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Keeping Up With the Monarchs 

KUWTM- Episode 1V

January 2021


From the Desk of Empress XV

 Nikki Knowles

From the Desk of Emperor XV

Carrington Hall Dubois

Happy New Year dear friends and family! 

It has shaped up to be a brisk fall and chilly start of the winter season, I have loved reintroducing my sweaters, coats and pants back into my daily routine. Emperor and I decided to take a few months off our newsletter to focus on our fundraising efforts and the holidays. It is wonderful to be back with you all, and I hope this letter finds you safe and healthy. 

Over the last three months our nation has experienced a whirlwind of an election that I thought would never end. We saw our beautiful state turn blue with the addition of Senator Mark Kelly, and President Elect Joe Biden winning Arizona, a feat that has taken decades, but we did it! As excited as I was with this news on election night, it also brought up a mixed bag of emotions. The happiness gave way to so much disappointment, as I am sure many of you dealt with. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that many loved ones, who loved and supported me through my journey as a transgender woman, had turned a blind eye to the fact that our outgoing president was the antithesis of everything that aided mine and millions of American lives. I don’t know how to come to terms with it just yet, but I am hoping the deep sadness I feel subsides one day. What I do know, and what keeps me going, is knowing that happy days are on the horizon, and the Audacity of Hope that was instilled in us prevailed in this election. 

During the fourth quarter of 2020 our Reign XV line members and former monarchs completed a staggering 9 fundraisers which included: 

-    Hope Bracelets for Teen Lifeline, 
hosted by: Prince Royale XV: Geo Johnson, Total Raised: $770.00
-    Treats For Pups Raffle, benefiting AZ K-9 Rescue 
Hosted by: Grand Duke XV Teddy Michael, Total Raised: $320.00 
-    Paws For Patriots, benefiting Southeastern Guide Dogs. 
Hosted by: Reign XV Line Members, Total Raised: $685.00 
-    Turkey and Food Drive, benefiting Neighborhood Ministries.
Hosted by: Lord XV DJ Image, total raised $418.20 
-    Thanksgiving Turkey Drive, benefiting Joshua Tree Feeding Program.
Hosted by: Queen Mother XV/Empress XIII Tyra Marie, total Raised $2020.75 (in kind/cash donations). 
-    Quilt Raffle, benefitting the Bryon Wiley Memorial Scholarship.   
Hosted by: Michael Gaffney Emperor II, total Raised $1,340.00
-    Jewelry Auction benefiting the Bryon Wiley Memorial Scholarship
Hosted by:  Empress VI Lady Christian & Emperor II Michael Gaffney, total raised $531.00
-    Holiday Decorating Contest benefiting Peacework Medical 
Hosted by: Viscount XV & Viscountess XV, Nick Ray & Naomi St. James, total raised $500.00. 
-    Blanket Drive benefiting Finding My Shoes 
Hosted by: Reign XV Line Members/College of Monarchs, total raised $345.00 (in kind/cash donations). 


I would like to take this time to thank everyone who donated to the above-mentioned non-profit organizations. Your support for these local organizations, and The Imperial Court of Arizona helped many individuals get through this often-difficult time of the year. A huge shout out and amazing job well done to our Reign XV line and ICOA general membership who jumped in and kept us going through what seemed like uncertain times. All of you play such a vital role in us continuing to do the work. Last but certainly not least, thank YOU Arizona community members. I am in awe of what you continue to do for your community, you inspire me every day. Stay on the lookout for what we have planned for 2021! 

I want to close this month’s newsletter out with a huge thank you to my partner Emperor XV Carrington Hall-Dubois. We didn’t know what awaited us last April, but I wouldn’t trade this journey and who is by my side for anything. I love you Kel! 

Please stay safe, continue to mask up Arizona, tell those close to you that you love them, and black trans lives still matter!  

In Love, 
Empress XV 



I cannot believe we have made it to 2021.  For a lot of us, 2020 has been a difficult and trying year.  But in the midst of all that darkness, there have been some amazing moments that have made the year memorable. 

For anyone that knows me, they know that politics is in every fiber of my DNA.  Both my dad and sister were elected political officials (my sister was the youngest elected official in Arizona at one point!).  I worked for a United States Congressman for 3.5 years and loved being able to help so many constituents.  The Presidential election, in the middle of a pandemic, was interesting to say the least.  I know I share the same sentiments as a lot of people, over 80 million to be exact, but I am happy to be able to move forward under the Biden/Harris administration.  I know both will work for LGBTQ rights as well as focusing on equality for ALL Americans. 

