It is redundant to say ballroom is back — it never left! That said, the most recent mainstreaming of the subculture has brought with it revitalized attention and big budgets in all the right ways. Case in point: the upcoming Return of Porcelain ball put on by the House of Miyake-Mugler boasts a $10,000 grand prize category sponsored by Rihanna's brand Fenty Beauty. Yeah, the girls are getting paid.
As the 30th anniversary of the house of Miyake-Mugler, the ball is a big deal in and of itself. Members of the house are notable names on and off the ballroom floor with Yusef Miyake-Mugler, the current overall father, also functioning as the longtime hairstylist for Rihanna; Japan Miyake-Mugler, current Atlanta mother, makeup artist to stars like Teyana Taylor, Lil Mama, and Tamar Braxton; and Alex Miyake-Mugler, a star of Viceland’s My House and dancer for the likes of Rihanna, FKA Twigs, and more. But when you couple the legacy of the house, which has been long known for the categories of face and realness, with the current attention around the community at large as well as the fact that Rihanna is taking part, it promises to be a blow out.
Undoubtedly through her relationship with Yusef, Rihanna has long had a connection to ballroom. She’s had voguers go on tour with her and even made an appearance at the initial Porcelain ball five years ago. Now she returns with her brand Fenty Beauty in tow putting up $10,000 which is said to be the first time in ballroom history for the category. For the night, Fenty will sponsor Open To All Face, where contestants are judged on facial symmetry, bone structure, skin clarity, smile, as well as presence. Contestants are called to present themselves as an “ostentatiously extravagant beauty verging the point of vulgarity,” while wearing an “opalescent couture” look.
Expect the runway to be packed at the event, presumably with Rihanna herself making an appearance. While that’s not confirmed at all, one would assume if her brand is putting up the money she will at least show up for that category specifically. On a livestream recently about the event, leadership of the House of Miyake-Mugler also made it clear that they are not looking to award this prize to someone outside of the community, but instead are hoping to honor someone who has been a part of ballroom and will continue to be.
Expect the houses of Balenciaga, Balmain, Blahnik, Ebony, Escada, Garcon, LaBeija, Lanvin, Margiela, Milan, Princess-Aphrodite, Prodigy, Poridgy, Revlon, St. Laurent, West, and Xtravaganza to all be in the building as they all have purchased tables already.
In addition, a mini grand luxe female figure performance category — this means cis women, trans women, and drag queens will all vogue against each other for this — is sponsored by Reggae Fest Tour for $5,000. In total, there is over $28,000 on the line split over 17 categories.
For those who are looking to watch it all go down, the ball is happening in New York City on October 12. A select amount of reserved seats are available to purchase. Organizers have stated that those specific tickets are ideal for spectators who are not part of the ballroom community but would like to experience a ball.
Oh, and according to organizers, unlike most balls, this one will start on time!