On Saturday, Oct. 7, sequins, glitz and glamour filled the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa for Miss’d America 2017, the popular annual drag pageant of New Jersey. The hotel hosted the Greater Atlantic City GLBT Alliance’s signature event for the third year in a row, hosted by Emmy-winning television personality and regular RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Carson Kressley.
Each year, the fabulous drag show features some of the country’s hottest talent competing for the coveted title of Miss’d America, all for a good cause: Since 1991, the primary purpose of the show has been to raise funds for charity, and to date, they’ve made over $300,000 for LGBTQ organizations in the tri-state area.
Last year, Drag Race alum Mimi Imfurst came in first and won the title.
This year’s pageant had seven queens competing. They were Adrianna Trenta, Tina Burner, Jenna Tall, Sapphira Cristal, Morgan Morgan Morgan, Savannah Savanier and Pattaya Hart.
Hart ended up snatching the crown. Her talent — a lip sync to Chicago’s “All that Jazz” — was the trick that made her a stand out above everybody else, as her choreography perfectly matched the movie version and the audience jumped to their feet with thunderous applause.
Tina Burner, a runner-up, also gave a great performance of a highly politicized version of Anything Goes that featured many Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton references.
At a press conference after her Miss’d America win, Hart explained that she came to New York City from Bangkok, Thailand to specifically study the choreography of iconic dance legend Bob Fosse.
“I moved here to study Fosse-style dance and I have been blessed to have studied with so many original cast members from Chicago,” Hart said. “So many people who had worked with Bob Fosse himself, including one of my mentors, so I have learned a lot about Fosse. Chicago is my favorite movie musical and Chita Rivera is one of my idols.”
“I think the Miss’d America pageant is a great example of what America is all about,” Carson Kressley said. “It’s about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and being able to express who you are. It’s a great way to rally our community together in uncertain political times. To say we’re here, we’re queer, we’re fabulous, we’re part of this world and we love being here.”
When we asked Tina Burner, one of the runner-ups, why pageants are still important in the age of Drag Race, she said:
I feel like the pageant system is in areas that don’t really centralize in drag. Atlantic City is not a drag town. It is really more of a heterosexual town, and I think it’s really important to do pageants because it’s a live show. I love Drag Race and feel it has done an amazing thing for everybody. But the pageant system is so amazing because it’s that live, in-person experience and you can’t get that from Drag Race. There’s no editing at a pageant.
Regarding her political act, Burner said:
I’m a drag queen who has a microphone and a platform. And I think the people who don’t use it as a platform, it’s a shame. Because I do what I do to make everyone laugh and to have a good time, but I also do what I do to spread a message. So tonight, I came to Atlantic City thinking to myself there could be a lot of Republicans, there could be a lot of Trump supporters, and I said to myself I still need to do what I believe in. I want to make a difference in a wig and dress. I want to be that somebody who tries to change this world for the better.
The Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa helped raise the prize package this year to $5,000 for the winning queen.
Whether traveling solo, as a couple or in a group, OUT at Borgata offers LGBTQ travelers unique hotel packages, entertainment and special events for experiencing all that the resort has to offer. Borgata proudly supports diversity and embraces the LGBT community.