Empress Candi Samples
Candi Samples was born in May 2009 when Mario Ortega created her as a contestant in the Miss Toucan’s Contest in Palm Springs. Taking the first-runner up title, a few months later, the winner was stripped of her title and Candi was prepared to step in. The organizers of the contest, however, decided that they would not pass the title on to Candi.
Instead of taking this as a disappointment, Candi went out on her own and planned her first charity benefit shortly after, raising over $2,500 for an animal shelter. She entered herself into the Palm Springs Gay Pride Parade and over the next year, and made appearances in drag shows and benefits around the Palm Springs area and became a member of the “Glamazons” show until moving to San Diego in 2011.
Upon arriving in town, she organized a benefit for Being Alive., which led her to be one of the founders of “Diving Deep for Being Alive” – raising over $5,000 for the HIV/AIDS service agency. She was nominated for the Nicky Award for Outstanding Female Entertainer that year. While Candi didn’t win the award, that nomination put her on the map. In 2012, she was again nominated for the same Nicky Award and won. Later that year, Candi was elected unanimously as the Imperial Court de San Diego’s solo Monarch, raising over $80,000 in support of the many charities that The Imperial Court supports during her reign.
Her work earned her a commendation from then Majority Leader Toni Atkins and a proclamation from then Interim Mayor Todd Gloria. Candi continues her work, now serving as the President of the board of the Court, and continues to lend her name and talent to raise funds. She lives with her husband, James, whom she married July 3, 2013 and her dog, Moxie.