STEP UP: Female impersonators of all shapes and sizes are welcome

What started out as a backyard game with friends has sparked one of the biggest pageants on the Cape Flats.

The popular Miss Pestova gay pageant is a platform for first-time drag queens to come out of the closet.

The next pageant is being held on September 3, and “fresh queers who love to dress up” are invited to enter to make their debut.

Miss Pestova was dreamed up in a garage in Goodwood in 2009, at the home of Barry Reid, 40.

The first queen was Avinasha Navsaria Jackman, her runner-up was Daniella Pestova who died in 2010 due to a heart attack while performing at the Pink Loerie.

Barry says the pageant is open to all drag artists who’ve never competed in a pageant before.

“When we started out, it was only 30 to 40-year-olds who entered because we felt we were too old or too fat to drag or model on a ramp, so we would settle for Miss Pestova, that made us feel special.

“We knew how much Daniella loved pageants and this is why we also named it after her. She knew all the details of the Miss Universe pageant. She would be able to tell us the type of dresses and shoes each contestant wore.”

As interest grew, the pageant moved from Barry’s backyard to Groote Schuur sports hall.

This year they’ve received 25 entries already, and the competition will be held in Ruyterwacht.

Pageant director and the 2013 winner, Wendy La Rosa, 30, from Mitchells Plain says Miss Pestova gave her the courage to pursue her dreams.

“When I entered I was a fresh-faced pageant and drag virgin. I was nervous and didn’t know I’d win it,” she says.

“Ever since I won that pageant, I have been dragging openly and entered more pageants because I gained confidence.”

If you wish to enter Miss Pestova, call Wendy La Rosa on 079 275 2282 before 25 August.