This year also showed us the hard work of the Reign XV line members.  In the last few months of the year, our group held 9 fundraisers that raised  $6,929.95! Earlier this summer when Empress and I chose our line members, we knew these people were passionate about our community and wouldn't shy away from doing the hard work.  This has been shown time and time again.  From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU to all the line members that have stood up and made our year so successful! As of December 31, 2020, we have raised $31,033.27 and all of this during the middle of a pandemic!!!  And we are not done yet!

We are still in the middle of this horrible pandemic but we do see the light at the end of this long tunnel.  That doesn't mean that the work stops.  We still need to wear our masks, stay a safe social distance from people and wash our hands. When it is time to receive the vaccine, please do so.  If you need any information on how and when to receive a vaccine, please let me know and I can get you that.  We are stronger when we work together.

During the month of January I would like to highlight an organization that does a lot within our LGBTQ community in Arizona.  That organization is Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network (TIHAN).  

TIHAN'S Mission: TIHAN provides community resources and caring support so that people with HIV can live well. Through education, we work to encourage everyone to get tested, get involved, and reduce the stigma of HIV.

TIHAN's Vision: Creating a community where everyone knows their HIV status, and where every person – regardless of status – is supported and affirmed to live as well as possible and stay healthy and engaged in the community.

TIHAN serves a diverse population of people living with HIV — women, people of color, members of the LGBT community, those from all walks of life and backgrounds. Although medications are helping to keep people with HIV alive longer than ever, there are still thousands of people in Pima County with HIV, and TIHAN serves to help them live well.  If you live in Pima County and need their services, if you would like to donate or if you would like to volunteer, visit their website here: 

As we close out 2020 and start 2021, I feel energized and hopefully.  We all have to remember we are in this together. If you need help, please reach out to someone.  If you can give a little, please do so.  There are so many organizations that are hurting during this time.  I always want to give a special shout out to Empress XV Nikki Knowles.  We started this journey together in May, being elected as Monarchs.  We didn't know what the year was going to hold for us but she has been there and engaged every step of the way. I couldn't imagine anyone else that could have picked up the torch and light the way.  THANK YOU Empress, you are not only my partner in this, but one of my best friends and sisters... I cannot wait to celebrate this year soon!

As always, stay safe, wear a mask, Black Lives Matter, Trans Lives matter and wash your hands.

In service,

Emperor XV

Community Spotlight

AJ Dominguez


Pre- COVID you could find AJ all over the valley bringing HIV awareness to the masses with the RIPPLE PHX team. Since COVID, he has been able to adapt as Community Outreach manager for Ripple PHX in which he has been involved with the successful Loteria live segements as well as part of the Chariot Crew, driving around the Valley doing 20 minute HIV testing. 

As if that isn't keeping him busy enough, AJ still finds time to volunteer at the Joshua Tree Feeding Program putting food baskets together for those living with HIV in Maricopa County.

THANK YOU AJ for all you do for our community.  It is because of people like you that make our community so special. This month we salute YOU!

ICOA Member of the Month

Lisa St. Laurent

Lady XV


We would like you to meet Lady XV Lisa St. Laurent our ICOA Member of the Month!   

Lisa hails from New York City, New York, where she was born and raised. Before moving to Phoenix AZ in 2016, she lived in Las Vegas Nevada for 21 years, where you would often find her performing, and bartending at the world-famous Las Vegas Show Lounge.


Her beauty and performance won her many prestigious pageant titles over the years which include:  

Miss Chicago Continental 2005 

Miss West Coast Continental  

Miss West Coast Continental Elite  

Miss Gay Las Vegas 2005  

Miss Gay Las Vegas Pride 2015 

Miss Crusin 7th Pride 2018 

When she is not performing around the valley or fundraising, you can find her dazzling customers at Mac Cosmetics where she is a premier makeup artist. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband Trey, they recently celebrated 5 years together, and their fur babies which include: 2 dogs named Maniac and Jordan, 2 cats names Benjamin and Viola, a bearded dragon named Ember and a million fish. This is her first year being involved with the Imperial Court of Arizona and I’m sure you will see much more of her in the future!   

Meet A Monarch

Returns February 2021

KUWTM- Episode 1II

September 2020

From the Desk of Empress XV

 Nikki Knowles

From the Desk of Emperor XV

Carrington Hall Dubois


Happy September!!!

