Drag pageantry: Wikis

  

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Drag pageantry is a highly developed form of pageantry for female impersonators and trans women, styled after traditional beauty pageants or beauty contests.

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Pageants in the United States

National drag pageants became enmeshed within the gay community during the 1970s, and have become increasingly prevalent since. The first drag pageants were held in individual gay bars, and discothèques during the post Stonewall era. Drag pageants evolved independently, in the decade subsequent to the first gay Mardi Gras coronations.

Miss Gay America

Mirroring the format of the Miss America contest, the first national gay pageant Miss Gay America (MGA) was held in 1971 at the Watch Your Hat & Coat Saloon in Nashville, Tennessee with Norma Kristie, state representitive of Arkansas, crowned as the winner. In 1974 Norman "Norma Kristie" Jones purchased the pageant from the previous owners and formed Norma Kristie, Inc. to run the pageant and its network of preliminaries.

The MGA pageantry system grew in size and scope over the next decade. Like its mainstream counterpart, MGA developed a system of preliminary state-wide and regional contests (i.e. Miss Gay Arkansas America, Miss Gay Texas America, Miss Gay Midwest, etc.) from which to draw contestants. Female impersonators were scored in interview, evening gown and talent competitions. Later a sportswear category was added. While some of the contestants performed live vocals, dance or comedy skits; the vast majority showcased their talent of lip synching to records. In February 2005, the Miss Gay America pageantry system was purchased by Larry Tyger and Terry Eason of L & T Entertainment. Currently, contestants are judged in 5 categories: Male Interview, Solo Talent, Evening Gown, On-Stage Question & Answer, and Talent.

List of Former Miss Gay America's Titleholders

[1]

  • Norma Kristie - 1973
  • Lady Baronessa - 1974
  • Shawn Luis - 1975
  • Dani Daletto - 1976
  • Michael Andrews - 1977
  • Jimi Dee - 1978
  • Rachel Wells - 1979
  • Hot Chocolate - 1980
  • Lady Shawn - 1981
  • Jennifer Foxx - 1982
  • Franchesca Wakeland - 1983
  • Tasha Kohl - 1984
  • Naomi Sims - 1985
  • Lauren Colby - 1986
  • Blaze Starr - 1987
  • Cherry Lane - 1988
  • Vicki Vincent - 1989
  • Brandi Alexander - 1990
  • Valerie Lohr - 1991
  • Tiffany Bonet - 1992
  • Leslie Rage - 1993
  • Jacqulyn DeVaroe - 1994
  • Ramona LeGer - 1995
  • Patti Le Plae Safe - 1995
  • Kerri Nichols - 1996
  • Lauren Taylor - 1997
  • Maya Montana - 1998
  • Linda Carrero - 1999
  • Catia Lee Love - 2000
  • Charity Case - 2001
  • Sabrina White - 2002
  • Dominique Sanchez - 2003
  • Rachael Erikks - 2004
  • Raquel Chevallier - 2005
  • Nicole DuBois - 2006
  • Luscious - 2007
  • Mikaila Kay - 2008
  • Victoria DePaula - 2009
  • Alyssa Edwards - 2010

Miss Continental

As MGA grew in popularity, many professional female impersonators found they were unable to compete in the pageant due to its prohibition against the use of hormones, silicone injections (below the neck), and/or breast implants. Aside from the prestige of holding a national title, the MGA crown afforded the winner guaranteed show bookings at every state preliminary held during the title year. For the winner, the MGA crown turned what was often local, part-time work into a full time job. As many transsexual and transgender performers used drag shows as a source of income, it was only natural that a pageantry system would evolve to meet their needs.

In 1980, Chicagoan Jim Flint, owner of the Baton Show Lounge, filled this void with the creation of the Miss Continental U.S.A. Pageant. Contestants were scored in interview, swim wear, talent, and evening gown; for the finalists, an on stage question. The first Miss Continental was Chili Pepper, who has never had implants. Chili, the first Miss Continental represents female impersonation in its truest form. The Continental Pageantry System became renowned for its "titty girls," or pre-operative transsexual contestants.

