Filipino Royalty Will Reign: Drag Race Philippines’ Queens Have Landed

by

September 1, 2022
Read Time: 21 minutes

Meet the 12 queens dominating the first season of Drag Race Philippines.

 

 

The moment the iconic Drag Race franchise was reported to set sail on Philippine shores, the show’s fans, the Filipino LGBTQIA+ community, the local drag scene and their allies felt nothing but elation and excitement. From bubbling hunches and hypotheses to memes galore, everyone jumped for joy at the thought that the world would finally see the caliber of our thriving local drag scene. After all, when a global TV show sets its sights on a country like ours, it’s only natural that we’ll do everything in our power to showcase our Filipino talent and identity, rich from our collective history and experiences. Safe to say that the opportunity be seen on the world stage fueled the long list of hopefuls who auditioned for Drag Race Philippines.

 

Later on, 12 queens cut above the rest were announced to join the first-ever season of this franchise’s local iteration. So when given a stage as grand and large as Drag Race Philippines, it comes as no surprise that our queens would make their time under the spotlight matter. Whether it’s Xilhouete’s enduring mission to keep the legacy alive to Turing’s message of body positivity, all of their turns in the spotlight were maximized down to the last minute. No compromises were made, and no holds were barred—everyone brought their A-game in the hopes of getting the crown.

 

So while we find joy in the glamour, the camp and the extravagant lip sync battles, the stories behind each performance, look and Werk Room discussions also paint a picture of what it is to be queer in the Philippines. Beneath the strong community whose visibility and force you can never deny stand narratives of suppression and pain. Their way of healing is performing alongside other queens, passing on their legacy and drawing inspiration from our roots.

 

In a country where the SOGIE Equality Bill is yet to be passed into law, Drag Race Philippines takes a stand. An influential TV show showcases the creativity of the local drag scene carried by the LGBTQIA+ community, with a production crew headed by queer creatives and two transwomen as permanent judges. Drag Race Philippines isn’t only a milestone, it's a statement that says: with a community and culture as strong as ours, there’s no denying our visibility. You will look, you will listen and, in turn, will not deny that we are here, and deserve the equality we keep fighting for.

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Drag Race Philippines (@dragraceph)

 

Up ahead, we catch up with the 12 queens whose reigns have just begun.

 

RELATED: Werk From Home: A Drag Editorial

 

Brigiding

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Drag Race Philippines (@dragraceph)

 

Wonder: What was the first thing you did after finding out you were selected for the premiere season of Drag Race Philippines?

Brigiding: I called my friends, and I told them, “We should go out, celebrate by the beach and look for the divine intervention; we need this calling. We need to celebrate—this is not just going to change my life but our lives forever. So I want you to be with me, go on a journey out of town.” And we just danced, partied, swam and really celebrated life, because it was the biggest thing that just happened.

 

W: What, in your opinion, separates Drag Race Philippines from the rest of the franchises?

B: The Philippines will be very, very different. We don’t do drag just for the sake of dressing up. No, we’re doing drag because it’s art for us, it’s our passion. We do drag with heart, and that’s what will set us apart.

 

I think it’s about time for Filipino talents to shine. Hindi tayo pang patawa-patawa lang, hindi tayo papiyesta-piyesta lang. Di lang tayo nagdadamit at nagbabaklaan. (We don’t do it for laughs or for parties. We don’t just dress up and do gay shit just because.) It’s time to see the heart inside these people, these talented individuals that we do drag with a purpose. And that’s going to be very special, ‘yun yung makikita nila sa show (that’s what they’ll see in the show).

 

W: How would you describe Drag Race Philippines to someone who isn't familiar with the show?

B: You’re about to see the most beautiful, most fabulous, most colorful and the loveliest creatures in the whole universe in one TV show. Bitch, eat that!

 

W: In your own words, what's the most unique thing about Philippine drag culture as a whole?

B: What makes Filipino drag unique is that in the Philippines, we’re still suppressed. Hindi pa rin tayo equal (We’re not viewed as equals). There’s still [a] fight for equality in the Philippines, lalong-lalo na wala pa tayong (especially, we don’t have) equal rights. And I think that makes the drag queens and the LGBTQIA+ community more fired up to showcase to the world what we deserve, what we need, what this show can bring. Finally, you will see that we deserve everything. We deserve all the respect, all the love, all the appreciation, and this show will do that for us, for everyone.

