Drag queen beauty pageant success shows casino industry support for LGBTQ community

  • Borgata Casino hosts annual drag pageant
  • Funds raised for South Jersey’s LGBTQ charities

Atlantic City welcomed beauty queens from around the globe this week for a glamorous pageant celebrating the very best in the drag business.

This Miss'd America event shows how the casino industry supports LGBTQ communities.
This Miss’d America event shows how the casino industry supports LGBTQ communities. This picture is from the same event last year.

And where better to host the flamboyant event than the heart of the East Coast’s casino scene.

The glitzy fundraiser at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa saw Pattaya Hart crowned as Miss’d America 2018, amid sparkles and sequins galore, as a packed house celebrated all things drag. The event was held in partnership with the Atlantic City GLBT Alliance and with the OUT at Borgata travel program.

NYC dancer wins prestigious drag crown

The Miss’d America event is a lighthearted take on Las Vegas’ Miss America pageant, with drag performers from around the world invited to showcase their talents and compete for the winner’s tiara. The yearly event was first established in 1991 and it has been held at some of Atlantic City’s most renowned casinos, including Harrah’s Resort and the Showboat.

This year’s winner was Methawee Sayampol, better known as his alter ego Ms Pattaya Hart. Sayampol is a Bangkok-born dancer who resides in New York City, where he learned his trade as a drag performer to fund his dance studies. The beautiful Pattaya accepted her winner’s tiara, sash and bouquet wearing a stunning red off-the-shoulder gown. Popular drag circuit star Sapphira Cristal, the reigning Miss Gay NY USofA champ, took second place.

Fundraiser celebrates diversity and performance

The quirky competition might come with a crown for the queen, but for most entrants it is all about the taking part. Miss’d America gives the LGBTQ community a place in the world of beauty pageants, and it serves as an important fundraiser which has collected over $300,000 for LGBT charities to date.

“Anyone should be allowed to wear whatever they feel is most identifying to their style”, one competitor enthused to the sold-out crowd at the prestigious Atlantic City venue. The beauty queens also shared tales of their charity efforts and celebrated the LGBTQ charities which will benefit from the annual fundraiser. Hosts Greater Atlantic City GLBT Alliance and The Schultz-Hill Foundation will share the proceeds of the event, which will be divided among a number of charities supported by the partnership.

Borgata leading way in LGBT travel

Hosting the pageant is just one of the ways the Borgata is opening its arms to the LGBTQ community. The hotel and casino is proud to operate the ‘OUT at Borgata’ program: a pledge to LGBTQ visitors that they will be welcomed at its venues.

As well as offering special travel packages and discounts, the casino partners with the Greater Atlantic City GLBT Alliance to host exclusive events and raise money for charities.

The casino brand is also known for its support of employees who identify as LGBTQ, receiving awards in 2016 and 2017 from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation as one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality”.

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