Photo above by BjKj Illusions
Thanks to “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” drag, the art of female impersonation, is huge. If you love drag and live in Maryland, you will want to attend Miss Gay Maryland America, a preliminary competition to the nationwide Miss Gay America pageant, to be held at the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore on April 13
Established in Nashville in 1972, The Miss Gay America Pageant is the world’s first, longest running and most prestigious female impersonator (aka drag) competition.
Since 2016, the Miss Gay America pageant has been owned by Michael Dutzer and Rob Mansman, proud parents to two drag-loving daughters, of Frederick, MD. Mansman also owns Smile Frederick Orthodontics of Frederick.
Miss Gay Maryland America is one of over one hundred city, state and regional preliminary Miss Gay America pageants across the country leading up to 48th annual Miss Gay America Pageant in St. Louis this October.
It is a limited regional preliminary, meaning only contestants from Maryland and DC and states that border Maryland can enter.
Contestants will compete in four judged categories: Male Interview (in suit and tie), Evening Gown, On Stage Interview and Talent (big production number with costumes, sets and dancers). The winner will go on to compete with nearly 50 other female impersonators from across the U.S. for the Miss Gay America 2020 crown this October in St. Louis.
For their Presentation to the judges and audience, which is not judged at the preliminary level, contestants will be asked to interpret the pageant’s “XtraTerrestrial Invasion” theme in their costume and look.
The prelim will honor the current Miss Gay Maryland 2018 Nicole James of Martinsburg, West Virginia and feature an appearance by Miss Gay America 2019 Andora Te’tee (formerly, Miss Gay Maryland 2006) of New York City, and performances by a slew of former Miss Gay Maryland Americas.
More info and tickets:
Miss Gay Maryland America
Check out the “Miss Gay Maryland America in the Community” photos on the same page.
About the Miss Gay America Pageant
The Miss Gay America system is very similar in nature to the Miss America or Miss USA system, except that the contestants are men impersonating women. It is not easy to win this title as it takes much talent, creativity, glamour, elegance, sophistication and desire to entertain, to successfully create the illusion in which the judges will approve.
Currently, contestants are rigorously judged in five categories: Male Interview, Evening Gown, Talent (fully produced stage production; sets, dancers, permitted), On Stage Interview.
With no surgical body augmentations below the neck directly related to promoting/enhancing a feminine image (female breasts, hips, etc.) allowed, contestants must rely on the skills and techniques of the art female impersonation–breast pads, hip pads, flattering clothing, wigs and make-up–to create a female impersonation that will score high enough with the judges to win the title of Miss Gay America. Read complete MGA Handbook via the About page at www.missgayamerica.com.
Contestants are in it to win it, easily spending thousands of dollars in preparation for this ultimate female impersonator competition. While some design their own gowns, others spend as much as $15,000 at houses from Vera Wang to Versace. Add in shoes and jewelry, plus fees for choreographers, props, dressers, wig stylists, make-up artists and travel and it quickly adds up.
During her reign, a newly crowned Miss Gay America can earn as much as $70,000 in cash, prizes, travel, and appearance fees. Regardless, the consensus among contestants is what matters most is not the money spent or won, but the title!
To date, over 10,000 men from over thirty states have competed for the Miss Gay America crown. •
• More and the history of the Miss Gay America on the About page of Miss Gay America website.
• To get glimpse into the world of female impersonator competition, check out the trailer for the award-winning 2008 documentary “Pageant” on Vimeo.
• Read the latest on the Miss Gay America blog, MGAZINE.
Related: The Big Heart of Miss Gay America: Pageant Owners Announce Creation Charitable Foundation to Mentor, Benefit LGBTQ Youth: Pageant owners crown Lady Gaga (photo) the first ever Honorary Miss Gay America, donate $5000 to her Born This Way Foundation, and launch the Miss Gay America Foundation to mentor, benefit LGBTQ youth.