The Legendary Miss Richfield 1981 Celebrates Pride Orbitz Style!

If you haven’t heard of Miss Richfield 1981 (Miss R), you clearly have been living under a rock. As the world is about to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, I invite you to unearth yourself and indulge in the delectable delights of a character whose humble beginnings round out her outrageous personality. For the uninitiated, Miss R’s biography on her website says it all:

Miss Richfield 1981

Miss Richfield 1981

Dedicating her life to the friendly citizens and responsible merchants of her hometown of Richfield, Minnesota, “where butter is a spice and gravy is a beverage,” Miss Richfield 1981 is fast becoming one of America’s national treasures. This Midwestern maven is winning over theater audiences around the country with an interactive format that combines homespun warmth and edgy improv, leaving audiences in hysterics.

Miss R has great taste when it comes to finding brands that support the LGBTQ community. This year, Miss R is celebrating 50 years of pride with Orbitz, a company that has proven time and time again that they don’t just embrace equality, they live it every day. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Miss R. We started off talking about our respective families in Minnesota. We quickly transitioned into the main event: Pride 2019. If you enjoy reading our conversation—and watching the video—half as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you, then I enjoyed it twice as much as you did. Happy Pride, everyone!

 

Miss Richfield: Hi Justin!

Justin:                          Hello, Miss Richfield. How are you?

Miss Richfield:          Doing super duper, thanks for asking. I’m all rainbowed up today for our big time together.

Justin:                          I'm glad that you are! Before we begin, I know that you're from Minneapolis. I actually have family in Bemidji, Minnesota, near Red Lake.

Miss Richfield:             Are you kidding me? I spent a lot of time up in Bemidji. Oh, my word, that's a beautiful area!

Justin:                          Yeah, I was there last year in Blackduck, if you know where that small town is.

Miss Richfield:             I have a friend from Blackduck!

Justin:                          No, you don't! That's insane!

Miss Richfield:             My friend Lydia.

Justin:                          My grandfather grew up there.

Miss Richfield:             Really?

Justin:                          Yeah.

Miss Richfield:             Oh my god, Blackduck, yeah that's not too far from Bemidji. I have another friend, from Clearbrook, Minnesota. I'm gonna tell him I spoke to somebody who has family in Blackduck. He'll die laughing!

Justin:                          Oh, another fun fact… my godfather is Liberace. But that's a whole other story.

Miss Richfield:             No! Your godfather is Liberace? Now I feel like I’ve had a brush with fame.

Justin:                          Yeah, it’s a crazy story.

Miss Richfield:             At some point you have to call me and fill me in on that because that I have to know. So, we're talking about Pride today.

Justin:                          Yeah, we should probably get to that.

Miss Richfield:             But I gotta hear about Liberace.

Justin:                          I know you've probably got a bunch of other calls today, but I’d would be happy to chat more about that later because it’s a fun story.

Miss Richfield:             No one is as important as you.

Justin:                          Oh, stop. You're ridiculous, but thank you.

Miss Richfield:             We're piquing right now! We're piquing!

Justin:                          We so are!

Miss Richfield:             And are you in Virginia?

Justin:                          I am. I'm in Richmond, Virginia.

Miss Richfield:             I was just in Lynchburg,

Justin:                          Lynchburg, what were you doing there?

Miss Richfield:             I was at Randolph College.

Justin:                          Why?

Miss Richfield:             They were having their first gay pride.

Justin:                          That's great! More and more rural communities are starting to have pride celebrations across Virginia and throughout the country.

Miss Richfield:             It was the first gay pride ever in Lynchburg. You know that's the home of Jerry Falwell. Isn't that cool?

Justin:                          That's amazing! Virginia's come a long way.

Miss Richfield:             I know. Well, I'm packing rainbow everywhere I go this year because it's the rainbow year. You know it's World Pride in New York?

Justin:                          It is, indeed!

Miss Richfield:             50th anniversary… huge!

Justin:                          I'm speaking at a LGBTQ conference in New York during pride, so that should be fun.

Miss Richfield:             Oh, wonderful! Well I'll be there.

Justin:                          Oh, you'll be there too?

Miss Richfield 1981

Miss Richfield 1981

Miss Richfield:             Yes, not for the whole pride but most of it. I have to get back up to P-Town where I am all summer. But you know, speaking of prides, one of the things we discovered working with Orbitz is that there are so many other places in the country that are really piquing. Of course, there’s LA, Chicago and New York, but other, smaller places—like Atlanta, Orlando and Long Beach—have fabulous prides, too! What's really nice about these smaller prides is that they occur during different times of the year. Atlanta and Orlando are in October, and Long Beach is in May. Then there's my city, Minneapolis. They have theirs in June. But because other places celebrate pride at different times during the year, if you can't get away in June, you can go to one of these other prides, which is wonderful!

