Miss Gay Ohio America 2017 is also a fierce competitor in tennis and movie trivia

Valerie Taylor has been performing the art of female illusion for more than two years in Columbus, Ohio and other parts of the state. She's originally from Parkersburg, West Virginia and graduated from Concord University in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in broadcasting journalism.

After graduating, she did six years of on-air television reporting before moving to Columbus in 2011 for a job as an IT communications manager at JPMorgan Chase where she is known by her boy name, Velden Benton Linn III. Valerie is honored and humbled to represent Miss Gay Ohio America 2017 and will be competing for Miss Gay America in October in New Orleans. Here are some of her favorite things.

Tennis

Valerie has played tennis her entire life. She earned a tennis scholarship in college, which helped pay for school, and she's now the captain of two city-wide tennis teams (Greater Columbus Tennis Association and United States Tennis Association). She is passionate and competitive on the tennis court and goes all out to win for her teammates.

Food

Valerie loves traveling to parts of the city to sample good food. From Indian, to Mexican, to Italian, she loves sampling different cuisines. Some of her favorite restaurants include Spaghetti Warehouse, Cumin Indian Restaurant and Momo Ghar (authentic Nepal and Tibet food).

Movies

Valerie is a total movie buff. Ever since she was young, she's always loved letting her mind escape into the story being presented on screen. You can often find her at a Marcus Theatre on Tuesdays for five-dollar movie specials, and she loves competing in movie-trivia challenges. Her favorite movie of all time is “Big Fish.”

Hollywood Casino

When Valerie isn't performing on a Friday night, one of her favorite hobbies is going to Hollywood Casino with her friends. Win or lose, she loves the lights, sights and sounds of the casino. Her favorite game at the casino is blackjack.

Running

Valerie is extremely passionate about staying fit and healthy. One of the ways she does that is by running. To date, she's completed eight half-marathons, one full marathon and a Tough Mudder. There's nothing like a runner's high!