Yin Yang night club holds annual Miss Gay City of Columbia pageant

Makeup, music and Mad Hatters were all on display at the annual pageant.

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The Miss Gay City of Columbia America 2020 pageant was held at Yin Yang Night Club on Friday. The drag pageant was a preliminary to Miss Gay Missouri America 2020, which is a preliminary to Miss Gay America 2020, the oldest national drag pageant in America. This year’s theme was Diamond and Pearls. Two queens, Amanda Lay and Venus O’Hara, competed for the title of Miss Gay City of Columbia. The runner-up would also be going to Miss Gay Missouri as an alternate.

The event began with a group of former Miss Gay City of Columbias lip-syncing to Rihanna’s “Diamonds.” After the number, last year’s Miss Gay City of Columbia, L’Oreal, spoke on her love of the community.

“Through the years all these girls have supported me,” L’Oreal said. “I’m so glad to be a part of this community.”

The pageant saw the queens competing in Male Interview, Evening Gown, Questions and Talent portions. The queens were interviewed outside of drag earlier in the day for the Male Interview portion.

The first event of the night was Evening Gown. Lay wore an emerald green backless dress, and O’Hara wore a long, thin silver gown.

After that was the Questions portion. When asked how she would improve the LGBTQ community’s relationship to the straight community, O’Hara said she would use her position to speak on queer issues publicly.

“By being an advocate and voice … speaking out at public events, being a face in the crowd and a voice people can hear,” O’Hara said.

When asked what advice she would give her younger self, Lay said she would be more open to critique.

“Accept other people’s criticism,” Lay said. “Try it. If it doesn’t work for you then don’t do it again. But always try other people’s criticisms.”

The final event was the Talent portion. O’Hara performed a “Wizard of Oz”-inspired act for her talent, complete with a checkered blue dress, ruby slippers and plush Toto . She lip-synched “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz”, and “Ease on Down the Road” from “The Wiz”.

Lay’s talent was an “Alice in Wonderland” inspired number. Lay had various background dancers dressed as Alice, Tweedledee and Tweedledum and the March Hare. They turned around a detailed background to reveal her and her Mad Hatter-inspired look, complete with a teal leotard, purple robe, curly orange wig and small top hat. She then lip-synched to “The Mad Hatter” from the musical “Wonderland”.

Audience member Orlando Smith liked to actively participate in the pageant.

“I like to heckle the acts,” Smith said. “When is it not fun to laugh at people in costume?”

In the end, Lay won and was crowned Miss Gay City of Columbia 2020. Both she and O’Hara will attend Miss Gay Missouri 2020 in late March at Hamburger Mary’s in St. Louis.

Edited by Janae McKenzie | jmckenzie@themaneater.com

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