Can you believe we are only 3 months away from the end of the year?  We have seen a lot of challenges in 2020, but we have also seen a lot of hope and coming together.  My challenge is to keep the momentum going and never lose sight of what we are meant to do as an organization, raise money for those who are less fortunate.

We are at the beginning of our next month long drive, the Homeless Youth Supply Drive.  The month long drive is being spearheaded by Princess Royale XV Eva Angelica Stratton, Marquis XV Louie Granillo and Marquesa XV Diva. They have selected two organizations to benefit:  The Homeless Youth Connection in Phoenix and EON Youth Lounge in Tucson.  We are off to an amazing start!  If any of you caught our last Tea Time with The Monarchs, you will know we raised $500 for the September drive!  A huge THANK YOU to Prince XV Allen Grabmor Winz- St. James and ICOA member Carolyn for donating two amazing cakes for us to auction.  And THANK YOU to those that donated!!  If you would like to donate any of the items on each organizations list, please get with myself, Empress XV, Eva, Louie or Diva to coordinate a pick up time.  We will also be holding 2 drop off events within the month.  You can also donate monetarily, and you can do so by visiting our events page.  Be on the look out for some great events this month to help raise money for our September drive.  Last week we had the first episode of Gay for Play, hosted by Louie and Diva and it was an amazing time! The way these line members think of new and innovative ways to reach the community is awesome!  Keep up the good work!

On the 5th, Count XV Michael Fairchild and Countess XV Serra Tonan held a virtual event to benefit Ripple PHX, "Oh for the Love of Glee".  There were several members of the ICOA who participated as well as several friends from around the country!  Thank you Michael and Serra for being such amazing line partners!  We appreciate all you do!

We are also about 2 months away from the 2020 Presidential Election.  Some of you may or may not know, I come from a political background.  My dad and sister were both elected officials (my sister at one time was the youngest elected official in Arizona at the age of 18), so growing up around political always sparked an interest in me. In 2007, I came to Phoenix to intern for U.S. Congressman Ed Pastor and ended up working for his district office for 3 years. It is important to exercise our right to vote as Americans.  This year is more important than ever.  If you have questions on how to register to vote or how you can help. please visit .  

Because we are still in the middle of a pandemic, we will continue to bring you events and fundraising online. As our favorite establishments open throughout Arizona, please adhere to their guidelines and please keep yourself safe.  Wear your mask, wash your hands, maintain social distance and stay home if you are sick.  There are also many places around the state to get tested.  Please do your part to stop the spread!

In closing I would like to thank everyone for supporting Reign XV.  It has been amazing to see how much love we are receiving.  Never stop believing in the power of love. I cannot wait to celebrate and be with everyone in person but for now, I send my love and respect to everyone.

In service,


Emperor XV- Imperial Court of Arizona

Happy September!

If you know me, you know my favorite season is fall/autumn. With the cooler weather, it often brings up childhood memories of high school football, bonfires, the end of the year, heading into the holiday season, the general election just around the corner, and the fresh start on the horizon. I couldn’t think of a better metaphor for 2020 and the changes and events we have had to endure over the last 6 months. Our community has a history of being resilient and charging forward through opposition and life-threatening illness. Remember we are all in this together, it’s ok to rely on our built-in support system which is our LGBTQ+ community. I know most of us are not as active physically as we normally are, so I encourage you to get involved virtually. There are many support groups out there who meet via zoom or a similar platform, that provide some form of interaction with each other. If you are in need, please reach out.

The Imperial Court of Arizona and Reign XV has kept Emperor and I busy. In August, we had two fundraisers and also did our famous “Teatime with The Monarchs”. By auctioning off two lovely cakes made by Prince XV Allen St. James and his friend Helen at Teatime, we raised over $500.00 for the September Homeless Youth Supply Drive! The September drive is benefitting two amazing organizations; Eon Youth Program in Tucson; and Homeless Youth Connection in Phoenix. This fundraiser is being spearheaded by our lovely Princess Royale Eva Angelica Stratton who resides in Phoenix, and Marquis XV Louis Granillo and Marquesa XV Diva who both reside in Tucson. Great job so far you three, we are off to a wonderful start! You can find out what items are in need and/or donate monetarily at

I also want to give a big shout out to Marquis and Marquesa for hosting their virtual game show Gay-4-Play. Their creative quirky way of raising funds for our September supply drive was so much fun to watch, thank you to all who participated!