 

W: Which queer icon would you say influenced your drag the most?

B: Not in the Philippines, but I think Freddie Mercury is one of the icons who resonates [with me]. He’s such a rockstar. Bohemian Rhapsody, all his songs, the life he went through, it’s so inspiring and heartbreaking, too. Hindi siya yung kinalakihan ko (I didn’t grow up listening to him), but I wish na buhay pa siya with all these Drag Race franchises happening, where would he be?

 

Corazon

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Drag Race Philippines (@dragraceph)

 

Wonder: What was the first thing you did after finding out you were selected for the premiere season of Drag Race Philippines?

Corazon: Five years ago I posted something on my social media saying, “Three to four years from now, I’m going to be part of RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Now, I’m living my dream! The first thing I did when I knew that I was part of Drag Race Philippines was scream.

 

W: What, in your opinion, separates Drag Race Philippines from the rest of the franchises?

C: We are all equally beautiful, but the Filipino Queens are uniquely beautiful. We aren’t just doing drag for fun, we do drag because it’s part of our lives, our culture and our heart. We’re doing it for love.

 

W: In your own words, what's the most unique thing about Philippine drag culture as a whole?

C: Our country is diverse. We have different ethnicities here, and a lot of Filipinos adapted from the nationalities that colonized us. And I think that this is the best time to show the world how beautiful, talented and unique Filipino drag queens are.

 

W: What is one Pinoy expression or phrase you think you used the most during filming?

C: I’m the first queen who used charot (just kidding). But aside from that, I call the other girls che-che. Che-che is a term of endearment that I use to call my sisters, which means “sisters” in gay lingo.

 

W: Which queer icon would you say influenced your drag the most?

C: Definitely not just one, but all the beauty queens all over the world. Especially the Filipina queens that set the standard in international beauty pageants like Pia Wurtzbach, Catriona Gray, Gazini Ganados and every Filipino queen who wore the sash of the Philippines.

 

Eva Le Queen

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Drag Race Philippines (@dragraceph)

 

Wonder: What was the first thing you did after finding out you were selected for the premiere season of Drag Race Philippines?

Eva Le Queen: The first thing I did: I went biking and then I went to a cafe, because I am a very cerebral person. So I was really taking my time in jotting things down. [The Drag Race Philippines casting] is such big news that it can cause anxiety to other people, and for me to deal with it, I had to write things down with a pen and paper. I went straight to planning the looks, the budget—my entire life in general like saan mo siya kukunin (where will you get your resources)?

 

W: What, in your opinion, separates Drag Race Philippines from the rest of the franchises?

ELQ: I think what sets us apart, aside from brimming and overpouring with talent—because we Filipinos are talented, we’re born entertainers. We’re good singers, good dancers; we really have something to offer—but what sets us apart, which we always say, is puso (heart). This season is about puso. You will see all the drama, alam mo naman, pinalaki tayo sa mga telenovela (you know that, we were all raised with telenovelas)we will never run out of drama. But there’s heart in everything that we do, so we’re very proud of that in season one.

 

W: What is one Pinoy expression or phrase you think you used the most during filming?

ELQ: “Tuloy ba (Is it pushing through)?” That’s a phrase I always say. When there are so many things happening, and you just want to break it like—“Tuloy pa ba (Is it *really* pushing through)?” You know the humor of it na parang, ang dami-dami niyong ginawa tapos (like, when you do so much and then you ask), suddenly, “Tuloy pa ba natin ‘to (Do you still want to go through with this)?” It doesn’t make sense, but I blurt it out all the time.

 

W: How would you describe Drag Race Philippines to someone who isn't familiar with the show?

ELQ: Drag Race Philippines is a collection of 12 very talented and beautiful men in dresses. If you want to have a great time and touch base with your Filipino roots, watch Drag Race Philippines, and you’ll see it in a different light.

 

W: If you could choose one song to lip sync to or perform for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

ELQ: Defying Gravity from Wicked the musical by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth. I really love that song so much. I have Elphaba The Wicked Witch tattooed on my arm here, and it’s really very telling of how I view my life and my drag career in general. No one mourns the wicked. But if you’re flying solo, at least you’re flying free. Once you know that, there’s no stopping you!

