Winners of the Dawn Look-alike Contest:
From Left: Trisha Buchwald, 3rd place; Milicent Olvey, 1st place; Joseph Michael Linsner; Dawn Emannuelle, honorable mention; Amanda Wolf, 2nd place.
Surrounded by a bevy of flame-tressed Dawn look-alikes, we were impressed by the variety of interpretations of the popular Joseph Michael Linsner character. Dawn, the goddess, the woman, is resplendent in her myriad incarnations in Linsner’s comic series, but in 3-D life, re-imagined by women who are inspired by who she is and what she stands for, she is nothing short of breath-taking. Or maybe it was just all the cleavage and corsets.
The first Dawn we met was 1-year-old Pandora, toddling the backstage rounds and drooling on her rose. She was a vision of aplomb and confidence. Other contestants—suffering from sporadic bouts of stage fright—perhaps envied her composure, although overall, the reigning attitude was one of cool assurance. As contestant Jamie Clark eloquently stated: “I’m a goddess, I’m not nervous.”
Janith Haber, adorned with elaborate Dawn tattoos—full Technicolor images of the weeping redhead and her god-consort beau along one leg and up one arm—impressed us with her dedication to Linsner’s goddess. Amber Baldwin, with her white, feathered wings sweeping in a delicate scaffolding past her knees, sparked commentary and discussion about wings-as-accessories and the complexities intrinsic to the practice thereof. But Sheri Flyte took the cake, the wedding cake that is, when she revealed that her Dawn ensemble had premiered on a different occasion, her wedding day.
We asked Traci Carter, last year’s reigning Dawn, how she felt, poised on the brink of passing on her symbolic rose and chain. She exclaimed, quite emphatically, “not happy!” But with a lovely smile, she was quick to praise the contestant’s camaraderie and graciousness. We witnessed contestants reassuring each other and helping with crucial wing adjustments. Dawn herself would have been proud.
During the competition, master of ceremonies Anthony Daniels sparkled with cleverness, wit, and lasciviousness. He seemed genuinely touched to receive the Guest of Honor award, presented while the judges were in deliberation. Afterwards, when asked how he felt about his emcee duties and the Dawn competition, Daniels stated with a laugh that being in front of Dragon*Con fans was like being with friends—“rather naughty ones.” Yep, that’s us. Congratulations again Mr. Daniels.
Photos by Dean Ansley
Congratulations rightfully belong to all the contestants. In the end, it’s not about the winners. Getting up on that stage in and of itself is a triumph.