Drag Superstar Erika Norell Wins Inaugural Mz OutSFL Pageant

Erika Norell. Photo by Jay Nino.

Drag superstar Erika Norell captured the inaugural Mz OutSFL Pageant on May 18 with a tour de force performance at Fort Lauderdale’s Sunshine Cathedral Center for the Performing Arts. The pageant, produced by J&J Media and Out South Florida Newspaper and Magazine, was created to raise funds for LGBTQ college student scholarships as well as pay tribute to the extraordinary talents and community service of individuals within the drag community.

Norell has taken the world of drag performance art by storm over her storied career as her many crowns will attest, including previously reigning as Miss Gay USofA, Miss Continental, and Miss Florida FI.  Norell has the reputation for being a chameleon on stage, as she flawlessly morphs from one vaunted theatrical or cinematic character to another.

Norell appeared during the pageant as both Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Norma Desmond from the musical version of Sunset Boulevard. Norell portrayed Desmond during the talent portion of the competition and, in so doing, delivered a mesmerizing performance that spoke to not only the demise of silent screen stars but most importantly the impact of mental illness on an individual.

“We are honored to have Erika Norell reign as our first Mz Out South Florida. Drag artists are like diamonds — no two are identical. And in the case of Erika Norell, she is truly one of a kind. In any case, she is a triple threat of brains, beauty, and talent,” said Mz OutSFL Pageant Director Justin Wyse.

Angie Oavahness Pryce took first runner-up pageant honors, while second runner-up was Kimberly Venom. Camille Dior Love was awarded the Marsha P. Johnson Award. This recognition was voted upon by the pageant contestants. Johnson was a pioneering LGBTQ rights activist who took part in New York City’s Stonewall riots in 1969.

OutSFL’s Queen of Queens and drag icon Melissa St. John served as pageant co-host with Chuck King, the proprietor of The Eagle and Cake Daddy’s in Wilton Manors.

Greico Ford in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was the pageant’s presenting sponsor.

Pageant judges included Misty Eyez Alicea, Chris Rhoades, Dr. Morgan Mayfaire, Tiffany Fantasia and Valentina Rodriguez.

The pageant also boasted special guest performances by drag legends Darcell Stevens, Serena ChaCha and Athena Dion.

“Every moment on stage is a career highlight,” said Norell. Having lost her mother to breast cancer, Norell is an ardent supporter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation as well as such other charities as the ACLU Drag Defense Fund, Ozone House, Meals on Wheels, and the Jim Toy Center of Ypsilanti.

For more information or to donate to the Melissa St. John LGBTQ College Student Scholarship Fund, please visit ourfund.org or call OutSFL Newspaper and Magazine at 954-514-7095.


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Phone: 954-514-7095
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Corrections: editorial@outsfl.com

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