 

Gigi Era

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Drag Race Philippines (@dragraceph)

 

Wonder: What was the first thing you did after finding out you were selected for the premiere season of Drag Race Philippines?

Gigi Era: Obviously, I said a prayer. I think hindi siya agad nag-sink in (it didn’t sink in immediately). I was like, “Is it really happening?” Because [Drag Race Philippines] was just for fun at the beginning. I woke up one day, and my fiancé goes, “Okay babe, that’s it. You’re doing Drag Race Philippines.” And I asked what did he mean. He goes, “Oh, I submitted your application.” So I was really shocked and happy, I had mixed emotions.

 

W: What, in your opinion, separates Drag Race Philippines from the rest of the franchises?

GE: Oh my god, girl? The standard and the amount of talent of Filipinos are undeniable. Dito talaga mapapakita kung ano talaga yung drag sa Pilipinas (The show will really reveal how drag really is in the Philippines). Like I said, when I did Drag Race Philippines I went, “Shit, gagawin ko talaga to (will I really do this)?” Because it’s such a tough competition, the standards [alone]. What sets us apart? Honey, the talent is undeniable. Everything is there: singing, dancing, buwis-buhay (life-threatening)—everything.

 

W: What is one Pinoy expression or phrase you think you used the most during filming?

GE: I literally influenced the girls to use my favorite line, “Miss Maam!” I use it as an escape, like if I forget someone’s name I just say “Miss Maam.” And it’s a polite expression for me to say, “Uy anuna, kumusta? (Hey, what’s up? How are you?)” Another expression is, “Palong-palo (the best)!”

 

W: In your own words, what's the most unique thing about Philippine drag culture?

GE: Well we have the love and lots of smiles! The fun about a Filipino drag queen, hindi mo talaga maaalis (you really can’t take it out).

 

W: In All Stars 7, Jinkx & Monét did the first-ever spoken word lip sync. If you could pick a Filipino monologue to lip sync to your life to, what would it be?

GE: I would do the legendary Cherie Gil from Buting Walang Ninging. “You’re nothing but a second-rate, trying hard copycat!”

 

W: Complete with the drink throwing?

GE: Of course! Everything, with my blood, sweat and tears in there, honey!

 

RELATED: Ang Fraile Is The Good Laugh (And Slap In The Face) You Need

 

Lady Morgana

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Drag Race Philippines (@dragraceph)

 

Wonder: What was the first thing you did after finding out you were selected for the premiere season of Drag Race Philippines?

Lady Morgana: I was so shocked, I couldn’t believe that I [would be] part of Drag Race Philippines’ first season. Of course, I’m so grateful that I will represent my hometown, Davao City. When I found out, I just celebrated by myself. I thanked God, and I prayed that my journey with Drag Race Philippines will be smooth sailing.

 

W: How would you describe Drag Race Philippines to someone who isn't familiar with the show?

LM: Drag Race Philippines is: wonderful, astonishing and [has] lots of fun and good vibes!

 

W: In your own words, what's the most unique thing about Philippine drag culture?

LM: More energy, more character! Very sophisticated, all of the queens are sophisticated and beautiful!

 

W: If you could choose one song to lip sync to or perform for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

LM: Minsan Ang Minahal Ay Ako by Celeste Legaspi. I will dedicate this to all the performers who were affected by the pandemic. Of course, I would like to dedicate this to the performers once nandoon entablado na pinapalakpakan sila pero in the long run of their careers, kinalimutan rin sila sa entablado. Kaya kailangan rin silang balikan, kailangan i-put yung memories nila na somehow, minahal rin sila ng madla.

 

(Of course, I would like to dedicate this to the performers who were once applauded on stage but in the long run of their careers, the audience also forgot about them. That’s why we have to remember them, we need to honor their memories where they were also loved by the people).

 

W: Which queer icon would you say influenced your drag the most?

LD: Siguro isa sa mga RuPaul’s Drag Race Divas doon: si Sasha Velour! Siya yung isa sa mga inspiration ko. And of course, Plastique Tiara and Jiggly Caliente.

