A pageant in drag, Miss’d America upholds traditions

With Miss America contestants donning more sensible clothes, a popular annual spoof of the Atlantic City pageant, Miss’d America, feels more like nostalgia than satire.

Performed by contestants in drag, Miss’d America kept its swimsuit competition this year, even as its mainstream counterpart eliminated it in favor of a more inclusive format.

The new queen crowned Saturday night at the Borgata in Atlantic City is Ms. Adriana Trenta, also known as Kevin Swanson.

Television personality Carson Kressley hosted the Broadway-themed event, presented by the Greater Atlantic City GLBT Alliance and Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa.

Contestants competed in swimsuit, talent and evening gown events in the sold out Event Center at the Borgata.

Founded in the 1990s by lifetime partners John Shultz and Gary Hill, the Miss’d America Pageant has come a long way from the clubs on New York Avenue in Atlantic City.

“All the people that were behind the scenes in the Miss America Pageant, that did the make-up and hair for the beauty queens, would come to our clubs every night after the competition, party, and then have to go back to work,” said Shultz, recalling the scene in the early 1990s.

“They never seen the show. So Gary and I decided we would do this Miss’d America contest.” 

The Greater Atlantic City GLBT Alliance distributes portions of the proceeds to LGBTQ charities, raising more than $300,000 to date.

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