USA Unlimited

North Carolina USA Unlimited, under the direction of President and CEO Jeff Reeves, has been one of the nation’s premier male entertainer contest outlets. Giving an outlet for both male entertainers of all types and male impersonators for 20 years, USA Unlimited has broadened the horizons for many entertainers. For many years, these types of contests were not a popular as the female impersonator pageants, but a recent boom in attendance and talented individuals have given a surge in popularity to these events. Annually holding in addition to the Mr. Gay USA contest, USA Unlimited also presents:
- Mr. Gay USA
- Mr. Bear / Cub USA
- Mr. Gay USA FMI – Must be female
- Miss Gay Unlimited – For female impersonators
- Mr. Gay USA at Large – Must weight a minimum of 200 lbs
- Mr. & Miss Classique- Must be at least 35 years of age.

The USA Unlimited Family is a closely knit group of people from across the country who shares a single goal. That is giving male and female entertainers the opportunity to perform and be recognized for the entertainment qualities they possess.

Miss Gay USofA

Houston, Texas based MGA promoter Jerry Bird purchased the bankrupt Miss Gay USA pageant from former MGA Jimi Dee in 1985. (Fairfield, Carrie. "Interview with Jerry Bird". http://www.carriefairfield.com/community/index.php?showtopic=14619. Retrieved 2006-08-17. ) Within a few years he took the pageant from a small twelve contestant affair to a national showcase with over eighty participants. In 1986, Miss Gay USA 1985 Naomi Sims crowned Michael Andrews. In the mid-1990s the pageant was re-named Miss Gay USofA after complaints and legal threats from Miss USA promoters, stemming from the fact that the then reigning Miss Gay USA, Coco, was promoting herself as "Miss USA."

There have been a wide range of contestants in the Miss USofA System.

List of Miss Gay USofA winners

The following is the list of the Miss Gay USofA pageant winners from 1986 through 2008:[2]

  • 1986-Michael Andrews
  • 1987-Diana Hutton
  • 1988-Tommie Ross
  • 1989-Netasha Edwards
  • 1990-Cezanne
  • 1991-Sable Chanel
  • 1992-Tandi Andrews
  • 1993-Sweet Savage
  • 1994-Coco
  • 1995-Maya Douglas
  • 1996-Natasha Richards
  • 1997-Jacqlyn DeVaroe
  • 1998-Lauryn Taylor
  • 1999-Erica Andrews
  • 2000-Chevelle Brooks
  • 2001-Erika Norell
  • 2002-Alexis Gabrielle Sherrigton
  • 2003-Raquell Lord
  • 2004-Layla Larue
  • 2005-Tamisha Iman
  • 2006-Alyssa Edwards
  • 2007-Asia O'Hara
  • 2008-Kara Young-Ross
  • 2009-Stasha Sanchez

During the 1990s, the range and variety of drag pageantry continued to expand; however the "big three" pageant systems still dominated the market. New competitions with new requirements brought a wider variety of performers to drag pageantry. Contests for plus-sized, mature and African American female impersonators became popular. Today, drag pageants like Miss Gay USofA at Large, Miss Gay USofA Classic, Miss Continental Plus , Miss Continental Elite,and Miss Gay Black USofA demonstrate the expansion of both the USofA and Continental franchises.

As with most pageantry systems, drag pageants have been rocked with scandal over the years. Accusations of rigged contests, biased judging, and power struggles between local and national promoters resulted in the spin off of dozens of national female impersonation contests.

Pageants worldwide

Gay pageants are also very popular in the Philippines; most local fiestas features one. Pageantry of all forms is deeply rooted in Filipino culture as a popular form of entertainment. Many Filipinos are fans of the extravagant Miss Universe, Miss World, and Miss Earth pageants; this fascination extends logically to drag pageants.

See also

References

External links








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