The Daily Gamecock

Miss Outfest 2022 shares story of finding herself, competing for the crown: 'Being yourself is beautiful'

<p>Gouda Judy is the reigning Miss Outfest 2022. As Miss Outfest, she does fundraising and stands as a role model for the LGBTQIA+ community.&nbsp;</p>
Gouda Judy is the reigning Miss Outfest 2022. As Miss Outfest, she does fundraising and stands as a role model for the LGBTQIA+ community. 

The reigning Miss Outfest has always loved performing. From participating in color guard to majoring in music education in college to becoming a stand-in show director, Gouda Judy has journeyed a long way. 

“(My journey) came from a place of darkness," Judy said. "I just remembered drag, and it seem(ed) fun."

After being reminded of drag, Judy began dabbling with makeup. After practicing with it for around eight months, she entered her first competition. Judy continued competing and won Miss Outfest 2022, a drag pageant hosted by Famously Hot South Carolina Pride, on June 4.

"You bust your butt off, and you show your talent, you basically are speaking and becoming a voice for the community," Judy said, "It's about being a voice to a community of so many lost people, so many people who are strong and beautiful." 

Miss Outfest 2022 was Judy’s third time competing for the title. 

“This time I went into it with the mindset of 'I’m worthy, I’m good and I’m going to show them myself,'" Judy said. "Everything I believe in life you should be showing who you are. If you’re authentically yourself, then I genuinely believe you will succeed at anything you want to do."

Gouda Judy came out as transgender in August and said being chosen as Miss Outfest meant a lot to her.

“To me, it was about a journey, it was about showing who I am," Judy said. "And through the journey of Outfest I also came out as trans. So to me, it is who I am — it’s about being just someone people can lean on and look up to.” 

The Miss Outfest pageant is centered around raising money for the next South Carolina pride festival.

"When you win Miss Outfest or something like that, it's a cool opportunity to network and actually raise funds," a drag performer and contestant in Miss Outfest 2022, Trash Barbie 420, said. 

So far as Miss Outfest, Judy has received positive feedback especially in terms of her fundraising efforts through color stops; events Miss Outfest attends that symbolize every color of the rainbow.

"I think Gouda is doing an extremely great job as Miss Outfest," said Koko Dove, a graphic designer, drag performer, former Miss Outfest and member of the board of directors for South Carolina Pride. "She's already raised more money than all of the former Outfests combined."

Judy also participates in charity work with organizations that support the LGBTQIA+ community in South Carolina such as the Harriet Hancock LGBT Center and Famously Hot South Carolina Pride. 

“I’m more than happy to help them raise if we, as a community, are seen for the light that we do,” Judy said.

Judy produces drag shows locally as well her main show Wildcard Wednesday which she runs weekly at the Capital Club in Columbia. 

“It was mostly started to help newer entertainers grow and learn,” Judy said. “Growing the community from the foundation up is what matters.”

Judy will continue to serve in her role as Miss Outfest until the next event in June 2023.

“Being yourself is beautiful, and whether that’s gay, bi, trans, poly, whatever it may be, aim for your true authentic self, and that’s the most beautiful thing any person can do,” Judy said.