September also brought a fantastic fundraiser that benefited RipplePHX titled ‘Oh for The Love of Glee.” If you are a fan of the FOX series, I am sure you got your fix of this brilliant and missed show produced and created by the uber talented Ryan Murphy. Thank you to Count XV Michael Fairchild and Countess XV Serra Tonan for a great production! You two hit it out of the park by enlisting entertainers from not only our realm, but sister realms out of state. I know this was no easy feat, wonderful job raising $470.00 for RipplePHX!

Create your ripple around HIV awareness, and visit RipplePHX on Facebook to sign up for their weekly Mail Order briefs, participate in their virtual game Loteria, and volunteer to assist in their mission of flooding phoenix with the love, tools and information needed to lessen the impact of HIV in each of our lives, regardless of status.

I had the honor of participating in a commercial and photo shoot for and Poder Latinx’s Drag Voter Squad, which focuses on encouraging and providing necessary information for individuals who are eligible to vote in the general election. Thank you, Duke XV Edward Michael, and Miss Gay Copper City America Sicarya Seville for enlisting Emperor and I in the campaign. Also, a big shout out to photographer extraordinaire, David Martinez of Dallas TX, I can’t wait to see your magic!

I want to leave you with this final thought. With the pressures of society, our president and our local government not being the best support for our community, I encourage you to reach out to someone to ask if they need anything. It doesn’t have to be financial assistance, but just a little love, kindness, and thoughtfulness, goes a very long way.


Stay safe Arizona, wear a mask and follow the guidelines, and have a lovely September!

In Love,

Nikki Knowles

Empress XV

Community Spotlight

Sicarya Seville


Sicarya has made quite the name for herself during her involvement in the artform of Female Impersonation in the state of Arizona. She has captured two prestigious titles: Miss Gay Queen of the Desert America ’19 and is the reigning Miss Gay Copper City America. In June 2019 she placed 1st alternate to Miss Gay Arizona America on her first attempt at the sought after crown, earning her a spot at the national contest Miss Gay America in October 2019 where she wowed the large crowd with her powerful talent presentation. 


Sicarya currently serves as the Arizona State Director for Poder Latinx at Tides, a non-profit organizations whose mission is to build a political wave where the Latinx community plays a key role in the transformation of our community. Sicarya stays very busy being involved in many causes including the for resources assisting undocumented LGBTQ+ individuals. You can also find her promoting Drag Voter Squad, a local project with, whose goal is to assist with getting out the vote in the LGBTQA+ community! You may also see her lending a hand with various organizations in the valley including the ICOA! 


Thank you Sicarya for the amazing work you do in our community and abroad!

ICOA Member of the Month

Ricky Sedillo


If you have been involved with the Imperial Court of Arizona over the last few years, chances are you have spoken or attended a fundraising event with Ricky, or sometimes Contessa depending on how spicy she feels that day. Ricky is no stranger to community involvement as he currently is the secretary for Fierce Friends of Phoenix. Fierce is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that is a fun and inviting LGBTQ+ social group based out of Phoenix AZ, whose focus is to bring the community together as one.  


Ricky’s involvement and support for the ICOA has not gone unnoticed. He hasn’t been invested in a line but that hasn’t stopped him from being very active within our organization. His dedication to attending every monthly board meeting, fundraisers via in person or virtual, and supporting all of our causes,  falls directly in line with our very mission, raising one dollar at a time from the heart, through the court, for the community. Thank  you for your dedication to the ICOA Ricky! You are World Class.  

Meet A Monarch

Sophia Sinclair- Empress XI


1) What attracted you to join the Imperial Court of Arizona? 

 Lady Christian, Empress XI, invited me to be part of her line. I didn't really know too much about the court or what it did. I have been part of the court since and have stayed because of the friendships I have made, the fun I have had, and the great work we as an organization do for our community.

2) During your reign as Empress, what was one your most memorable events/fundraisers?

Every event was special in its own way. SeaJay (my Emperor) and I are comic/superhero/classic horror fans, so we thought having that theme for our events would be fun. Some included "Fangtasia", "A Formal Night on the Cruise Ship Enterprise" and "Return of the Chocolate Cherub, When Marshmallows Attack".

3) What do you hope for the future of the Imperial Court of Arizona?

For the future I hope the court continues the thrive and grow. To gain more members, reach out to further parts of Arizona, and raise more monies for hard working charities.

4) If you could give one piece of advise to the new monarchs, what would it be?

