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Interview gives QWU title to Miss Mexico

Sat 2 Dec 2006 In: New Zealand Daily News

Before an audience estimated at 1,700 the ultimate winner of the Queen of the Whole Universe pageant, Miss Mexico Gemyma Rakas Rrrrrr Hugio, aka Te Herekeke Herewini, was crowned last night. The drag pageant has emerged as the NZ AIDS Foundation's flagship World AIDS Day fundraiser, and appears to have settled into its new home, the vast ASB Theatre at Auckland's Aotea Centre. A mostly volunteer cast and crew of over 120 presented a glittering spectacle to mark World AIDS Day, with performers parading and performing in a range of sumptuous gowns and costumes. Though the early part of the show is subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, stage managed to produce a pre-arranged handful of finalists from the thirty five 'contestants', the finalists compete for real. A panel of judges, including sponsor representatives, new Labour MP Charles Chauvel and senior writer Matt Akersten, chose Herewini in his Miss Mexico guise, ahead of audience favourite Miss Scotland Bonnie McMuff, aka David Ross. A source close to the judges said it was a close decision but the quality of answers in the onstage interview section swung the title Miss Mexico's way. Highlights of the evening included the Pajama Parade compered by television presenter Alison Mau, with contestants presenting in generally glamorous night-attire, although Miss Canada was clearly woken too early and was only able to stagger across the stage in stained brunch coat, curlers and early morning fag. She was trounced by a Botoxed and augmented Miss USA. Extravagant individual talent sections formed part of the genuine competition, with Miss Greece dancing with massed Nana Mouskouris, and evoking both classical Greek athleticism and the more contemporary sexuality of the Grease musical. Miss France delighted the exuberant crowd with her representations of a loved-up French poodle and a line-up of cloned cancan dancers, ending with a Moulin Rouge number. Miss Scotland was accompanied on stage by authentic highland pipers and drummers and danced the highland fling, only to be distracted by the athletic graces of powerfully built Braveheart-style warriors who eventually won her heart. Miss Mexico created a Latin American spectacle with a roaming mariachi band and danced and sang her way through a passionate South of the Border romance in which her love for a studly young matador was thwarted when her man was lured away by a beautiful interloper and he was finally killed in a tragic bar room shootout. The distressed heroine momentarily pulled herself together sufficiently to conduct the audience in a vigorous Mexican wave. Noting the resurgence of HIV amongst gay men in New Zealand, NZAF chair Jeremy Lambert urged the crowd to draw on the same reserves of energy which brought so many to the now annual event to come together as a community to fight the epidemic. Profits from the night will be used by the NZAF for non-government funded HIV prevention and support work.     Ref: (j)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Saturday, 2nd December 2006 - 12:00pm

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