Alternative Miss Ireland
The Alternative Miss Ireland (AMI) is an annual gay event which takes place in Dublin, Republic of Ireland on the Sunday closest to St. Patrick's Day, 17 March. It occurs over three-and-a-half hours and features a pastiche of the beauty pageant rounds inspired by Andrew Logan's Alternative Miss World, with day-wear, swimwear and evening-wear rounds. It is commonly shortened to AMI, both as its initials and a wordplay on the French for "friend". It began in 1987 and ended in 2012.
The event promotional material states: "Alternative Miss Ireland (AMI) is an annual beauty pageant that is open to men, women and animals. It is also a non-profit collective dedicated to raising money for Irish HIV/AIDS organisations (over €235,000.00 raised since 1996)."
It features on the front cover each year of the March issue of Gay Community News magazine and is the highlight of Ireland's calendar of gay-themed events. Coverage by mainstream news media is muted, possibly because it clashes with reporting of St. Patrick's Day, with occasional pieces in The Irish Times, and a documentary A Bit of the Other commissioned by RTÉ television.
The first contest was held in Sides nightclub on Dame Street on 1 April 1987, followed by a hiatus until it began again in its present form during the mid-1990s. Upon recommencement, it was held in The Red Box, POD for the first few years. It switched to the Olympia Theatre in the early 2000s to accommodate its increasing popularity. It is a fund-raising event for HIV/AIDS charities such as Cáirde and St. James's Hospital. Although open to any entrant (a dog was once a contestant), it features mainly gay-themed entrants and is commonly known as Gay Christmas since its host, Panti, used that term regularly in her opening routines.
It features entries from heats around Ireland including Alternative Miss Cork, Alternative Miss Limerick, Alternative Miss Philippines (from a Philippines community in Ireland) and the rest of the approximately ten contestants enter directly.
In 1998, Miss Veda Beaux Reves, who had just lost first place to Miss Tampy Lilette, allegedly threw her Golden Briquette trophy at the judges in a tantrum. At the 2007 contest, the host Panti was surprised by a message from her hero Dolly Parton. It is traditional that the previous year's winner does a new performance after the interval, as Miss Heidi Konnt did in 2006.
There is a large production team involved, known as the Alternative Miss Ireland Family. It was reported in October 2011 that the final pageant would take place in 2012. One organiser said, "people have less time to pull everything together".
Critic Fintan Walsh has written about the contest in the article 'Homleysexuality and the 'Beauty' Pageant' (2009).
- 1987 Miss Isle – Alternative Miss Ireland I
- 1996 Miss Tress – Alternative Miss Ireland II
- 1997 Miss Shirley Temple Bar – Alternative Miss Ireland III
- 1998 Miss Tampy Lilette – Alternative Miss Ireland IV
- 1999 Miss Veda Beaux Reves – Alternative Miss Ireland V
- 2000 Miss Siobhan Broadway – Alternative Miss Ireland VI
- 2001 Miss Tina Leggs Tantrum – Alternative Miss Ireland VII
- 2002 Miss Sid Viscous – Alternative Miss Ireland VIII
- 2003 Miss Alter Ego – Alternative Miss Ireland IX
- 2004 Miss Twirly Chassy – Alternative Miss Ireland X
- 2005 Miss Heidi Konnt – Alternative Miss Ireland XI
- 2006 Miss Funtime Gustavo – Alternative Miss Ireland XII
- 2007 Joanna Ryde – Alternative Miss Ireland XIII
- 2008 Sheila Fits-Patrick – Alternative Miss Ireland XIV
- 2009 Miss Smilin' Kanker – Alternative Miss Ireland XV
- 2010 Miss Peaches Queen – Alternative Miss Ireland XV
- 2011 Miss Mangina Jones – Alternative Miss Ireland XVII
- 2012 Miss Minnie Mélange – Alternative Miss Ireland XVIII
List of Past Judges
- Van Morrison
- Anna Nolan
- Louis Walsh
- Katherine Lynch
- Tonie Walsh
- Linda Martin
- Marc Almond
- Brendan Courtney
- Dorothy Cross
- Maria Doyle Kennedy
- Brenda Fricker
- Nell McCafferty
- Michelle Rocca
- Agnes Bernelle
- Senators David Norris and Ivana Bacik
- The Rubberbandits
- Bourgeois & Maurice
- http://amw.andrewlogan.com/ Alternative Miss World Site
- "'Gay Christmas' is cancelled. So long, Alternative Miss Ireland". Irish Times. 15 October 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-10-15.
- http://gcn.ie/attachments/archive/gcn_219.pdf GCN March 2008 Issue
- http://gcn.ie/attachments/archive/gcn_207.pdf GCN March 2007 Issue
- http://gcn.ie/attachments/archive/gcn_195.pdf GCN March 2006 Issue
- Asthana, Anushka (July 25, 2004). "Report: Gay culture in Ireland". The Times (London). Archived from the original on 2011-06-16.
- GCN March 2006, Page 12
- "AMI collective" retrieved 19 March 2009
- Walsh, Fintan (2009). 'Homleysexuality and the "Beauty" Pageant,' in Walsh and Brady, eds. Crossroads: Performance Studies and Irish Culture. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.