 

(Perhaps one of the Drag Race divas: Sasha Velour! She’s one of my inspirations. And of course, Plastique Tiara and Jiggly Caliente.)

 

Marina Summers

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Drag Race Philippines (@dragraceph)

 

Wonder: What was the first thing you did after finding out you were selected for the premiere season of Drag Race Philippines?

Marina Summers: I ate. That’s the first thing I did: I ate, charged up, opened my notebook and got to work. Because, you know, we only had limited time to prepare, and I knew that I had to set my mind to it and put the pedal to the metal. Right then on, I did the work, did my job and, hopefully, it pays off in the show.

 

W: What, in your opinion, separates Drag Race Philippines from the rest of the franchises?

MS: I think may gigil (there’s this grit) factor, for the Filipino Queens to be able to show the Filipino queer Talent. And that alone fueled this cast to really represent local Filipino queer talent. I think that’s the beauty of this season: it’s the first one, it’s full of heart, it’s full of drama, it’s full of talent and just authentic Filipino queer creativity. We’re very excited to show you guys what’s in store for you this season.

 

W: How would you describe Drag Race Philippines to someone who isn't familiar with the show?

MS: Drag Race Philippines—just like Drag Race—it’s a boiling pot of different drag queens showing their creativity and talent in one show. But Drag Race Philippines is the pinnacle of Filipino queer art, especially in the drag scene and visual performance. It’s about Filipino drag talent!

 

W: What is one Pinoy expression or phrase you think you used the most during filming?

MS: It came from Lady Morgana, it’s actually a Davaoeño term. It’s called “dalaygon,” para siyang (it kind of means) “God bless,” or “Mabuhay” in a sense. That’s the beauty of Drag Race Philippines as well, we were able to show different cultures and different backgrounds of a very, very diverse cast.

 

W: If you could choose one song to lip sync to or perform for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

MS: I would have to be Woman by Doja Cat because I mean… [I am] the woman, she’s the moment!

 

Minty Fresh

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Drag Race Philippines (@dragraceph)

 

Wonder: What was the first thing you did after finding out you were selected for the premiere season of Drag Race Philippines?

Minty Fresh: Siyempre tumulala muna ako. Hindi kasi, parang at that time hindi ako nakapaniwala talaga. At the same time, hindi ko alam kung saan ko huhugutin yung mga resources because of the pandemic. So may mga friends naman ako tumulong. Super happy, no, siyempre naman!

 

(Of course, I stared into nothing for a while. It’s like, I couldn’t believe that I got into Drag Race Philippines! At the same time, I didn’t know where to get my resources because of the pandemic. So I had friends who helped me out. So, of course, I’m super happy!)

 

W: What, in your opinion, separates Drag Race Philippines from the rest of the franchises?

MF: Sa Philippines kasi, powerhouse yung drag [scene] dito. Yung mga drag queen, hindi lang isa yung talent nila—multi-talented. Feel ko talaga sobrang talented ng mga Filipino drag queens.

 

(In the Philippines, our drag [culture] is a powerhouse. Our drag queens don’t have one talent, they’re multi-talented. Filipino drag queens are so talented.]

 

W: How would you describe Drag Race Philippines to someone who isn't familiar with the show?

MF: Siguro yayaain ko muna siyang manood muna ng show sa personal. It-tour ko siya sa mga clubs, ganon. Tsaka ko ie-explain na there’s this show, about drag queens if interested siya.

 

(I guess I’ll just invite them to watch a drag show in person. I’ll tour them around the clubs, then I’ll explain that there’s a show about drag queens if they become interested.)

 

W: If you could choose one song to lip sync to or perform for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

MF: Siguro, Vogue by Madonna. Aside from favorite ko talaga siyang piyesa ko, feeling ko kasi kung magiging song si Minty Fresh: Vogue siya.

 

(Probably Vogue by Madonna. Aside from it being my favorite piece, I have a feeling that if Minty Fresh were to be a song, it would be Vogue.)

 

W: Which queer icon would you say influenced your drag the most?

MF: Walang specific [na icon], but my drag is inspired by villains, kontrabidas. Doon ako talaga naca-captivate eh. Aminin mo, yung mga kontrabida palaging mas maganda sa bida.

