Our newly crowned Miss Paradise is a longtime beloved Jersey performer who is more than deserving of “pageant queen” praise, and happy to be one as well. Meet Miss Mancie Mandell!
Thotyssey: Mancie, hello! Thanks for talking to us! First off, congratulations on being crowned Miss Paradise!
Mancie Mandell: Thank you so much!
How do you feel?
Absolutely blessed and relieved at the same time.
It must be a wonderfully crazy time right now! Where are you displaying your crown and sash at home?
On a shelf, with the rest of my crowns!
How many pageant wins do you have now?
Technically this was my second one.
Congratulations! Do you embrace the term “pageant queen?”
I would say yes, because in this industry everything I aspire to be consists of competing in a pageant in order to get there.
You’ve competed in Miss Paradise before… how did you approach it this time?
What was different about this year’s Miss Paradise pageant was that this was my third time doing it, so I knew exactly what I wanted.
You sported some gorgeous looks.
For an evening gown I wore this cobalt blue gown that actually had looked purple after all the rhinestones were put on it. My daughter Jasmine Kennedie had spent three long days stoning the whole thing, because we were pressed for time. This year’s pageant theme was disco, so I had also dressed up as John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever.
OMG amazing! What did you do for the talent portion?
I did a Bollywood-themed talent in honor of my drag mother Victoria Famouz’s winning talent when she won Miss Paradise back in 2015.
That must’ve been amazing! A well-deserved win. So let’s go back a bit and look at your origin story… where are are you from, and how long have you been a performer?
I am from Asbury Park, New Jersey, and I have been performing for about five years.
What drew you to drag in the beginning?
I’ve always been infatuated with the idea of burlesque dancers and Vegas show girls, from what they wear to how they look. I remember walking to Lips for my 19th birthday and seeing Empress Vizcaya and Morgan Royel for the first time. I knew it was something I wanted to do, and what I dreamed one day to be. I never thought in a million years that I would personally get to know them.
How and where did you start performing as Mancie?
New Jersey drag seems challenging! Venues are very spread out, and it can get cutthroat to get gigs there. What’s the key to being a successful Jersey queen?
Have originality. It’s very easy to blend in if there’s nothing that makes you stick out from everyone else. But I also feel that applies to being a queen in any place.
What’s your favorite number to perform these days?
My “I Got Love” mix that my sister Rhedd Rhumm made me, because it’s fitting for any crowd and it has a good mixture of acting and dancing. I prefer to go for more of a sexy burlesque / drama kind of number.
Your daughter Jasmine is a rising star in New York… what’s the best advice a drag mom can give her offspring in this biz?
I’ve always taught her that the only way to rise in this industry is to stay humble. Blocking somebody else’s sunlight doesn’t make yours any brighter.
Good advice for us all! Your fellow Jersey queen Ariel Versace will be in Drag Race Season 11… are you excited to see her there?
I’m excited to see her there because from what I’ve seen in her social media, she can give the look. Also from knowing her personally, I know she has the personality for television. I as well cannot wait to see my fellow Miss Paradise sister Honey Davenport there as well.
As the new Miss Paradise, you’ll be taking over the Friday night show at Paradise from Honey in March!
Yes I am! My debut will be on March 15th… I hope you could make it!
Super exciting! Any other appearances planned anywhere… or other pageants maybe?
I’m still in debating whether I want to come back to Continental or not, because my main focus is being Miss Paradise at the moment.
Miss Paradise and the national system of Continental are two pageants that welcome trans queens to compete, but not all competitions do (*ahem* Drag Race). Shouldn’t all be pageants local and national be welcoming of amazing trans queens like yourself at this point?
They say that the form of drag is undefined in today’s modern times. They have allowed and welcomed drag to be all types of form, so in my opinion there should be no restrictions on anything drag-related.
Amen! Okay, last question: what’s the best advice you would you give to a queen considering entering her first pageant?
Don’t look to your left and don’t look to your right. The prize is straight forward. Enjoy your time, and don’t focus on anyone else but yourself. Confidence is the key to your success.
The queen has spoken! Thank you Mancie, and congratulations again!