Queer people love a beauty queen. Whether we’re cheering on an archly avant-garde RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant, a catch-phrase-spewing Honey Boo Boo hopped on go-go juice, or a Miss America contestant who can’t spell her own name, there’s just something about a competition to crown the “fairest of them all” that is so camp, so earnest and so glamorous that it can’t help but demand queer adulation. So, it should come as no surprise that Toronto is about to play host to a new queer beauty pageant, although the beauty it celebrates is deliciously outside the norm.
Toronto Bent Beauty Supreme: A Busted Beauty Pageant is the brainchild of Sigourney Beaver, Cherry Piqued and Joe Blow, part of the team behind west-end tradition Steers & Queers. A gay country night in Toronto is the kind of idea that could be a total train wreck, but it’s actually one of the most consistently fun parties in the city. So how about a beauty pageant that pits drag queens against gay rappers and boylesque hunks against burlesque divas? That’s the twist at the heart of Bent Beauty Supreme; while categories like beachwear, talent and formal wear are cookie-cutter classics, the contestants are a diverse lineup of local weirdos, including James and the Giant Pasty, ManChyna, Fay Slift, Beever, Nancy Bocock, Belle Jumelles and Axel Blows, and they’re all competing for the same tiara — not to mention $500 cash. “It’s going to be a shit show,” Beaver says. “God willing.”
Taking its cue from Toronto’s infamous Miss General Idea Pageants, Bent Beauty Supreme promises to be a night of uncompromising, ravishing beauty in every flavour under the sun. Best of all, proceeds from the event are going to Rainbow Railroad, a group that supports queer refugees. What a beautiful idea!