Tonya Evinger, a native of Odessa, Missouri, hasn’t lived in Houston long, but she’s quickly making her mark on H-Town. “I am quick to jump in on things like the recent fundraising auction at Pearl Bar and I often work with self-defense events at my local gym,” she says. Evinger is a professional athlete so most of her hobbies involve sports in one way or another, making training her work and her play.

Helping out in the community is one of the few things that Evinger allows to distract her from her primary focus – winning MMA matches. Although she admits, “I am a regular at Pearl Bar.” Other than that, she says, “I’m either MIA in training camp or hanging out in the local bar scene with my training partners.” Here’s Evinger on all things Houston.

How long have you lived in Houston?
I've lived here for about three years.

Talk a little bit about what you do.
I’m a contractor. I do residential construction. I’m also a professional MMA fighter.

What’s your favorite thing about Houston?
I love the weather, I've moved around my entire adult life. I love to get into new adventures and I go where the training is on most occasions.

What continues to surprise you about Houston?
People. Definitely the people. I can’t tell you how many people try to convince me that there aren’t alligators here in Houston. That seriously makes me laugh out loud. I am not getting in any water that I can’t see to the bottom of.

Where is your favorite place to eat in Houston?
Los Perros, the Colombian food truck outside of Pearl Bar. They have bomb food.

What is your favorite thing to do in Houston?
I just like to chill with my friends, at my apartment or a local spot. I work hard so I like to relax and have some fun.

How would you describe the queer community in Houston?
I love the fact Houston actually has a lesbian bar. I don’t normally see one survive as long. I really only hangout in the gay community because I like the crowds with less judgment.

What is your favorite queer event in Houston?
Any event that Von Kiss is dj'ing...

What is the one piece of advice you’d give to a queer person coming to visit H Town?
Try the food. That’s the best part of Houston. So many restaurants and options!