My advice is to remember that you cannot make everyone happy. This is your reign, your year, complete the goals that you have set for yourself and leave your mark.

5)If you could have done anything differently during your reign, what would you have done, and why?

I wish I would have lived in the moment more, enjoyed each event and each meeting, and didn't let the negativity that sometimes comes with a crown affect me

KUWTM- Episode 1I

August 2020

From the Desk of Empress XV

 Nikki Knowles

From the Desk of Emperor XV

Carrington Hall Dubois


Happy August 2020!  

It is hard to believe we are half way through 2020.  So much has gone on in these last 7 months and I know we are all wanting to get back to some sense of normalcy, we will get there.  We just have to work together toward that light at the end of this long tunnel.  

Reign XV has been busy raising money and navigating through this "new normal".  We were able to hold our first line meeting in early July.  It was amazing to "see" everyone and to hear so much passion in the voices of our line member.  They are excited and ready to hit the ground running.  Be on the lookout for a few events, starting in September, hosted by our line!

The whole month of July was focused on raising money and supplies for our Reign XV Back to School Supply Drive. We chose two organizations, one in Phoenix and one in Tucson, to help this month. The Phoenix organization was Southwest Human Development (SWHD). SWHD's mission is to strengthen the foundation Arizona’s children need for a great start in life.  The Tucson organization was Brichta Infant and Early Learning Center. Brichta is a nonprofit childcare center that is a research-based early childhood self-paced program that builds strong foundations for student success.  During the time of COVID, they have also opened their doors to offer the childcare of Tucson's front line workers, working to help keep us all safe.  I would like to thank everyone that donated money, supplies or shared our posts on social media.  Because of you we were able to raise $5003.74 of supplies and money for both organizations!  THANK YOU!

We will be taking a little break in August but you can find me on August 15th as part of the cast of the Kings Court, hosted by Baron XV Sir Nate.

In closing I would like to take this time to reflect on the life of someone that was near and dear to my hear, Hope McMullen.  In the years I was able to know Hope, I couldn't help but feel her love, passion and support for every segment of the LGBT+ community in Arizona. She loved all of us. Early on I confided in her my nervousness when it came to being on stage.  She told me to have fun, to always be confident and to smile. It was hard not to do any of those things when you saw her clapping and smiling in the audience. I will miss our monthly dinner.  I will miss bumping into her and Gloria at the Rock, Stacy's, Kobalt or wherever else they would be. Her laugh, her smile, her personality will live in my heart forever.  Thank you truly left an impact some of us only hope to achieve.  I will miss you.

Please remember to love everyone. Black Lives still matter. Register to Vote. Wash your hands and Mask Up AZ!

In love and service,


Emperor XV

Hello Arizona and beyond,

As I am writing this, I am reminded of something my grandpa told me when I was growing up. He would say to me that the most beautiful way to start and end the day is with a grateful heart. I don’t know if he was quoting someone, he never said, but it stuck with me my entire life. Each day I still find myself thinking of the things and people I am grateful to have in my life. It’s hard sometimes when it seems everything around us is falling, but I can attribute this morning ritual to keeping me not only grounded but centered during these uncertain times. This practice has also helped me stay focused on raising critical funds for the LGBTQ+ community in Arizona. It blows my mind that in just three months we have raised just shy of $13,000.00 towards our reign totals! These funds and supplies directly benefit Arizona based organizations who assist those effected by and living with HIV/AIDS, children who are going back to school in Arizona, as well as support the Phoenix Pride Scholarship, and the Bryon Wiley Memorial Scholarship. I have always said that our community knows how to rally behind and assist the most marginalized among us and that when someone is in need, we act. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who donated to these important causes!

Emperor and I are so thankful and grateful to have 40 wonderful individuals assisting us with our vision. A big thank you to ICOA members and community members who have jumped in the line to serve our community with us. Please stay tuned we have so much in store for the community, we have 9 months left of Reign XV. I can only imagine what we will accomplish together to help those in need during these unparalleled times.

