The best of the best of the South Florida LGBT community were honored Thursday, Nov. 2 at the fifth annual Pink Flamingo Awards. The event, hosted by emcee and comedian Julie Goldman, is also a fundraiser for The Hub at the LGBT Visitors Center on Miami Beach and took place at the James L. Knight Center.
Roxanne Vargas, host of NBC 6's lifestyle and entertainment show, “6 in the Mix,” won Favorite Media Personality at the Pink Flamingo Awards. Vargas acknowledged NBC 6 colleague Jamie Guirola, a fellow nominee in the same category, and heralded NBC Universal and Telemundo Network for making it "OK for you to come to work as you are, to be who you are at work," which she said is "not the case at all media companies across the board, but that is the case at NBC Universal and Telemundo Network. I'm so thankful to work for them."
Vargas also expressed the honor she feels being named the Ally Grand Marshall for the 2018 Miami Beach Gay Pride, which won Favorite Fundraising Event - Weekend or Longer. Vargas' win Thursday was her third Pink Flamingo Award, which she said means more to her than any Emmy nomination.
"What's different about this is that this is your voice. That's really all that matters to me," Vargas said. "In our business, it's our job for you to not know where we stand. There's right and there's wrong and there's two sides of every story. It's our job to tell you both sides of the story. But when it comes to the LGBTQ-wide community, there is no side. That's how I feel personally in my head and in my heart. You are no different than me. I am no different than you. So there really is no side. There is the right side...It's my responsibility and your responsibility to make it an incredible world. And that means doing what's right and that means standing with the people who you love...and who love you back. And I thank you so much for loving me back."
Tiffany Fantasia bested Adora, TP Lords, Athena Dion and Tlo Ivy for Favorite Drag Queen. The veteran performer delivered an emotional acceptance speech at the awards show.
"Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me. It is an honor to represent this community," Fantasia said. "This has been a very tough year for me. The closing of Palace was a challenge for me....This community really put its arms around me and said 'we got you.' I am blessed and I am thankful for everything that has happened in my life...No matter what obstacles come my way, no matter who tries to hurt me or tries to bring me down and make me feel lesser than. As my late mother always said, 'you are somebody.' You are a child of God. And nobody will ever stop you from achieving your goals and dreams."
Roger Lords, who was nominated for Favorite Bartender, represented his home bar, Score, at the Pink Flamingo Awards. The South Beach venue won for Favorite Dance Club. Lords joined the Score team more than three years ago.
"Working at Score Nightclub is like being in a family," Lords said. "I know as a bartender, I'm honored to be recognized by our community as their destination for Favorite Dance Club. I know [owners] Luis and Billy work really hard for us to be the best, and we as bartenders also try to be the best for our bar which is still relevant after 18 years of nightlife entertainment."
Nathan Paul Smith of Twist, which won Favorite Nightlife Destination, won Favorite Bartender honors -- besting Lords, as well as fellow Twist bartender Tony Wheeler, Charlie Dominguez of Score and Lubor Ing Zuzin of R House Wynwood, which won Favorite Restaurant/Fine Dining.
Smith, who won in this category the first year, delivered a humble acceptance speech.
"It's really, really amazing just to get nominated for this. There's so many bartenders in Miami. To be nominated for this is huge," Smith said. "My mom gave me a really, really hard time [for staying in Miami during Hurricane Irma]. But one thing I realized is if Miami was going down, I was going down with it. I love Miami. This award means everything to me. Thank you very much."
Visit SFGN.com/PinkFlamingos2017 for the full list of winners and the rest of this story.