By Jef With One F
By Pete Vonder Haar
By Abby Koenig
By Olivia Flores Alvarez
By Jef With One F
By Christina Uticone
By Angelica Leicht
By Altamese Osborne
Celebrity Grand Marshal Madison Hildebrand lands in Houston.
To make a parade a success, you need outstanding floats, excited patrons and, of course, a stellar grand marshal. This year, the Houston Pride Parade will host four grand marshals, each from a different walk of life. Of the four, Madison Hildebrand is probably the one spectators are going to try to get a good look at.
Hildebrand's name may not be a household one to everyone, but his rising celebrity status is undeniable. He stars on the popular Bravo reality show Million Dollar Listing, which just kicked off its fifth season this month. The show focuses on several high-powered real estate agents, all young and dashing, and the day-to-day business of selling multimillion-dollar properties in Hollywood and Malibu.
Watching Hildebrand in action is a treat. The guy knows how to sell a house! It's not a surprise that he was chosen to be a part of the Bravo production. Hildebrand graduated from Pepperdine University and quickly made a name for himself in the world of real estate. He reached the milestone of selling more than $120 million before he turned 30. He has been deemed one of the top-producing agents in the country several times over and is noted for his charming and honest personality as well as a deep knowledge of the marketplace.
In addition to his professional work, Hildebrand is an active philanthropist and champion of social services and organizations, which has led him to take part in various causes. This year, Houston Pride is one of them. Madison was chosen by the board of directors of Pride Houston for the impact he has had on the LGBT community.
The Houston Press recently spoke with Pride's celebrity grand marshal about the LGBT community, his affection for Texas and what it means to be a grand marshal.
Houston Press: What is your connection to the Houston LGBT community?
Madison Hildebrand: Well, I have lived in Austin and Plano, so there is a piece of my heart here in Texas (mainly with Blue Bell ice cream and barbecue), but I've never been to Houston. My connection is more with the LGBT community in general. When I was approached to be the grand marshal, I was excited that it was in a part of Texas that I've always wanted to visit. Also, there is a strong real estate market in Houston, and I feel like I was an appealing choice because of my presence in real estate and also as an outwardly gay, and hopefully positive, television personality.
HP: The theme of this year's Pride Parade is "Live Out Proud." What does that mean to you?
MH: Embracing and celebrating your sexuality, not just living out of the closet but really being proud of who you are and your lifestyle choices because as we know, sexuality isn't a choice.
HP: How are you going to get ready for the Pride Parade? Anything special you want to do while you're here?
MH: I'm bringing one of my favorite and wildest girlfriends with me to Houston. We always seem to find the fun. My friends and fans have given me a lot of suggestions on restaurants and bars that I cannot miss. I'm excited to try F Bar and JR's and much, much more.
HP: It's hot in Houston. What are you going to wear?
MH: I'm still working on my costume, but I know that it will not require a lot of material.
HP: Season Five of Million Dollar Listing starts this month. Can you give us a sneak peek at what to expect?
MH: Expect bigger and better deals. Faster negotiations. Tougher clients. A little betrayal, a little champagne-throwing and a lot of fun. I feel like I've really come into my own this season, and it plays out both personally and professionally in this season. Tune in Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on Bravo.
HP: What are you looking forward to from this year's parade?
MH: Spreading and receiving the love! I can't wait to dance, smile and have an absolute blast, surrounded by like-minded and supportive people. I'd be lying if I were to say that I'm not a little excited at the prospect of meeting a hot Texan, too.
Through the Looking Glass
Wonderland Houston aims to put the Bayou City on the circuit-party map.
This year's Pride celebration brings a chance to walk to the other side of the mirror. In addition to the regular lineup of the Pride Parade and various other Pride-themed events, Pride Houston has added something a little "mad" to the mix. If the idea of an Alice in Wonderland-themed party catches your fancy, you're in luck with Wonderland Houston, an all-out dance party extravaganza.
Pride Houston President and CEO Frankie Quijano saw a gap in the Houston circuit-party scene and felt that Pride was just the organization to fill the need. A circuit party is a large bash, customarily an all-nighter, that takes place usually in conjunction with a number of associated events. Some of the biggest circuit parties, such as Miami's long-running Winter Party, attract thousands of guests from around the world. While Quijano doesn't anticipate that type of crowd for Wonderland's inaugural event, he hopes it will put Houston on the map as a premiere destination for the circuit and LGBT community.
Unfortunate that we have to resort to the lowest base level of gay culture, the circuit party, which promotes drug use and sexual promiscuity, as a way to show "pride". The reality is, like everything Pride Houston does, this is all about the bottom line and making itself money. Sad.