at his craft and Roxy for being a prominent ally for the community and equal rights,” Fernandes said.

Kenworthy first represented the United States in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, bringing home the silver medal in slopestyle. Since then he has earned seven World titles and five X Games medals and is known for being the first Olympic free skier to ever perform a double cork 1080 and right side 1440 in a halfpipe, a double flip on a hip jump and a flip off a rail. In 2015, Kenworthy came out as a gay man in an ESPN Magazine cover story. His on-camera good luck kiss from his boyfriend at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang recently went viral around the world.

As an Emmy award-winning host of NBC6’s “6 in the Mix,” Vargas has been a supporter of Pride and the LGBTQ community for many years, earning the Pink Flamingo Award for Favorite Media Personality three times. She says being named an Ally Grand Marshal this year has meant a lot to her.

“Since day one, my husband and I have been nothing but loved and adored and welcomed with open arms by the LGBTQ community,” Vargas said at the kickoff event and fundraiser for Miami Beach Gay Pride in January. “To have been named an Ally Grand Marshal this year, it’s been such an incredible opportunity to have really smart conversations about the community and about getting more allies to come out and support and to understand what this means to the community and to just show up.”

Photo by Stephen R. Lang

For its momentous 10th year, Miami Beach Gay Pride 2018 will feature a week’s worth of events, including dance parties, a Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce fundraiser, a Friday night VIP gala, Saturday beach party and festival, and the Sunday parade and festival featuring more than 125 LGBT-friendly vendors and businesses, musical performances, refreshments, food and a family-friendly play area.

This year’s Miss Miami Beach Gay Pride Pageant moves to glamorous new digs at the Faena Theater, 3201 Collins Ave., in Miami Beach. The Stella Rosa Red Carpet Champagne Reception, hosted by Kitty Meow, begins at 7:30 p.m. April 2, followed by the pageant at 9 p.m., hosted by Peter J. Morales, Miss Miami Beach Gay Pride 2013 Tiffany Fantasia and Miss Miami Beach Gay Pride 2015 Athena Dion. Special guest performances during the evening will include Fantasia, Dion, Miss Miami Beach Gay Pride 2014 TP Lords, Miss Miami Beach Gay Pride 2016 Kalah Mendoza and the reigning Miss Miami Beach Gay Pride 2017 Joanna James, who will relinquish her crown to the next winner.

“I had no idea winning Miss Miami Beach Gay Pride 2017 would be this much fun. It has been a fabulous year,” James said. “I know I’m going to be a tough act to follow as Miss Miami Beach Gay Pride, so these ladies better bring it!”

Pageant contestants will compete in such categories as Presentation, Swimwear, Evening Gown with Questions and Answers and Talent. The winner will receive the title of Miss Miami Beach Gay Pride 2018; the Pride crown designed by Joey Rolon from Funky Sexy Couture; a matching jewelry set of ring and earrings designed by Michael Egnor from Beauty & Elegance Designs & Tittle; $1,000 in cash and $1,000 in prizes. Included in the prize package are a photo shoot by photographer Dale Stine; an interview on NBC6’s “6 in the Mix” with Ally Grand Marshal Vargas; and a meet-and-greet photo-op with this year’s Pride Marshals at the VIP Gala at the Faena Forum on April 6. The newly crowned queen will also be featured in the Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade and be introduced from the Grand Stand Stage and perform at the Main Stage on April 8; emcee 2019 Miami Beach Gay Pride festivities; and appear at events and activities leading up to the 2019 Pride.

Photo by Stephen R. Lang

Miami Beach Gay Pride was recently named one of the “Top 100 Events of the Year” for the fourth year in a row by BizBash Magazine and earned the Pink Flamingo Award as favorite multi-day event for the fifth year in a row.

Since its inception in 2009, Miami Beach Gay Pride has grown from a neighborhood event to one on the global stage with participating celebrities such as Patti LaBelle, Gloria Estefan, Adam Lambert, Jordin Sparks, Chaz Bono, Mario Lopez, Sharon Gless, Andy Cohen, Ross Mathews, Bebe Rexha, Elvis Duran and Iggy Azalea. Attendance has grown from 15,000 spectators at the first Pride parade in 2009 to an estimated 135,000 in 2017. In addition, last year’s event included more than 70 parade contingencies, 35 floats and 3,000 participants.

“It takes an army of dedicated volunteers and staff, the support of the City of Miami Beach and the help of all our sponsors to produce a Pride of this magnitude,” Mark Fernandes said. “A special shout-out goes to our presenting sponsor Celebrity Cruises, who really helped us bring Pride to a new level last year.”

Tickets for Miss Miami Beach Gay Pride can be purchased at For pageant registration and information, contact Tiffany Fantasia at 305-215-7270, or Peter J. Morales at 786-368-8374,

For more information about Miami Beach Gay Pride, visit


Author: JoCa Communications

Welcome to JoCa Communications, a media and public relations company headed by Owner and President Jose Cassola, a former Miami Herald reporter. Through his firm, Cassola writes stories and drafts press releases for community newspapers, blogs and other print and online publications. Cassola is also the Founder and Creative Director of, the go-to, where-to guide for all things gay (bars, clubs, restaurants, salons, shops, hotels, etc.) in South Beach, Greater Miami and Fort Lauderdale. If you have a publication and need writers, call Jose Cassola at 305-321-4270 or email

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