Mimi Marks, the world's most glamorous female impersonator, exits Baton but not her fans' hearts

Mimi Marks has been performing at the Baton for the last 25 years and on Sunday she took her final bows. The place was standing room only for this legendary showgirl whose titles include Miss International Queen, The World’s Most Beautiful Transsexual, Miss Continental and her very first pageant title from her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa–Ms. Waterloo 1986.

I don’t know what it was that first attracted me to the Baton Show Lounge where the “tops of the tops” perform but once I moved to Chicago in 1974 and discovered it, I took everyone I knew there.  Along the way, I befriended a lot of the entertainers who perform as female impersonators including Mimi, Chille Pepper, Maya Douglas, Sasha Colby, Sheri Payne, Victoria La Paige, Regine Phillips, Ginger Grant, Chanel and so many others.

Whenever my mom visited,  our first stop was the Baton, the same for my cousins and my friends. I even took my husband Chuck there on one of our first dates as well as legendary tennis star Jimmy Connors who stood in line to tip the “girls” just like everyone else.

Those performers were and are like family to me as well as Jim Flint, the man who started it all. I’m pretty sure all of their fans see them the same way since they all certainly have a great following. They work hard to entertain you,  putting on exciting shows with dramatic costuming (that they plan/create themselves) and fabulous choreography to current, hot music.

Mimi has lived as a woman since she was 21 years old. She grew up in Oelwein, Iowa, and, as a boy, she recalls feeling uncomfortable in her body and had the “most difficult time” in her physical education class because she said, “I didn’t fit in at all.” Her family, who was in the audience for her last show, have always been supportive.

I will miss not seeing her at the Baton as will her legion of fans, but she’s off to follow her heart and plans on mentoring transgender youth.  I know she will be a very positive influence for everyone she meets.

Good luck on your exciting, new journey Mimi with love from Candace, one of your biggest fans.

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