Pray Tell is an emcee in the Ball scene, a member of the Masters of Ceremony Council, and a father figure to the children of ballroom, alongside a guidance for the House of Evangelista. A man that witnessed the repeated tolls of the HIV epidemic, he soon learns that he is diagnosed as HIV-positive, having to adjust his life while mourning his lovers' passings and getting support from his sister Blanca Rodriguez.

He finds a new hope through activism, brought to an ACT UP gathering by nurse Judy Kubrak. Pray Tell also loses himself in an unusual affair with a younger man after supporting him through his newest revelation of being HIV-positive.


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Early Life

Pray Tell lived in an abusive home, growing with a negligent mother. During his early childhood, his birth father physically abused him for his effemininate demeanor, believing the assaults would "fix" him. After his death and his mother's marriage to a second man, Pray suffered from sexual assaults from his stepfather during the nights.[1]

Blanca's Diagnosis

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Christmas Dinner

Invited to Apartment 306 for the holiday dinner, Pray questioned Lil Papi's intentions with the wrapped gifts under the tree, requesting that he dropped it from his hand. A moment later, he, alongside the other boys, ran to the kitchen, seeing Blanca and Angel toss a burning turkey out the window and laughed the situation away.

House Evangelista decided to take to an open Chinese restaurant for their dinner. The group chose to open their presents first before eating, Pray gifted a camera from Blanca.[3]

Family Intervention

During the balls, Pray had the DJ repeatedly play Love Is The Message between categories, which prompted Blanca to invite him for dinner with the House. Notably drunk, he presented aggressively, attacking and insulting the children before being intervened by Blanca; he soon explained his grief over Costas Perez's condition in the hospital, informing them that he was dying of the virus before barking that they leave him alone.[4]

Costas' Final Wishes

A Promise

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A Change in Tune

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House Showdown

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Lovers' Quarrel and Memorial

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After a time, Pray Tell and Keenan Howard grew apart, ending their relationship. Learning of his passing from pneumonia by others within the community, he, accompanied by Blanca Evangelista, visited Hart Island where his body was buried. The two view a potter's field that was being created for a mass grave of other victims of the virus before walking to wooded area, Pray placing a stone marked with Keenan's name, among the thousands, and saying a prayer.[6]



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Public Shame

Pray Tell emceed the balls, the category being French Revolution. After witnessing Candy and Lulu's display as French maiden peasants, his eyes, with the judges and the audience, gazed their eyes on House Evangelista's Elektra dubbed as a high class French queen who mistreats her servants and is sent to the guillotine. Growing upset as the display went on, Pray Tell announces for the music to shut off and the audience to silence themselves, the emcee questioning Elektra's lack of atendance at a recent protest at St. Patrick's.[6]

Friend Intervention

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Grievances and Revelations

Missing Candy

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Funeral Service

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Dinner and Change of Heart

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Jarring Collapse

Pushing through another ball, Pray Tell stood at the stage, critiquing the participants of the category. As he announced plans for the annual AIDS cabaret, he continued to sweat, experienced dizziness, and ultimately passed out onto the stage, Blanca Evangelista and others rushing to his side to aid him. He was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital.[8]


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Third Cabaret

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Vogue Nails Protest

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In his early childhood, Pray Tell suffered physical abuse from his biological father for his homosexuality and interests in expressing femininity. When his mother remarried, he experienced an incestuous sexual assault under the cover of night by his stepfather.


Pray Tell has mentioned that he has been unable to become romantically invested in his boyfriends, as every one has become a victim of the virus and passed.

  • Costas Perez: In his final hour of his life, Pray promised Perez that he would pour out all his grief for his boyfriend before pursuing the remainder of his life searching for new love and being happy in his memory. Having his body cremated, Pray planned to have Perez's ashes placed around the city, as he had enjoyed window shopping.
  • Keenan Howard: After the passing of Perez, Pray tries to enter a new relationship post-diagnosis of his positive status. During the date, he confesses this detail to his partner, who requested to know of any inquiries that could be done to aid him. Pray and Keenan hold a budding, romantic connection. After a year together, the two men separated. Pray Tell, with Blanca by his side, would visit a potter's field where Keenan's body is pressumed to have been buried.
  • Ricky Wintour: Unlike many of his previous lovers, Pray Tell was wooed by Ricky after learning of his status and attempting to teach him how to manage his illness. After one night of intimacy, the two initiate a relationship. When he becomes public about the relationship between the Emcee Council, they expressed support, but when it is revealed to Blanca and Elektra, he is given great ridicule and demands to end the relationship due to morals and fears of manipulating the young man's feelings.


  • Blanca Rodriguez: Pray Tell tends to Blanca in a maturing and often fatherly manner. Since meeting with her, the two have shared their fare of secrets and try to guide one another through their respective livelihoods.
  • Damon Richards and Lil Papi: Between the two boys in the House of Evangelista, Pray Tell, like much of the ballroom community, acts as a paternal figure to them, providing advice and support for each of them.
  • Judy Kubrak: During his final visits to Costas Perez at Roosevelt Hospital, Pray, though initially nasty and emotional, struck an acquintance with the ward nurse Judy. The two construct a caberat for the HIV/AIDS patients that rested in the wing, with help from Blanca.


  • Candy Ferocity: Pray Tell and Candy have held an antagonistic relationship between them since her failed attempt at walking a body category. The interactions between the two continued to fester whenever Candy walked a new category, Pray Tell ridiculing her attempts at performing in categories from body to dancing and voguing categories. During one incident, a judge and Candy came to a physical confrontation, while another came after rejecting to add a lip sync category for the balls. In death, he explained that he projected his envies of being a free and brave Black femme queen onto Candy, who was able to express herself more than he could.


Behind the Scenes

  • Due to Billy Porter's audition tape for his role in the series, Ryan Murphy made changes to the character to fit the actor; according to the casting director Alexa L. Fogel, Porter's character was originally a costume designer based on a person from the documentary Paris is Burning before being rewritten into an emcee of the balls.[9]



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