Politics onstage and backstage at the first Miss’d America pageant of the Trump era

From left: Miss’d America runners up Sapphira Cristal and Tina Burner; Greater Atlantic City GLBT Alliance president Richard D. Helfant; Miss’d America 2018 Pattaya Hart. Photo: WilsonModels

It’s beginning to seem like almost everything this year needs to be contextualized as “the first [insert event here] of the Trump era,” and that includes drag pageants. Several contestants in this weekend’s 2017 Miss’d America Pageant took on the president, whose notorious Atlantic City dealings were at least partially responsible for the city’s hard times, in politically charged performances.

Reigning Miss’d America 2017 Mimi Imfurst started off the show at the Borgata—one of the few hotel-casinos to not just weather Atlantic City’s tough times but thrive in recent years. Descending from on high dressed as Lady Liberty, the Drag Race alum sang a tongue-in-cheek version of Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American” which she dedicated to Melania, leading into Green Day’s “American Idiot.”

Mimi Imfurst - Miss'd America
Photo: WilsonModels

“Oddly, the number wasn’t about Trump so much as it was about America as a whole,” Imfurst said later. “[‘American Idiot’] was more about how the levels of hatred, stupidity, bigotry, and tension have been turned up so high that we can barely function.”

“We’re all a part of the problem. Trump just added fuel the fire,” she added.

Mimi Imfurst - Miss'd America backstage
Photo: WilsonModels

“If anyone is going to stand up to Trump, its going to be drag queens. He’s loud and abrasive—this is our battleground.” said Imfurst, who performed her final number as Miss’d America dressed as a bloody Carrie, singing “Creep” by Radiohead. “We must be the satirical mirror that pushes back against the electric noise that is the Trump machine. Now isn’t the time for basic drag. We have to push, push, and push some more. We inspired a riot in 1969 and now we must inspire a revolution.”

Tina Burner - Miss'd America 2017
Photo: WilsonModels

Mimi wasn’t the only queen to take on Trump. During the talent portion of the competition, New York’s Tina Burner set her performance to a mash-up of “Anything Goes” and the most audacious video clips and audio gaffes from the 2016 campaign. Later in the show, she also described the color of her evening gown as “Democratic blue.”

Tina Burner - Miss'd America backstage
Photo: WilsonModels

“I do what I do to make people laugh and have a good time, but I also do what I do to spread a message. And I’m lucky to have that platform,” tonight I came to Atlantic City thinking there could be a lot of Republicans here. There could be a lot of Trump supporters here. But I thought to myself, I want to do what I believe in.”

Check out more photos of the 2017 Miss’d America contestants backstage and onstage below.