2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Alexis De La Mer

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA BAY’S FAVORITE LOCAL PERFORMER: DRAG, WHO SHOULD BE ON THE COVER OF WATERMARK’S WAVES ISSUE

“Coming from New York, my drag is a little outrageous and a little more colorful than most of the drag queens in the Tampa Bay area,” Alexis De La Mer says. “Drag is an art form to me.”

The queen’s name stems from her favorite soap opera Dynasty, and in particular its character Alexis Carrington. “She was always dressed up in beautiful evening gowns and business suits with furs,” De La Mer says, “and dripping in jewelry. She always had a beautiful, hot young man by her side… I said, ‘I want to be just like her.’”

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2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Iberian Rooster

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA BAY’S FAVORITE LGBTQ-FRIENDLY STRAIGHT BAR/CLUB

Russell Andrade introduced the Portugese fusion restaurant and speakeasy Iberian Rooster to St. Petersburg in November 2016 with a clear purpose.

“Everyone was afraid of what was going to happen,” Ana Corsi-Travali, the location’s catering director says. “Is my loved one going to be deported? Is my loved one going to be banned from a bathroom? Is my best friend going to get their marriage revoked because something might get overturned?”

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2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Tyler’z Barbershop

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA BAY’S FAVORITE LOCAL HAIR SALON

Tyler Cochran and Zeyra Sanchez adore one another, in and out of Tyler’z Barber Shop.

The duo shares and cultivates a mutual love and respect that radiates all throughout the business, something that began long before Tyler’z opened in 2015 when they met at the American Institute of Beauty. “Zeyra’s been in every decision making process, down to our design, even before we opened,” Cochran says. “She’s been in the shop since day one.”

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PHOTOS: WAVE Awards Party 2018 Central Florida

By : Jake Stevens
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The 2018 Central Florida WAVE Awards Party at Celebration Gardens was a star-studded event. Local dignitaries Patty Sheehan and Anna Eskamani attended along with entertainer Blue Star and the WAVE award winners. Providing the entertainment were Doug Bowser, Miss Sammy, Lacie Browning, Gidget Galore and the Central Florida Sounds of Freedom Band and Color Guard. It was a chilly night, but the copious outdoor heaters, fire-pit and adult beverage offerings, kept everyone warm.

Check out the rest of the photos after the jump.

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PHOTOS: WAVE Awards Party 2018 Central Florida Step-and-Repeat

By : Jake Stevens
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Celebration Gardens was the site of the Watermark 2018 WAVE Awards Party for Central Florida. The “favorite” winners as voted by you, our readers, came out to be honored and mingle with their fans. Watermark was on hand to capture the special moment the awards were bestowed.

Check out the rest of the photos after the jump.

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It’s time to celebrate your favorite picks for Tampa Bay and Central Florida’s best!

By : Watermark Staff
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The curtain is falling on award season, but not before we announce your favorite picks for the best in Tampa Bay and Central Florida. The Watermark Awards for Variety and Excellence results are here.

In record numbers you listed your favorite people, places and things in our freeform ballot. We took the top three vote getters and opened up the competition for a finalist round. In record numbers again, you spoke and we listened.

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2018 WAVE AWARD WINNERS – TAMPA BAY

By : Watermark Staff
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FAVORITE LOCAL POLITICIAN/ACTIVIST

First: Rick Kriseman, St. Petersburg Mayor

Second: Nadine Smith, Equality Florida CEO

Third: Bob Buckhorn, Tampa Mayor

GREATEST STRAIGHT ALLY TO THE LOCAL LGBTQ COMMUNITY

First: Rick Kriseman, St. Petersburg Mayor

Second: Joanna Garcia Parkin, ESQ., St. Petersburg attorney

Third: Bob Buckhorn, Tampa Mayor

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2018 WAVE AWARD WINNERS – CENTRAL FLORIDA

By : Watermark Staff
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FAVORITE LOCAL POLITICIAN/ACTIVIST

First: Patty Sheehan, Orlando City Commissioner – District 4

Second: Buddy Dyer, Orlando Mayor

Third: Carlos Guillermo Smith, Florida House Representative – District 49

GREATEST STRAIGHT ALLY TO THE LOCAL LGBTQ COMMUNITY

First: Buddy Dyer, Orlando Mayor

Second: Anna Eskamani, Florida House candidate – District 47

Third: Darren Soto, U.S. House of Representatives – Florida’s 9th District

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2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Out of the Closet

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA BAY’S FAVORITE NEW LGBTQ BUSINESS

It’s hard to miss Out of the Closet Thrift Store’s St. Pete location, with its sea foam-colored facade and bright pink exterior. But even more obvious than its paint job is the organization’s dedication to the community it serves.

Each of its 21 locations across the country offers gently used clothing and wares, but unlike some thrift shops, it serves a greater purpose—benefiting the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Beside the shirt that catches your eye or the couch that’s perfect for your den is a pharmacy, and the location offers a safe space to get a free and private HIV test.

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PHOTOS: WAVE Awards Party 2018 Tampa Bay – Step and Repeat

By : Jake Stevens
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Watermark held our WAVE Awards party for 2018 in Tampa Bay at Hamburger Mary’s on March 8. Some of Tampa’s award winners and fans came out to celebrate with us and pose for our cameras.

Check out the rest of the photos after the jump.

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2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Gayle Guyardo

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA BAY’S FAVORITE LOCAL TV NEWS ANCHOR

WFLA News Channel 8’s Gayle Guyardo has been helping Tampa Bay residents make the most of their mornings for 25 years.

“I tell people that they hired me when I was eight,” the veteran anchor laughs, “but that’s not the case. I did practically start out of college. I had an anchor job in Sarasota and came to Channel 8 in my early 20’s.”

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03.08.18 Tampa Bay’s Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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I recently learned that I’m a monster. Before I get too far into how, I’d first like to thank readers for choosing me as Tampa Bay’s favorite LGBTQ–friendly writer in Watermark’s annual WAVE Awards. It’s a category I share with some very talented writers, like my Central Florida counterpart and syntax sister, Jeremy Williams. He’ll never let me win again.

It’s my goal as the Tampa Bay bureau chief to represent our community and our allies to the best of my ability, something I couldn’t do without all of you. I’m very proud to be in the position that I’m in, and so grateful that I get to learn so much from the community that we’re here to serve.

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