Sequinette crowned Miss Lez 2008

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Monday Jul 21, 2008

Lesbians and others from across New York gathered at the Zipper Factory in Midtown on Saturday, July 12, to participate in the eighth annual Miss Lez Pageant.

The annual showcase of lesbian beauty in its many and varied forms featured a diverse lineup of contestants and the ribald presentation of their varied talents. Village Voice columnist Michael Musto, Linda Simpson, comedienne Julie Goodman, World Famous *BOB*, Liz Dahmen of the Lesbian Overtones, Our Chart managing editor Grace Moon, and chef Josie Smith-Malave ultimately presented Miss Wild Card, Sequinette, with the title of Miss Lez 2008. Prizes included a plastic crown from the dollar store, a six-pack of PBR, and $108-all in ones.

This year's event featured six contestants: femme beauties Scout Durwood as Miss Choice Cunts and Cherry Bomb as Miss I Heart Brooklyn Girls; Laryssa Husiak as Miss Victoria; butch boi Mel Huckabee as Miss Hugz; little person Trina Rose, who won Miss Congeniality, as Miss Snapshot in addition to F to F "she-male" Sequinette.

Sequinette, who listed her interests as "big hair, plastic nails, rotten teeth, mortician make-up, and donkey shows," won with the platform, "I love platforms... I have 265 pairs of platforms!" She also wowed the judges with a chicken head/guillotine/Marie Antoinette number with props, elaborate costumes and even back-up dancers.

"All the gals were astounding (I will never forget Miss Snapshot's erotic 'Midget' dance and Miss Choice's signing of 'Over the Rainbow'), but to me, Sequinette rose above the pack with her profound love of plasticity and her amazing array of outfits," Muston said. "She shone in every category and proved worthy of the esteemed title."

Drag king troupe Switch N' Play opened the show with several dance numbers, including "Girl I Wanna Sex You Up," and the McFly hit, "Don't Stop Me Now." Many of the players passed so convincingly that my gay male plus-one had to be convinced that they were women.

Host Murray Hill followed with his trademark soft-shoe. He walked them through the standard beauty pageant categories of platform, swimsuit, interview, talent and evening gown upon introducing the contestants.

"All the gals were outstanding..."

Elena Azzoni, Miss Lez 2006 Glenn Marla and singer Sia were in attendance along with DJ Dirty Jean at the turntables. Miss Snapshot brought the crowd to its feet with an erotic striptease set among (and on top of) boxes built to represent a city skyline. As Rose peeled the word "midget" off her chest, one letter at a time, a deluge of confetti rained down as she writhed atop an overturned skyscraper, creating some unforgettable aesthetics.

Miss Victoria was utterly charming as Poconos swinger "Mrs. Lizabeth V. Toozles," determined to "make Miss Lez a misses. without marriage," saying, "I realized that by reaching out to the community and sleeping with an amazing amount of people, I had slept my way to my own top. I had become a misses without marriage! And I'm gonna ask you tonight, who needs the party and the wedding cake, who needs the approval of the religious, gender-binary, hetero-normative institution?" She later performed a headstand in crotch-less pants with a bedazzled dildo poking out.

"This year, every contestant was stellar, I don't think I can choose a favorite," Hill said. "But, I will say, Miss Victoria had me in stitches, and her performance for talent was a great plug for the Victoria party, if you know what I'm saying."

As is the wont at past events, the rubric for determining winners is markedly different from that of typical beauty pageants. Femme beauty Scout Durwood, a.k.a Miss Choice Cunts, who originally sought to compete in the Miss America pageant but aged out by several months, put forth a stellar turn that would have guaranteed awards at any mainstream beauty pageant. However, F to F "she-male" Sequinette added to her presentation that unique blend of high camp, pageantry, and self-effacing humor that has proven invaluable in winning the Miss Lez Pageant.

"All the contestants were fantastic and the final vote was very close, but I think Sequinette pulled ahead based on her incredible costumes and her trippy talent extravaganza," Simpson, who has judged the pageant for the past seven years, said.

Similarly, the bold stylings of pint-sized Miss Snapshot secured her Miss Congeniality award-much in the same way that Miss Lez 2006 Glenn Marla-a plus-sized tranny go-go dancer-won with the platform, "Back fat is the new cleavage," and an elaborate dance choreography performed in a full-body Spandex jumpsuit.

More than mere beauty, winning the Miss Lez Pageant requires a willingness to celebrate aspects of oneself that society might consider undesirable. The event, which emerged from the Slipper Room on the Lower East Side in 2000, the pageant brings LGBT New Yorkers together each year for a special evening of risqu? performance, high humor, and the public recognition of the contestant who most embodies the lesbian sensibility. Hill said the contestants' diversity continues to grow. He described them as queer core, boi, shim, intersex, gender variance, womyn, trans and F to F trannies.

"My favorite part of the evening was seeing the community come out at large and really seeing the incredible diversity the queer scene has," Hill said. "The audience and the contestants represented true [New York]-a melting pot for everyone!"

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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