Queen of Ireland Panti Bliss had probably the best throwback Thursday ahead of tonight’s annual Late Late Toy Show. Yesterday afternoon, the drag legend tweeted a video of her first appearance on the Late Late Show with Gay Byrne in 1996.
The appearance was part of a segment to promote Alternative Miss Ireland, a drag pageant from the time. In the video, Panti stepped out onto the RTÉ stage accompanied by Suzie the dog, who according to the drag icon’s memory, went on to place 4th in the AMI competition.
Yes, it was Suzie the dog, owned by chanteuse and cabaret star, Agnes Bernell, who was the star of the show.
Panti tweet reads: “My first appearance on The Late Late Show. I was quiet – but young and gorgeous!” In the video, we see a young Panti saunter onto national television for the first time and bless the audience with a flash of her behind.
She’s followed by Miss Tress, who eventually won the pageant that year, donning a sultry tribute to our patron St Patrick. Finally, German contestant Miss Fish walks out dressed in what is described as a “strangely patriotic,” aquatic get-up.
🤣🤣🤣 my first appearance on The Late Late Show. I was quiet – but young and gorgeous! https://t.co/SaqPTdAV5E
— Dr Panti Bliss-Cabrera [email protected] (@PantiBliss) November 24, 2022
For those that came after the prominence of Alternative Miss Ireland, it’s important to know that the event wasn’t just a drag pageant. Panti has previously described the ceremonial affair as “the annual Irish beauty pageant just beyond the finish line of culture…”
“Grabbing the traditions of Daywear, Swimwear and Eveningwear by the heels and dangling them over the Ha’penny Bridge until something falls out, this pageant embraces men, women and anything else that you can imagine; thrashing out on stage for the crown.” she continued.
Not only did contestants serve fierce and gagging looks ahead of their time, but AMI would go on to raise more than €300,000 for HIV and AIDS organisations in Ireland and internationally. It was initially intended as a once-off event in the Temple Bar Music Centre, with a third of proceeds donated to the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.
Bloody fab legs & an absolute stunner🥰
— Unshockable Soo🇺🇦 (@suscintilla) November 24, 2022
Held each year on the nearest Sunday to St Patrick’s Day, (hence Miss Tress’ stunning look) Alternative Miss Ireland transformed Ireland’s drag scene forever and Panti herself has come a long way since then.
“You definitely knew how to make an entrance!” commented a fan under Panti’s Twitter post. And they weren’t the only one to be stunned by the Queen’s appearance on the show. “You are gorgeous – woot woot!! Wildly impressed by your glam walk in those heels.” tweeted another.
You definitely knew how to make an entrance!
— Kenneth Vaughan (@Kenneth23922079) November 25, 2022
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