Miss Gay Kansas City Event Is Pageantry, Drag Style | KCUR

Miss Gay Kansas City Event Is Pageantry, Drag Style

Oct 3, 2013

Miss Gay Kansas City 2013, Heidi Banks, is crowned on stage at Hamburger Mary's in Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Esther Honig / KCUR

Miss Gay Kansas City is one of the oldest female impersonation pageants in the country, and this year’s competition was the 32nd anniversary of the event.

The pageant was held on a Saturday night last month at Hamburger Mary's restaurant in Kansas City, Mo. Performer Sparkle Iman was Miss Gay Kansas City 2008, and served as head judge for the pageant.

“Tonight we have two contestants fighting for the title of Miss Kansas City,” Iman explained. “What’s going to happen is they are going to compete in evening gown and onstage question and their going to do their long talent, which can be up to seven minutes long.”

The Miss Gay America Pageant is similar in nature to the Miss America system, except at this event the contestants are men impersonating women. The only requirements are that all competitors be men over the age of 21. The objective is to demonstrate the art female impersonation.

“We live our lives as men” Iman says. “And we choose to do the art of female impersonation at night to portray what we want to portray.”

The Miss Gay America Pageant prides itself on its commitment to sisterhood, expertise and quality entertainment. Throughout the two-day event, judges search for the individual who embodies that ideal champion.

“We’re looking for somebody who has the quality and the pizazz,” says Iman. “We’re looking for the overall figure, someone who can be professional at all times as well as be entertaining.”

One hopeful competitor, Heidi Banks, dressed in a rhinestone ball gown with her hair in blond curls.

“I feel that I deserve to be Miss Kansas City because I have all the attributes that it really takes, I have drive I have tenacity and I’m passionate," says Banks.

As a trained singer, Banks performed "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus for her talent category, while other performances that evening included choreographed dancing and lip singing.

While both participants have already qualified to compete in the Miss Gay Missouri Pageant, only one can walk away with the coveted title of Miss Gay Kansas City.

Announcer Loreal performs for the audience and takes tips.
Credit Esther Honig / KCUR

Around 11:30 p.m., the judges decide who will take home the crown. Announcer, Loreal, proclaims Heidi Banks as this year’s official Miss Gay Kansas City. 

“These past two days I have been competing for the title of Miss gay Kansas City and I am the winner," says Banks. "I can’t describe how great it feels.”

Heidi Banks will begin her reign as Miss Gay Kansas City and go on to compete in spring 2014 for the title of Miss Gay Missouri. If selected she will go on to compete in the national pageant for Miss Gay America.