Pride Hosts Annual MISSter UNH


Mark Garner took home the title of MISSter UNH as P.R.I.D.E. hosted its eleventh annual drag show on Thursday, April 26. Every seat was filled to capacity as four participants – Luca Mochi as Lula Lioness, Mark Garner as Granny Gloria Hole, Tage Dasrat as TeaBags, and Kayla Eastty as Grape Bind – took to the stage. Dasrat took home the MISSter Congeniality prize for raising the most money for charity.

“I was so excited to participate again in the performance, regardless of winning. I’m happy that everyone enjoyed the show. I want to thank everyone for showing up and performing. I wish everyone the best in the future,” Garner said.

Danielle Low, president of P.R.I.D.E., said that she is “so proud of my club and everyone that was able to assist with this event.” She hopes next year’s will be even more successful.

Contestants were able to pick their charity and raise money throughout the week leading up to the event. Mochi raised money for To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) because of everything they do and how much it means to him. Garner raised money for Trans Lifeline.

“The services they provide are absolutely amazing and when I heard that, I knew it was a charity I had to do,” Garner said.

Dasrat raised money for the New Haven Pride Center.

“With coming out as trans last year, the New Haven Pride Center gave me a lot of support and I don’t think I would be here without them,” Dasrat said.

Eastty raised money for You Can Play, which helps the LGBTQ+ community  by encouraging diversity in sports to make sure racial and homophobic slurs are no longer in the locker room. Eastty said she always enjoys MISSter UNH, but this is her first year participating on stage.

“I finally had the courage this year to get up on stage and try to bring light to friends that don’t have voices themselves.” said Eastty.

The show opened up with the introduction of the MC’s and contestants. Ash Chase as Dick Ryder and local Drag Queen Dandy Lions MC’d the night. During introductions, Dick Ryder asked Granny Gloria Hole if she was 68 years old. She replied, “No, thats my body count,” and the room erupted in laughter.  

The judges included Rebecca Kitchell, assistant dean of students, Ric Baker, senior associate dean of students, Kiki Lucis, professional drag queen, local drag queen Cassandra Fiore, and Professor Tracy Tamborra. During the performance, a portion of the show, Mochi as Lula Lioness, had surprises, splits, and death drops. Mochi said that he enjoyed competing in MISSter UNH and raising money for TWLOHA.

“I’m sad I didn’t get MISSter UNH but in my heart I know I accomplished what I set out to do, which was to spread body positivity and love!” said Mochi. “I’m so grateful that I was given a platform to talk about the importance of self-love.”

Gloria Hole had the whole theatre up dancing along as she taught Zumba, and later twerked with Dick Ryder. Teabags performed “Mr. Steal Your Girl” and Grape Bind performed “Girlfriend.”  

“I’ve been so glad to be apart of this show,” said Desrat.  “It shows that we are all human and that no matter who we are, we are valid and we are loved.”