Queens don’t just happen.

Titles like that aren’t doled out haphazardly.

Getting to the jeweled crown takes preparation, from the curled and pinned bouffant to the long painted lashes. Lips are meticulously lined in fiery reds or sanguine burgundies. Feet are carefully slid into sheer stockings and then into tall heels. And the final touch: a brightly colored gown that clings to the hips and dips in the front (while still leaving something to the imagination, of course).

Such efforts mark the difference between an onstage coronation and another year spent as runner-up.

As for contestants in Saturday’s Miss Gay Ogunquit competition, the preparation may also include some padding of the bra and a fresh facial shave. For under all that powdered rouge and sequined fabric, those ladies are men.

 

The Miss Gay Ogunquit competition invites female impersonators from Maine and away to compete for the title, the crown and a cash prize. First-timers who’ve toyed with the drag-queen idea in front of the bathroom mirror are also encouraged to gussie up and go for the title.

“The drag queens love to perform,” said E. Scott Philips, a variety artist who will be hosting the festivities as his lively alter ego, Amanda Stragg. “They love to go for a crown.”

The evening’s round of competition begins with a walk-on. Stragg, who’s hosted Miss Gay Ogunquit in years past, says she always likes to have a theme. “We’ve had a black-and-white theme, where they can come up with anything. We had a Lady in Red walk-on. People get creative. It’s a lot of fun.”

“This year, I decided to do Disney good or evil,” said Stragg. “It’s their choice: A wicked queen or a princess.”

Local judges will keep tally as the lavish Cruella de Vils and evil stepmothers or the demure Snow Whites and Cinderellas strut their stuff. Contestants will be judged on everything from hair and makeup to the overall costume and creativity.

During the talent segment, contestants will showcase their enviable abilities as singers, dancers or plate spinners. According to Stragg, anything goes. “Most of them do lip syncing. We had someone come out (in years past) and play finger cymbals. If they want to call it talent, they can come out and do it.”

Of course, pageant contestants are more than just pretty faces with the mesmerizing ability to balance tea cups on their chests. They’re ladies with ideas. They’re ladies who dream.

They’re ladies who, when asked during the Q&A round what they would do if given $1 million, might altruistically respond, “Help the poor,” “Pay off my mother’s house” or “Go dress shopping!”

“We look forward to what the answers are,” said Stragg, who noted that the judges pay attention during the Q&A to both the contestant’s response and the way she delivers it.

Eloquence is key when you’re bearing the Miss Gay Ogunquit title. Word fumblers need not apply.

But the true testament to a queen-to-be’s potential lies in a few yards of fabric.

The evening gown round is the quintessential aspect of the night, where contestants saunter across the floor in flowing frocks bedecked with stones and sparkling rings.

The judges will tally each round and choose the lady who best represents the Miss Gay Ogunquit title.

Audience members can help sway the vote with raucous cheering.

In the end, the prized crown will find its place on the head of the 2010-11 Miss Gay Ogunquit winner, who will reign over the land forevermore.

Or at least be present at the Mr. Gay Ogunquit competition over Labor Day weekend.

There’s no cover to watch the competition unfold. There’s a $25 entrance fee for contestants, and a link to the entry paperwork can be found on www.tinyurl.com/missgayogunquit.

Walking away (in stilettos and a fancy gown) is, of course, priceless.

 

Staff Writer Shannon Bryan can be contacted at 791-6333 or at: [email protected]