Grew Up... in a challenging childhood he let behind for the freedom of New York City.
Living... in the epicenter of ballroom culture: late 1980s New York City. The underground ballroom scene is a vibrant place where people of the LGBT community walk, pose, vogue, and show off their fashion sense.
Profession... ball emcee. Pray Tell has a day job as a Macy’s cologne spritzer, but his real passion is ballroom. He’s an emcee, a member of the Masters of Ceremony Council, and a father figure to the performers.
Interests... fashion, singing, and throwing shade.
Relationship Status... dating Costas Perez. Sadly, Costas’ HIV infection has progressed and he’s living out his final days in an AIDS ward. This isn’t the first time Pray has gone through this experience. In fact, he’s finding it difficult to fully give himself over to romance when death has become such a daily reality for the gay community.
Challenge... living through the AIDS crisis. As a gay man in 1980s New York, there’s no escape the grueling effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As Pray notes in one emotional moment, “I've buried more friends in the last year than any of you can count.” Pray tries to serve as a role model and mentor in his community, but he can’t always follow through on the advice he gives to others—like the importance of getting tested to know your HIV status. Thankfully, his friend Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista is by his side to lift him up and keep him accountable.
Personality... wise, wry, and no-nonsense. Pray is famous for his sharp wit and biting commentary. He’s frequently hilarious but sometimes just a little bit cruel too, particularly in how blatantly he picks favorites. As Pray admits, “You know that I am as stubborn as an old drag queen with five o’clock shadow at three in the morning.” Pray’s acerbic sense of humor is a defensive mechanism he’s adopted to survive in a world that isn’t generally kind to black gay men. Deep down, however, he has a caring heart and a desire to see his community flourish through even the toughest of times.
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