Inner Beauty Pageant celebrates what’s on the inside

The Brooklyn Paper
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Lorelei Ramirez may have entered a pageant to find “New York’s finest warm-hearted oddballs” — but don’t call her “quirky” or “weird.”

The Greenpoint resident expresses disbelief that anyone would use those words to describe her — right before she rattles off her talents, which include making little boy voices, and turning off the lights and touching people.

“I just like to mess with whatever time I am given,” said Ramirez, who is a comedian and performance artist. “I do not want to take anything too seriously.”

But quirky and weird are exactly what will win points at this year’s Inner Beauty Pageant, an annual event that celebrates what makes people pretty on the inside.

“In New York City, there is a lot of focus on beauty and fashion and meeting a certain standard, and this is the opposite of that,” said pageant producer Jo Firestone. “It is not that they are not physically attractive, but these people have something different.”

Firestone said she started the pageant in 2012 to celebrate the weirdos she meets in Brooklyn every day. When she comes across someone she likes, she invites them to compete. On the big day, those who accept her offer compete across three segments — a show of their home-made bathing suits, a talent portion, and a question and answer segment. In all rounds, the contestants are encouraged to let their freak flags fly.

Audience members will choose the winner using ballots, where they can also heap praise and superlatives on each contestant.

“You get to see the audience’s interpretations of everybody,” said Firestone. “It is really sweet and funny.”

Inner Beauty Pageant at Littlefield [622 Degraw St. between Third and Fourth avenues in Gowanus, (718) 855–3388,]. June 18 at 7:30 pm. $5–$7

Posted 1:30 pm, June 16, 2014
Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
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