Without a doubt, each and every one of the nine contestants in this weekend’s 2016 Miss’d America pageant in Atlantic City came to werk! After all, competing in this type of drag pageant is no small feat, requiring a significant investment of time, energy and resources. But, it has to be said, one queen clearly stood head-and-shoulder-pads above the rest: Mimi Imfurst totally owned this year’s competition.
From the moment the curtain went up at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa on her elaborate, Off- Broadway-caliber performance of “Sweet Transvestite” — complete with live music courtesy of the Melanie Rice Orchestra, back-up dancers and extras playing the other Rocky Horror characters — the crown belonged to Mimi. Even her Sea Witch-inspired look took the swimsuit portion of the competition to the next level with its enormous plush tentacles wrap.
At the post event press conference, Mimi took the opportunity to pay tribute to Rocky Horror, which she said she was never allowed to watch as a child because her mother feared it would “turn” her gay. “It’s a camp film, but the message is ‘Don’t dream it, be it,’” Imfurst explained. “I hope that I can inspire everybody to be what they want to be and to create the change in their own lives that they want to create for themselves. If we all do it, bigger change will happen.”
It wasn’t just an eventful night for the RuPaul’s Drag Race alum. Host Carson Kressley celebrated his fifth year emceeing the event, which benefits both the Greater Atlantic City GLBT Alliance and the Schultz-Hill Foundation. Don Guardian, Atlantic City’s first openly gay mayor, was on hand to proclaim the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fashion guru “queen for the day.”
“Do I get a cash price or a car or anything,” Kressley joked. “Do I get one of the dancers?”
Last year’s winner, Miss’d America 2016 Fifi Dubois opened the show with an old-school Vegas showgirl style number, later returning to the stage to lipsync songs by Bernadette Peters and Sia. Her reign ended on a particularly triumphant note, with her long-time boyfriend proposing to her live on stage.
“It’s a wonderful event,” Kressley said later. “We remember that we can make change in our community. We can support ourselves and we can also entertain the world. I think these queens all did that tonight.”