A live-singing drag queen and a trans beautician were crowned beauty queens at the Miss Gay & Miss Transsexual Australia International beauty pageant at the Midsumma Festival on the weekend.
Esther Rix—the alter ego of Melbourne’s Kristian Zorino—took out Miss Gay Australia International 2018, wowing the 500-strong crowd with her singing.
Nisarat Kidhatong of Thailand beat the competition to win the Miss Transsexual Australia International 2018 title along with a swag of other awards.
The two were crowned by last year’s winners, drag queen Jacqui Meoff and pastry chef Laeticia Raveena, in St Kilda Town Hall on Saturday.
Both beauty queens also took out other awards at the pageant, with Rix winning Miss Social Media, and Kidhatong receiving Miss Congeniality, Miss Photogenic, Best in Swimsuit and Best in Evening Gown.
The winners will reign for at least 12 months before handing over the titles to their successors next year at the tenth annual pageant.
Drag queen Ashley Madison (AKA Sean Glasson) was named the first runner-up for Miss Gay Australia International, and also awarded Best in Evening Gown.
The Gold Coast’s SerinnaRivera was named the first runner-up for Miss Transsexual Australia International, and also awarded Best in Costume.
The pageant attracted 20 entrants who competed in categories including themed costume, talent, swimwear, evening gown or couture, and onstage question and answer.
“With contestants from across Australia and a growing number from outside the country, many contestants are seeing Miss Gay & Miss Transsexual Australia International as a major international beauty pageant,” said Gayzha Davao, pageant founder and organiser.
“We are absolutely delighted with the outstanding support from sponsors, donors, partners, judges and other volunteers, and supporters from the LGBTQIA+ and wider community of the pageant, which has helped us grow year after year.”
The panel of judges included drag performers, designers, advocates and former pageant winners.
Miss Gay & Miss Transsexual Australia International is staged annually by Trans Angels Victoria Incorporated, a non-profit group that promotes inclusion, diversity and equality.
Contestants have to nominate and promote an advocacy of their choice during the competition, and throughout the year if they win.