A few weeks ago, we lost a dear member of the ICOA and the Phoenix community, Hope McMullen. Her and Gloria Jacques were recently awarded the Heart of the Court award by Emperor at Investitures XV. One of the highlights of my year is going to Emperor’s annual hybrid birthday celebration/New Year’s Eve party, at his and his husband Nick’s lovely home. For the past few years, Hope McMullen and Gloria Jacques attended. Gloria and I have known each other since I was 21 and Hope started coming with her to the shows and attending community events over the last few years. One of my fondest memories of Hope involves us all standing outside because someone had purchased sparklers for everyone to light at the countdown. Everyone happened to be standing in a circle looking at their sparklers illuminating the night sky and out of nowhere Hope says “Look everyone, I am on top!” It was the cutest moment ever. Thankfully the moment was caught on video and was shared once we learned of her passing. Hope I will miss you dearly, especially your hugs and comforting smile that you displayed every time I saw you… and yes my darling, you are on top watching over us all and I am eternally grateful for you. I love you!

In Love,

Empress XV

Community Spotlight

Brandon Packer


Brandon is no stranger to raising money and helping those that are less fortunate.  As Mister Phoenix Pride 2009 and Mister USofA MI Classic 2014, Brandon helped countless organizations.  

He has been a great resource and support to Reign XV, helping us by donating food for our Summertime Food Drive and by donating supplies for our Back to School Supply Drive.  Brandon's selfless acts will always be what makes him a special part of our community.

THANK YOU Brandon!!

XOXO- Carrington and Nikki

ICOA Member of the Month

Louie Granillo

Marquis XV


Quarantine has challenged us all and has forced us to be creative in ways we didn't previously need to be.  Louie, for 8 weeks, dedicated his Tuesday (and sometimes Thursday) night to bring to us Louie Live.  During these 8 weeks, he was able to raise over $700 for various charities throughout Arizona.

Louie is a brand new member to the Imperial Court of Arizona and is Marquis to Reign XV.  In his short time with us, he has already made many contributions and we look forward to seeing more creative and innovative ways in which he will raise money throughout the year.

Meet A Monarch

Jerry Heitman- Emperor VI


1) What attracted you to join the Imperial Court of Arizona? 

My husband Bill and I joined the court near the end of reign III. We had friends who belonged, and we were looking for a social outlet that we could do together, and we loved the idea of having fun while helping the community.

2) During your reign as Emperor, what was one your most memorable events/fundraisers?

Rather than choosing a specific event I would like to answer this question by sharing what is most
memorable to me about our reign and without question I’ll say it was the time spent with my Empress
Lady Christian. We started our reign picking up pieces that resulted from an individual whose
unfortunate actions left little money in the operating account. LC and I had common goals of having fun while raising money for other nonprofits and raising money for the court knowing that we’d have to
spend money to make money. We started our journey on a very tight budget and I’m proud of what we
were able to do. My Emperor’s lanyard was one that I had from a prior title and the female line crowns
were mixed and matched from tiaras that were in storage or worn previously. We had both male and
female lines, but they were separated only by title. The lines were ours and though they were small we
worked together as a team. It was like a family and we traveled together, camped together, worked
together, and had a lot of fun while creating wonderful memories and exceeding our goals.

3) What do you hope for the future of the Imperial Court of Arizona?

During our reign LC and I hoped that the court would not have a regent Monarch before reign X. I
believe it speaks volumes for the members of the ICOA that we have recently crowned Emperor and
Empress XV without having a member of the College fill either of those positions. My hope is that we
continue to grow our membership, benefit our community, and continue having new Monarchs who are
passionate and committed to the positions they hold.

4) If you could give one piece of advise to the new monarchs, what would it be?

Seek feedback from members of the College but make the reign your own! Decide what you want your
legacy to be and make it happen. The challenge will be doing it while respecting the traditions of the
court and honoring the bylaws and policy and procedures of the organization.

5)If you could have done anything differently during your reign, what would you have done, and why?

I cannot live in or change the past. We had a great year, met our goals, and made many new friendships
that will last a lifetime. Time has healed the hiccups that once bothered me and given me the
opportunity to look back and chuckle. It was a wonderful journey spent with my husband Bill Mitchell
and best friend Tom Bledsoe. I had an amazing Empress that will always hold a special place in my heart.
I wouldn’t change a thing.

In Memoriam

Hope McMullen


Hope was born and raised in Milford, Maine and graduated from Old Town High School.

At the age of 23, Hope married Jimmy and traveled with him as his work took them all over the country. After Jimmy’s death, Hope moved to Florida; and at the age of 55, she went to back to school to become a Pharmacy Tech. It’s never too late!

Hope loved going on cruises; and since she lived a few miles from Port Canaveral, she got a lot of last minute deals.

When she had enough of hurricanes, she moved to Arizona at the age of 75.

