Miss’D America returns, with added incentive for contestants

Miss’D America returns, with added incentive for contestants

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If the name recognition and bragging rights that come with the Miss’D America title weren’t motivating enough, how about $5,000? 

The cash prize for the winner of the annual fundraising drag pageant doubled in size this year.

“Contestants spend a great deal of money to enter the pageant between costumes, transportation, dancers, make-up artists,” said Rich Helfant, president of the Greater Atlantic City GLBT Alliance. “A lot goes into transforming from a guy into a pageant queen, and we wanted entering the pageant to be worthwhile.”

Helfant anticipates up to 10 contestants will compete in the Oct. 7 event at Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa. This will mark the return of the pageant to Borgata’s Event Center, after its debut in the resort’s larger venue last year.

The show, written by Mark Dahl, will be hosted by Carson Kressley and will feature several rounds of competition, including eveningwear and talent. Miss’D America was launched more than 20 years ago to parody the Miss America pageant, also held in Atlantic City, with an LGBT bent; since its inception, the pageant has raised more than $300,000 for LGBT and HIV/AIDS causes. 

Proceeds will be split between Greater Atlantic City GLBT Alliance and the Schultz-Hill Foundation. 

New to the program this year is musical guest Frankie Z.

“He’s strikingly pretty which, in and of itself, at a gay drag show is great,” laughed Helfant. “But he’s as sweet as he is beautiful, and as talented; he’s a writer, choreographer, dancer, singer and producer. He did a show at Resorts in the beginning of the summer and sold it out. I was fortunate enough to be there and he’s very high-energy, extremely talented and has a really strong following, so to be able to get him as our musical guest adds a tremendous new dimension to the show. 

This year’s theme is “Americana,” and the current political climate is sure to be a hot topic throughout the production.

“The Miss’D America pageant has always been a platform for people to express who they are, and that’s never been more important than it is now,” Helfant said. “With all the strides that have been made in gay rights, when you look at Charlottesville and last year Orlando, our work is so far from done. The pageant is more important than it’s ever been. Yes it’s fun, but there’s a bigger message of diversity, inclusion and equality.”

For more information or for tickets, visit http://missdamerica.org.

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