Kiwi drag queens smash Guinness record
Tue, 24 Jul 2012 11:54a.m.
By Craig Hoyle
A beauty pageant with a twist broke a Guinness World Record in Auckland on Saturday night.
The Queen of the Whole Universe (QWU) show featured drag queens and drag kings, with performers representing the nation or region of their choice.
This year performers included Miss Berlin, Miss Egypt, Miss Galapagos Islands and Miss South Sudan.
Miss Spain took out the title of Queen with a fast-paced performance that included matadors and the recreation of a bullfight on stage.
Miss Vatican City was the runner-up, featuring Madonna’s 'Like a Prayer' with a set based on the Holy See and a backup chorus line of nuns in drag.
Other highlights included Miss Teen Black America’s irreverent portrayal of Whitney’s Houstoun’s bathtub death, and Miss Transylvania’s rendition of 'The Timewarp' from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
A Guinness World Record for the world’s largest drag queen stage show was set in the process, with a total of 48 performers in the opening number. Before QWU the record was held by a New York stage show held in 1985.
Organiser Jonathan Smith says the success of the pageant has gone far beyond his expectations when he first launched QWU in 2004.
“I expected it would run for two or three years, but this is way beyond the dream I initially had.”
Mr Smith says there was also a serious side to the pageant.
“It’s about community involvement, and also raising self-awareness and self-confidence within our community,” he says. “It’s also to raise money for HIV/AIDS charities, and thirdly to bridge communities together.”
The show has now raised more than $200,000 for charity.
This will be the final year for QWU however, with Mr Smith saying the timing is right to retire the show.
“We have been exceedingly successful and I want to finish it on a high, and I think it’s time to put it to bed,” he says. “It’s a lot of work, and I’d much prefer to finish it on the biggest high we’ve ever got.”
Mr Smith is not ruling out the possibility of a comeback tour though, and plans are already underway for Queen of the Whole Universe: The Musical.
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