Meet The Pageant System Behind The Cover Of The December 2021 Issue Of GEQ Magazine: Monarch International

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World Universal Productions is thrilled to announce their new brand Monarch International and is revealing some of their inaugural titleholders in this GEQ exclusive!

Monarch International is THE most inclusive organization in the modeling, glamor, and pageant industries.

There are categories inclusive of transgender and non-binary individuals, a category celebrating the art of Drag, a category just for talent, and an introduction to the world’s first international, all-inclusive pageant for Mermaids, Mermen, and Merfolks! All categories are open to anyone age 21 and over. Marital status and orientation are not a factor for inclusion.

Instead of traditional evening wear, Monarch International will hold a fantastical Charity Gala where the contestants will model their incredible creations along a specific theme, similar to the world-famous Met-Gala. The theme for 2022 will be Carnival in Venice!

Monarch International is finalizing its 2022 International dates, but it will be held in Washington DC in September 2022. Follow Monarch International on social media @WUPMonarchInternational and visit the website at www.worlduniversalproductions.com/monarchinternational to learn more.

Now, let’s meet the inaugural court.

Chuck Burk

Chuck is a diversity, equity, and Inclusion professional working in customer advocacy in the technology sector. He also serves on the DEI board for a not-for-profit group. He is the co-founder of a Political Action Committee focused on down-ballot candidates and legislation supporting traditionally marginalized and underrepresented groups. He is a former titleholder in the Miss Gay America system. Chuck enjoys travel, and his favorite place is Prague. He is honored, excited, and ready to get to work as the first Supreme Monarch International.

Evan Taylor

Evan resides in his native country of Scotland; he has a degree in Human Resources Management and is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Personal Development. He works as a Program Manager at Amazon. He was previously a restaurateur who co-created a brand new concept in casual dining with the UK’s youngest ever chef to hold a Michelin Star. Evan is passionate about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging and works closely with local abuse prevention, ritual abuse, and LBGTQIA+ charities in Scotland. He is a practicing Buddhist and really does want world peace. Evan will be spending the next year sharing the mission of Monarch International and is excited to welcome all of the 2022 delegates who seek to be his successor.

Arilyn Roberts

Travis Dupuy, otherwise known as, Arilyn Roberts is from Baton Rouge, and has competed in pageants since the age of 10. Arilyn is your current reigning Queen Apollo, Miss Southern Illusion Queen of the South, a former Miss Louisiana Gay America, and was recently named the inaugural Queen Monarch International. A licensed cosmetologist and barber, Arilyn has also been a cosmetology teacher for 10 years with Paul Mitchell. Arilyn is also an accomplished dancer and a member of the National Thespian Society. Arilyn has had the opportunity to appear on the big screen in the movie “Dallas Buyers” starring Matthew McConaughey, and was recently an extra in the hit TV series “Claws.” Arilyn is thrilled to be our first Queen Monarch!

Jorge Romo-Jimenez

Jorge is a 2017 graduate of Norfolk State University, where he was Mr. Norfolk State University 2015 and earned a BS degree in Chemistry. He is currently in his fourth year of teaching at a public charter school in Washington, DC. With his core values being authenticity, equity, and effectiveness, Jorge is passionate about education and creating a culturally responsive classroom where each scholar can learn and grow. As a black male educator in an underserved community, he prides himself on the safe space he creates for his students, the relationships he nurtures, and the growth mindset principles that serve as the foundation of his classroom. Jorge’s most important education pieces are the platform to enhance students’ voices, self-advocacy, and autonomous learning and thinking. While in the classroom now, he hopes to advocate for educational reform for students in low socio-economic communities and reform the oppressive structures in which educational systems have been rooted for centuries. Jorge is proud to represent Monarch International as the first International Ambassador.

Mermaid Echo

Echo is an international award-winning aquarium performer and aquatic educator. Echo is Wisconsin’s premier professional mermaid entertainer, specializing in children’s conservation education. Mermaid Echo Entertainment LLC works to inspire the next generation to care for at-risk aquatic ecosystems through storytelling and hands-on learning. Echo is a certified PADI Mermaid Instructor, Open Water Diver, and Red Cross Lifeguard who centers safety in their events and curriculum. They have over seven years of experience in one-on-one childhood development and aquatic education and have been running Mermaid Echo Entertainment LLC since 2016. They currently hold the titles Merfolk Monarch International, Ocean Ambassador, and Ms. Mermaid Wisconsin 2021. Mermaid Echo is excited to combine their love of mermaiding with a passion for supporting non-binary communities, as the Merfolk title is specifically for individuals who identify as non-binary.

