Drag Star Gayleen Tuckwood Wins MELT Festival’s Beauty Pageant


MELT festival

Queensland drag star Gayleen Tuckwood has been crowned the winner of this year’s Beauty Pageant at the MELT queer arts festival.

The pageant returned this year to crown this year’s most gorgeous drag queen, drag king or transgender beauty, with contestants battling it out across three categories: Graceful Glamazons, Tremendous Talent and Costume with a Message.

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Queensland drag queen Miss Tina Bikki hosted the competition on Friday evening as a a star-studded judging panel named Gayleen the winner of the MELT Beauty crown and the $1000 cash prize.

“I need to say how honoured I am to take out first place… This will forever go down in my memories as one of my proudest moments,” Gayleen wrote on Facebook after the win.

“It was just an outstanding event and such a tough competition.

“Massive shout out too all the contestants for bringing their all. It really made me lift my game, and to all the organisers as well.”

Meanwhile, the MELT Festival’s Portrait Prize returned to this year’s festival to celebrate the diversity of the state’s queer community.

Twenty-two artists were shortlisted to have their entries displayed as part of the MELT Portrait Prize exhibition, and Joy McDonald’s entry, titled To marry or not to marry? (pictured below), was named Judge’s Choice, winning $1000 cash and an accommodation package.

“This is a portrait of me. I am a 71 year old lesbian hero,” she said.

“If I am looking a bit confused in the drawing it’s because, like many other gay people, I am trying to make up my mind about getting married (to my partner of 35 years).

“And, if we do get married, does that mean we are no longer queer?”

A People’s Choice Award is also being judged via Facebook and will be announced Monday, May 28. To vote for your favourite, press “like” on your favourite finalist on the Brisbane Powerhouse’s Facebook post here.

The MELT Festival continues at the Brisbane Powerhouse until May 27. For the festival lineup, visit the Powerhouse website.

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(Pageant photos by Atmosphere Photography/Brisbane Powerhouse)