On her first Saturday (10 o’clock, never 10:01) in Arizona, Hope saw her first Drag Queen; and she soon became a big fan of Drag Shows and Pageants, and made many friends.

Hope was also a collector….of shoes and purses (Gloria is still counting them!)

Hope was preceded by her husband Jimmy McMullen, her mother Myrtle Sherman, and her brothers Tom and Charlie.

She is survived by her sister Gloria, her brother Toby, many nieces and nephews, and her extended Gay-dopted family.

Did I mention that Hope enjoyed a Margarita (or 2), a Whiskey-Water (or 2), and of course her Guinness?

Hope was loved by many and will be dearly missed by all!

KUWTM- Episode 1

July 2020

From the Desk of Empress XV

 Nikki Knowles

From the Desk of Emperor XV

Carrington Hall Dubois

Nikki headshot.jpg

Greetings everyone!

Today I am writing to you as Empress XV of the Imperial Court of Arizona! Wow I am really Empress (if you could see my face right now, I am smiling so big lol). It still boggles my mind that I made this happen with everything thrown at us over the last few months. I would be remiss not to mention a huge thank you to the entire state of Arizona, and everyone who voted for me to be put into this leadership position. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for your love and belief that myself, as part of a team, could help move this organization forward during the times we are facing today. I promise to dedicate my entire year fulfilling the promise I made to you while I was campaigning, which was to ensure my line of succession included every facet of our beautiful LGBTQIA+ community working together to change our world one dollar at a time.

I have completed my first month as your chosen monarch, and what a roller coaster of a month we had. After Emperor and I were voted in on May 2nd my brain started clicking immediately on how we could be most effective without a full line invested and our entire city and state quarantined. Not only did we find ourselves struggling to stay healthy and to keep COVID-19 out of our bodies, the injustices and institutionalized racism faced daily by our black brothers, sisters, and friends took priority for everyone, as it should have. I took and continue to take the time to evaluate my thoughts, outlook, and look in the mirror, evaluating how I could help the BLM movement and become a better ally. By making a pledge to myself to do the work to ensure black lead and operated charitable organizations remain a top priority as we fundraise this year, I am more than ready to charge forward. With this at the forefront of our mind Emperor and I participated in Phoenix Rises, a fundraiser for Drinking Gourde Farm and Finding my Shoes. We kicked off reign XV with two more fundraisers, our Summertime food drive for The Joshua Tree Feeding Program, and Healing Pride Wreaths benefiting the Phoenix Pride Scholarship. These two fundraisers will sunset later this week, and we will have an update. Look for many exciting, new and fresh fundraisers this reign!

On June 20, 2020 we invested 40 line-members into our line of succession, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for Arizona. I will go on record as saying Arizona has some of the brightest and hardest working individuals in the country when it comes to raising money for charity, and I am so honored and proud to be leading this group of amazing individuals. To the Empress’s line, let’s let them have it this year! Onward and upward team!

Thank you for tuning into the first episode of Keeping up with the monarchs! I am thrilled and honored to have the platform to come to you every month via our monthly newsletter. Emperor Carrington Hall-Dubois and I have so much in store for you this year, please be sure to stay tuned. Please don’t forget to #MaskUpAz and pretty please, be safe and responsible. All we have are each other and we need everyone to be there with us when this is over.

In Love,

Nikki Knowles

Empress XV of The Imperial Court of Arizona

Happy July!  

I can’t believe it has been about 2 months since I was elected Emperor XV of the Imperial Court of Arizona.  What a fun and interesting experience it has been so far.  Because we are in the middle of a pandemic, things have been operating a little differently.  We have been forced to think outside of the box and to creatively design fundraisers and virtual experiences for our community.  We had the first event of our reign, the Bryon Wiley Memorial Scholarship Fund Jewelry Raffle where we raised $1405 for the scholarship.  Shout out to Emperor II Michael Gaffney for keeping the spirit of Bryon alive though this scholarship!

Empress and I kept pretty busy in the month of June. We started the month with two fundraisers that would last the entire month.  The first was “Healing Wreaths for Pride” which benefited the Phoenix Pride Scholarship fund.  Being a former Mister Phoenix Pride, I know the impact this scholarship has on the recipients and so I was honored to give back in this capacity.  Thank you to everyone that purchased your one-of-a-kind Healing Wreath.  Special THANK YOU to my sister Jennifer who helped create some amazing wreaths!  We raised $900 and I couldn’t be happier!

