Iconic LGBTQ+ nightclub El Convento Rico held its annual drag pageant this weekend, ultimately crowning a new winner and reigning Queen of the Little Italy spot. After weeks of contestant previews, the headlining competition took place on Sunday night and saw a new drag queen claim her rightful crown, beating out 49 other contestants for the victory. The showdown took place at Revival Nightclub on College Street and was host to an abundance of talent and unforgettable performances. Ultimately, though, there could only be one winner. Miss El Convento Rico 2022-23 is Miss Shay Dee.
About the 2022-23 Miss El Convento Rico Pageant
Each Saturday for the past few weeks, the club has been hosting a preview to generate hype for the main attraction: the Miss El Convento Rico Pageant. This year’s celebration was touted as the biggest yet, with 50 contestants (including some iconic names) facing off to receive the crown. The long-standing and celebrated pageant has been running for 30 years, since the inception of the club. The competition’s first-ever winner was Paul Mena, who performs as Nicole Batista.
Get to know the 2022-23 winner, Miss Shay Dee
Miss Shay Dee and El Convento Rico have a long history, as Miss Shay Dee started her drag career at the club. She also competed in season two of Call Me Mother, where she was adopted into the house of Harmonie before being eliminated in the second episode. She calls herself Toronto’s Latin sensation and also performs as a recording artist with So Fierce Music, an LGBTQ+ Entertainment Company aimed at marginalized music artists with their careers. Her first single, All Eyes on Me, can be streamed on all major music platforms.
About the nightclub
Owner and Ecuadorian immigrant Maritza Yumbla opened the space in 1992 when she was only 27 years old. It celebrated its 30th anniversary in April of this year, and the legacy remains: El Convento Rico is one of the few LGBTQ+ friendly spaces left in the city, especially outside of the Church Street neighbourhood. When it opened, the lively spot quickly became a staple of the Little Italy community and its popularity quickly swept across the entire city, thanks to its welcoming atmosphere and unique mixture of Latin, pop and top 40 tunes. Every night, the dancing stops for a drag show between 12 a.m. and 1 a.m., led by house drag queen Jezebel Bardot. Bardot entered the pageant in 2015, a few months into her drag career, and placed second. The rest is history, and Bardot has worked at the club ever since.