This week, a Grande Dame in every sense and a legend in the community. Norma Kristie!!!
A lifelong resident of Arkansas, Norma Kristie began life as Norman R. Jones. After graduating from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, with a Bachelor of Science in Education Degree, Norman served four years in the United States Navy. It was while stationed in the Washington D.C. area in the late 1960s that he first became interested in the art of female impersonation.
Returning to Arkansas in 1971, Norman began performing, and Norma Kristie was “born.” Entering the first ever Miss Gay America Pageant as Miss Gay Arkansas, Norma was crowned Miss Gay America Emeritus out of a field of 32 contestants in 1972, at Nashville, Tennessee’s Watch Your Hat and Coat Saloon. Norma helped to promote the pageant until 1975, when he assumed control of the contest from the original owner. Incorporating in business as Norma Kristie, Inc., Norman Jones proudly promoted the Official Miss Gay America Pageant and its network of over 40 preliminary pageants across the nation until he sold the pageant in 2005. Norma now lives in Little Rock and owns a complex of nightclubs including Trinity and Discovery, the largest bar in Arkansas. She presents two shows weekly, bringing to the community top entertainers from across the country, as well as providing a venue for up-and-coming performers. Norma is also active in Helping People With AIDS (HPWA), a statewide organization providing direct financial assistance to people living with AIDS.