We also launched the Summertime Food Drive campaign to benefit the Joshua Tree Feeding Program. We asked the community to gather non-perishable food items and Empress and I drove around the valley picking up these donations.  Thank you to those that donated food and those that made monetary donation.  We will be delivering these items to Joshua Tree soon and will update you all on how much food was gathered and how much money was raised!  

On June 19th, Empress and I were honored to be part of Phoenix Rising raising money for Finding My Shoes and Drinking Gourd Farms.  Entertainers from throughout the valley came together to raise money for these two incredible organizations.  Collectively we raised $3000! Thank you to Ike and the staff at VX3 for letting us use for your lovely space.  Shout out to Princess XV Barbra Seville and Mia Inez Adams for keeping us all on track and hosting this event. 

June 20th was our first State event, Investitures XV.  We held this event virtually and some of us were able to be in person at Kobalt bar, as they agreed to hold this private event for us.  Nikki and I invested the line for Reign XV and helped welcome some new members to the organization.  I was also honored to name the Spirit of the Court award to Michael Fairchild and the Heart of the Court award to Hope McMullen and Gloria Jacques!  When we were crowned, Nikki and I met and decided to pick a line that was diverse but also had a creative spirit.  We knew we wouldn’t be able to be successful unless our line was able to hit the ground running.  Please be on the lookout soon for some amazing events brought to you by Reign XV!  THANK YOU to Jeffrey Perales and the staff at Kobalt for keeping us safe and well hydrated!

July is going to be a busy month!  I am excited and honored to help the organization grow and prosper.  As we head into the second half of 2020 remember these things:  #BlackLivesMatter, #MaskUpAZ, #Vote and we are #StrongerTogether

In service,
Carrington Hall-Dubois
Emperor XV of the Imperial Court of Arizona


Community Spotlight

Addie Tude


Addie is a member of the Grand Canyon Sister of Perpetual Indulgence. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Addie has been sewing masks for people throughout the community.  The proceeds of these masks have benefited Joshua Tree feeding program.  

Sister Addie Tude also received The International Betsy Ross Citation from Empress Nicole the Great, Queen Mother I of the Americas and Empress Nicole the Good, Crown Princess Royal I of the Americas to commemorate dedicated service to the community!

The Imperial Court of Arizona and Reign XV would like to thank Sister Addie Tude on being an amazing community leader!


ICOA Member of the Month

Anneliz and Jaime Ahumada


Anneliz and Jaime are long time members and supporters of the Imperial Court of Arizona.  Their involvement began in Reign X and they have been active members ever since.  Anneliz is currently the on the Imperial Court of Arizona board serving as treasurer.  You can see Jaime helping at various events throughout the year.  The Imperial Court of Arizona and Reign XV would like to thank Anneliz and Jaime for all their dedication and years of support!

Meet A Monarch

Julie Craig- Empress II


1) What attracted you to join the Imperial Court of Arizona? 

Prior to Moving to Arizona I had been elected as the First Empress of The Imperial Court of Minnesota in 1990.

I met Michael Gaffney in June 1993 at my first out of town Coronation in Omaha, Nebraska. He had been crowned as Prince Royal 13 of the Imperial court of Nebraska

I moved to Arizona August of 1994 after marrying Michael Gaffney in May 1994

After we had settled in and we got involved with the Phoenix community, we met Joe Kunkle and Steve Lafata.

They had both been involved in other out of state Courts and wanted to start one here in Phoenix.

They were then elected as the first Emperor and Empress of the Imperial Court of Arizona.

The following year, Michael and I ran and became Emperor and Empress 2.

We traveled extensively to other Coronations and met many wonderful people.

2) During your reign as Empress II, what was one your most memorable events/fundraisers?

The most Memorable event, for me, was the Empress’s Black and White Ball held at Kobalt. I had performers from in and outside of our Court performing. It was fun to have everyone in Black And White and to be entertained by so many different people and groups.

3) What do you hope for the future of the Imperial Court of Arizona?

My hope for the future is to continue our mission of fundraising, build our membership and reach out to other organizations.

4) If you could give one piece of advise to the new monarchs, what would it be?

My advice to the new Monarchs is to have fun! You have each other to lean on in case things get overwhelming, and also the College of Monarchs and your Board of Directors. And Me – of course.

5)If you could have done anything differently during your reign, what would you have done, and why?

The only thing I would have done differently is to have been more organized and stayed ahead of the planned events to make things went smoothly.

But once all is said and done – you have a Celebration of all you’ve accomplished.

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