Blix

Blixunami (Eric Milligan) is from Charleston, South Carolina. As a young kid, in 1995, Eric saw his mermaid on tv, the Jewel Hair Mermaid Barbie, and fell instantly in love with the creatures! Eric would spend their days daydreaming about mermaids. Once Eric got to High School, they found a website forum called mer-yuku where they met so many others that loved merfolk just as much as him. Eric finally found his tribe. After years of dribbling over others’ tail pictures and unwrapping videos, in 2012, Eric got blessed to receive their first tail for free from a long-distance friend. After putting the tail on for the first time, Eric knew life was complete, and Blix became their mer-sona. Eric mostly swam in local pools with friends until one day in 2016; he got his first paid gig as a professional Merm for Dallas Southern Pride. This then led to his 1st kid’s party, a 7 day trip to Italy for the Santarcangelo Festival, a YouTube interview with Davey Wavey and even scored an episode with Tosh.O! He has been a cover model for BEAU Magazine in South Carolina and at this time decided to create a more uniform look for his mer-sona and The Blixunami was born. Now, as The Blixunami, they made their new look debut at the Tybee Island Mermaid Festival and were a mega-hit with the crowd! Since then, Eric has done many festivals, parades, and other gigs. Eric’s goal as The Blixunami is to make sure that everyone that gets the chance to meet them leaves with a bigger imagination than before and the knowledge to know no matter who they are, what they look like or where they come from, they can always follow their dreams no matter what any says and to always SPLISH SPLASH ON THE ANCHOVIES! Eric is thrilled to be the inaugural Merman for Monarch International!

Syrena

Syrena is Singapore’s First Mermaid, Singapore’s first and premier professional mermaid, and the founder of the Singapore Mermaid School.

Born and raised in the cosmopolitan Little Red Dot with the legendary Merlion as its cultural creature of myth, Syrena has made waves locally and internationally as an industry leader.

She has executed, hosted, and performed at numerous first-of-their-kind mermaid events in Singapore, including having her own weekly aquarium show, collaborating with the Singapore Zoo, performing atop the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel, as well as performing in a custom-built tank outside Tiffany’s. Besides the glitter and glamor of her larger-scale events, Syrena retains a soft spot for the signature mermaid appearances she executes for little ones, believing it is important that children are shown the wonder and whimsy of the world around them.

Adjacent to her performing career, Syrena founded the Singapore Mermaid School, which opened its doors to children and adults.
The Singapore Mermaid School was the first mermaid school in the world to establish a tiered and holistic syllabus, and was also the first mermaid school in Asia to be established by a professional Asian mermaid. The vibrant community that has sprung up from the School celebrates diversity, inclusivity, and sisterhood.

Syrena’s career has taken her from the chrome and glass infinity pools of Singapore to the shores of Hawaii, Bali, the Maldives, and most recently – America, where she headlined MerMagicCon 2019.

Syrena has dipped her fins in pageantry, securing a place as a Top 10 Finalist in Miss Universe Singapore, and is thrilled to take her place again in the scene for a cause that celebrates individuality and dynamism as Ms. Mermaid Monarch International.

Montara Grace

Montara Grace has been a professional mermaid performer since 2016. In her adventures, she has performed as far north as Ohio and as far south as West Virginia, where she has worked with the West Virginia Renaissance Festival since its opening in 2018. She has participated in several pageants in the past few years, having held the titles of Miss Mermaid Montana 2019-2020 and Miss Mermaid North Dakota 2021 with Miss Mermaid USA, Monarch of the Lake with Mermaid at Any Age, and Ms. Egypt 2021 for Ms. World Universal International. As a plus-size woman, her platform has continuously been diversity, inclusion, and body positivity. She works to create a space where everyone can coexist and supports others as they learn to love themselves. Pageantry has elevated her love of philanthropy. A long-time supporter of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Save the Manatee Club, and the National Zoo, Montara Grace has since donated efforts to the Maryland chapter of the TEARS Foundation, the Trevor Project. She is an active member of the Society of Fat Mermaids. She currently resides in Maryland with her dog, three cats, chickens, and mini pig, Pancake. This past year she founded a cat rescue, The Purrsery, for pregnant strays and abandoned kittens. When not mermaiding, volunteering, or bottle-feeding kittens, she works full time in vaccine manufacture. Montara is so excited to share the first fully inclusive Mermaid pageant with merfolk around the globe!

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