Mimi Imfurst Snatches the Crown, but Fifi DuBois Snagged the Ring at Atlantic City’s Miss’d America 2016 Pageant

It was a night of sequence, love, stand-up applause, and an exciting display of New Jersey pride at this year’s Miss’d America. A full house of nearly 1,200 people burst into a raucous applause as community leaders, tourists, and LGBT activists showed their support for not only the Miss’d America contestants, but for the resilience of this seaside resort city that’s constantly reinventing itself and trying to move forward from hard economic times and post-Sandy tourism numbers, while simultaneously embracing its historic past. This year, though, was a celebration. It marked its second year at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa and attendance numbers that can squash the news’ cycle’s constant doom and gloom for the boardwalk destination.

Just a few days prior to the Miss’d America Pageant, Miss America said it would renew its contract with Atlantic City, showing that the World’s Famous Playground has a future to look forward to.

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When Miss America failed to take place in the city a smaller tradition also didn’t take place—the Miss’d America Pageant. The alterna-show, which began in 1993, gave boys who had to literally “miss” participating in the pageant (many of whom worked for the Miss America Pageant) a chance to show off their goods after the Miss America Pageant. The small gathering began in 1991, but didn’t take place after the show moved to Vegas. Thanks to the Greater Atlantic City GLBT Alliance and the Schultz-Hill Scholarship Foundation, the show was revived, they dusted off the old runway, and the community whole-heartedly welcomed back the queens after five years. The pageant repaid these organization with a whopping ($300,000+). With the return of Miss America of Miss America this year, the two pageants are reunited, and Atlantic City sure has a lot to be proud of.

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With the support of Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, the show took over its event center (providing more seats and a larger runway than last year at the Music Box). Writer/Director Mark A. Dahl, Musical Director Melanie Rice, Choreographer Brian Tomas, and Casting Director Hossana Da Costa also have a lot to be proud of. The jam-packed production didn’t have a dull moment, and the audience couldn’t help but to thrive off the show’s indefatigable energy. Even when a queen was running behind, Host Carson Kressley knew how to get a rise out of the audience. His in-your-face shimmering disco ball of a jacket turned to the audience for laughs often at the expense of someone in the audience! We suppose that is why he has been chosen five times to emcee, and Atlantic City’s first openly gay mayor, Don Guardian, declared him “Queen for the Day.”

The ladies competed in three competitions: swimsuit, talent, and questions. It was quite clear from the beginning who were the frontrunners. Mimi Imfurst used the swimwear to show her creativity with a brilliant Ursula-inspired costume and brought the entire room to their feet almost before her Broadway-worthy live-singing performance of the Rocky Horror Picture Show began (the curtains fell, and we waiting in antici….pation. (Watch out Laverne Cox, Mimi is coming for you). Our section was also living for Farrah Mascara’s MadTV “3 Minute Meals” skit.

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The last few moments of the show, though, served as the heart of the show. When Fifi DuBois (last year’s winner) took to the stage to hand over her crown, a video began to play of her and her boyfriend, Shane Cherry. “Is this a proposal?” we school-girl giggled to one another. And her boyfriend kneeled down to reveal a ring, and the audience went wild. Showing the real reason we were all in the room together and the importance of creating a safe space and event where love can shine through casino walls.

Image via Fifi Dubois' Facebook

Image via Fifi Dubois’ Facebook

Ultimately, Mimi Imfurst’s proved her moniker true, when she took home the crown. A not-so surprise win as she dominated the competition (“She was in it to win it,” someone snickered from behind us. “It was hers to lose after coming out in the swimsuit,” her friend murmured back.”)

It was a bittersweet victory for Mimi Imfurst who quipped that she was eliminated from RuPaul’s Drag Race twice. Overcome by the confetti, music, and love in the room, she tried to hold back her tears and excitement.

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There were no hard feelings from any of the nine queens at the after-party, including second- and third-place contestants Jenna Tall and Roxi Starr.

[Images thanks to Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa]

 

 

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