On October 6, six of America’s fiercest and funniest drag queens will compete in the Best in Drag Show, an annual beauty pageant that raises funds for Aid for AIDS, a program run by the Alliance for Housing and Healing that provides shelter and food for impoverished Angelenos living with HIV or AIDS.
Over 2,000 people are expected to attend this year’s competition, a Miss America–styled spoof where contestants will show off talents, interview skills, and their finest evening gowns and swimwear in hopes of snatching the coveted Best in Drag Show crown. Hosted by cofounder Patrick Rush, the event will tale place at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles and feature celebrity judges Holland Taylor (Two and A Half Men), Mireille Enos (The Killing), Alan Ruck (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), Bellamy Young (Scandal), and Kathy Kinney (The Secret Life of the American Teenager).
Check out the slideshow of this year’s participants and fabulous contestants, including Sash Carl (Miss California: Beverly Centre), D'Nez Westmoreland (Miss Michigan: Electra Caprice Riviera), Stephen Molinaro (Miss New Jersey: Vava Fanculo), Mike Cativo (Miss Puerto Rico: Mimi E), Dajuan Powns (Miss Washington, D.C.: Ciera Lyon), and Aron Ross (Miss Wisconsin: Misty O'Portunity).
Patrick Rush, 2013 Master of Cetemonies
From its humble (tacky) beginnings as Battle for the Tiara, in a rent-controlled West Hollywood apartment more than 20 years ago, to the beautiful Orpheum Theatre (hey, at least the theater is pretty, because God knows the contestants aren't) ... I have a long history and the great honor of being the emcee of this show 17 times. You'll laugh. I'll cry. It's better than Cats. (Though the contestants are real dogs).
None of us would be here unless Alexis Pittman started this and showed us how to do it. I will never forget him. The truth is, a drag queen taught me how to be a man.
Sash Carl (Miss California: Beverly Centre)
I think California deserves the crown and I am just the girl to bring it home. This is the most important pageant I have ever entered and I am ready. See these lashes — to die for!
As a newcomer to the Best in Drag Show, I am overwhelmed by the tremendous support from the entire community. This show is a labor of love that raises money for a great cause — Aid for AIDS.
Dajuan Powns (Miss Washington, D.C.: Ciera Lyon)
I decided to join the pageant this year because I think it needs me. At more than six feet tall — and more in heels — I bring my African heritage and beauty to this competition. While the other girls may be more voluptuous, I tower above them in so many ways.
Aid for AIDS is such a great cause that helps those who need. I can’t stand to think of our neighbors in Los Angeles going without food or shelter. If I can help by putting on gorgeous clothes and a big wig, then why not?
D'Nez Westmoreland (Miss Michigan: Electra Caprice Riviera)
Everyone always asks about my name, Electra Caprice Riviera, the three models of cars my mama tricked in the night I was conceived. I dream of being a role model for all those big girls out there. We are beautiful and we can eat anything we want. Screw those skinny bitches!
I love helping people, and it starts with one person. It starts with me. This is something people can really feel good about when they reach into their pockets and give back to the community.
Stephen Molinaro (Miss New Jersey: Vava Fanculo)
At the suggestion of my therapist, I channel my anger into something creative — my talent for the Best in Drag Show. It is going to be a mess. It is going to be Italian. And it is going to be wet. That is all I can say. You have to come. I mean it. You have to come.
Aid for AIDS has provided vital assistance to people I know. Through the Best in Drag Show, we raise some money to support those efforts and help our friends and others at the worst moments of their lives.
Mike Cativo (Miss Puerto Rico: Mimi E)
Yes, baby. I am the shining star of the Caribbean. Miss Puerto Rico is in the house! Enough said.
This is going to be a great show, and you need to join us. I do this for my friends who are suffering with HIV and AIDS. Every day is a struggle, but we can certainly have a little fun as we fight for better days ahead.
Aron Ross (Miss Wisconsin: Misty O'Portunity)
It’s my first time in the big city, and I am loving it! Growing up in a small town, I entered every pageant I could, including Miss Milking Maid, Miss Cheesehead, and Miss Dairy Farm. I never won a title but smiled through the tears at every trophy ceremony.
The Best in Drag Show is not like any other drag show you’ve ever seen. It is an unforgettable night grounded in a long history of service. We all do this with a sense of love and service to the community.
Miss Tipsy Rose Lee, Reigning Title Holder
Miss Dee W. Ieye, Color Commentator