Justin:                          That’s great information! Do you have any favorite places to go for pride outside of the United States?

Miss Richfield:             I have never been to a pride outside of the United States, but I would love to go to Tel Aviv.

Justin:                          Well, I hear that's a good one.

Miss Richfield:             I can't count the number of times I've heard people say that it's just amazing. And there's nothing better than Mediterranean men… whew!

Justin:                          Do you have any secret travel tips you're willing to share?

Miss Richfield:             Well, you know this is one of the reasons I'm working with Orbitz. Orbitz.com/pride is their LGBTQ area of their website. They are the first travel company to have a specific area of their website dedicated to LGBTQ travelers. It's got tips for traveling, reviews from other LGBTQ people and I have a little column in there.

Justin:                          I’d expect nothing less.

Miss Richfield:             Well, you know, I have some opinions! Anyway, it's a great place to go because Orbitz has everything teed up for ya. And this year you're gonna wanna make your reservations earlier, because it's gonna be a busy pride season no matter where you go since people will be celebrating all over the country.

Justin:                          Speaking of traveling, if you were to have a bucket list of people you'd wanna travel with to pride, who would you have on that list?

Miss Richfield:             Oh wow, you know I think number one would be Ellen. I would love to have Ellen! I mean that would just be huge for me because I have so much respect for when she came out in the 90’s. That was a tough thing to do back then. She's just resilient and amazing. She's done so much for our community. RuPaul, would be another one who's done so much for the community and blazed trails for the rest of us. But, I also wouldn't mind traveling with the Obama's.

Justin:                          That’s a great bucket list! So, who is your ideal Grand Marshal for Pride this year?

Miss Richfield:             It would have to be Adam Lambert.

Justin:                          I couldn't agree more. He’s uch a talented person! So, you’ve been to a lot of prides. What's the most ridiculous thing you've done to celebrate pride?

Miss Richfield:             I was on the TV show Cake Boss a few years ago and I ordered a cake for pride. Not many people get to be on Cake Boss, so this was special. So, I ordered a cake and they brought it in for family movie night in New York. It was as big as a banquet table, which is like eight feet long. It was white, pillowy and fabulous. And then when Buddy (the host of the show) cut into it, all the layers of the rainbow appeared! We gave it to all of our friends at family movie night. All the kids, the gay families and the straight families. In fact, we had so much cake that we started feeding people walking through the park, including some homeless people. It just really felt like what pride should be. Something for everyone, not just for the LGBTQ community. I still get a warm feeling thinking about it.

Justin:                          That's such a wonderful story! So, when pride season ends and all the rainbow flags are put away, where do you like to go to kick your heels up?

Miss Richfield:             Oh, my word, there's so many places, because I travel so much in part because of my work with Orbitz. I love to use the Orbitz.com/pride website. Well, I'm going to Asia soon to work on a cruise ship. I love Asia. If you wanna go relax and be with friendly people, go to Asia. I also love P-Town. Even though I work in P-Town, I also like to relax there.

Justin:                          That's where my brother, Evan, and his partner first met you. When I told Evan I was talking to you today, he got very jealous.

Miss Richfield:             Oh, he is? Oh, good! Oh, I wish we could take a picture together! Oh, that makes me happy. Sad for Evan, but happy.

Justin:                          He’s busy teaching kids high school music right now.

Miss Richfield:             Wow! Well, he's doing something really important.

Justin:                          Yes, he is actually, very true. So last question, and this is one I like to ask a lot. Your personality is very bright, colorful, and just plain fun. If you had to pick a single color that describes your personality, what color would you choose and why?

Miss Richfield 1981

Miss Richfield 1981

Miss Richfield:             Ooh, that's a really good question! I have never been asked that question before. I'm looking at all the colors of the rainbow and I'm thinking which color would best describe me, Miss Richfield 1981. I can't see all the colors right now because I'm not wearing my girdle. The colors I can see right now are orange and yellow, and I think orange would best describe me, because I'm original. And I think orange is a nice, healing color.

Justin:                          It is.

Miss Richfield:             And it doesn’t represent a specific gender. So, when you think of orange, think of Miss Richfield and we'll all be happy.

Justin:                          Orange and that big, gorgeous smile and those big, beautiful glasses.

Miss Richfield:             You're embarrassing me, I'm gonna blush and I'm not wearing any makeup! Oh my god! Hopefully I'll see you in New York.

Justin:                          I'll be there at the end of June close to the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

Miss Richfield:             Well, just keep logging into Orbitz.com/pride.

Justin:                          They're great. And thank you for working with them. They truly are a fantastic company that does great things for the community, as are you.

Miss Richfield:             And thank you Justin for all your kind words.

Justin:                          Thank you for your time and enjoy this historic pride season!

Miss Richfield:             It's right around the corner! Make your plans early. Alright good to see you Justin! Hold down the fort in Virginia!

Justin Ayars