 

(I don’t have a specific icon, but my drag is inspired by villains, antagonists. They really captivate me. Admit it, all the villains look better than the main characters.)

 

Precious Paula Nicole

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Drag Race Philippines (@dragraceph)

 

Wonder: What was the first thing you did after finding out you were selected for the premiere season of Drag Race Philippines?

Precious Paula Nicole: I cried and I prayed. I talked to my mom na nasa heaven na, and I’m just proud of myself. Every achievement na meron ako, na natatanggap ko, I always make sure na naish-share ko siya sa family ko and sa mama ko.

 

(I talked to my mom who’s in heaven now, and I’m just proud of myself. Every achievement that I have, that I reach, I always make sure to share it with my family and my mother.)

 

W: What, in your opinion, separates Drag Race Philippines from the rest of the franchises?

PPN: For me, this franchise, we made this with love. Binuo namin ‘to ng may pagmamahal, dugo, pawis, lahat na and paghihirap, of course. Siyempre, it’s our first, so we made sure na hindi lang tayo bastang tatapat, lalagpas tayo sa ibang mga franchise, hopefully!

 

(We made this with love, blood, sweat—everything, and of course, hard work. Of course, it’s our first [season], so we made sure that we won’t just be at par; we’ll exceed the other franchises, hopefully!)

 

W: What is one Pinoy expression or phrase you think you used the most during filming?

PPN: I always do, “Wooh!” I impersonate Regine Velasquez, so I always do that when I get nervous, or I get excited!

 

W: If you could choose one song to lip sync to or perform for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

PPN: I’m not going to lip sync for my life, I’m going to lip sync for my mom. I [choose], You by the Carpenters. The song itself, love letter ko talaga for my mom (The song itself is my love letter for my mom). And I want everyone to relate to that.

 

W: Which queer icon would you say influenced your drag the most?

PPN: Of course, that’s RuPaul, Vice Ganda and of course our very own Mama Paolo Ballesteros. Sila talaga yung before ko pang tiningala. And FYI, my drag name came from Paolo Ballesteros na ginamit niya sa Eat Bulaga 12 years ago. Kung meron akong pinaka-inspiration dito, that’s Paolo Ballesteros.

 

(They were the icons I looked up to before. And FYI, my drag name came from Mama Pao (Paolo Ballesteros), the one he used in Eat Bulaga 12 years ago. If I were to name one of my biggest inspirations, it would be Paolo Ballesteros.)

 

RELATED: 7 Coming-Of-Age Titles You Can Stream on HBO GO

 

Prince

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Drag Race Philippines (@dragraceph)

 

Wonder: What was the first thing you did after finding out you were selected for the premiere season of Drag Race Philippines?

Prince: Actually, when we learned that we were part of [the show], we were given a checklist of what we had to bring. I thought, “Ano tong pinasok ko (What did I get myself into)?” I had to prepare a lot of stuff! But then I was very excited. When it was announced for an August 17th premiere, I had three months where I thought, “Finally, after doing all the auditions, I was able to make it!” That’s amazing for me, knowing that I was such a fan of the show. It’s just so surreal that I’m part of it, and I’m part of the World of Wonder Family and a Drag Race sister. It’s just amazing! I’m really happy I made it.

 

W: What, in your opinion, separates Drag Race Philippines from the rest of the franchises?

P: I think the Filipino culture and the aesthetic of being Filipino. The Philippines, we’re known as just [a country] colonized by the Spanish and Americans. But then, we have so much to bring! We have a culture that is very Pinoy, so it’s something we’ll be showcasing for sure. It’s very exciting to know that the world will see know the Philippines is.

 

W: What is one Pinoy expression or phrase you think you used the most during filming?

P: Charot (just kidding), keme (whatever) and eme (whatever). Yeah, the usual!

 

W: Now we’re going to put charot on the radar of the global audience!

P: Yes! It’s going to be part of the dictionary now!

 

W: In your own words, what's the most unique thing about Philippine drag culture as a whole?

P: Probably our own language, like the beki language and our sisterhood. Our sisterhood is kind of shady sometimes, minsan nilalait (we roast each other) as a joke. Just because you’re joking someone, it doesn’t mean you hate her—it’s like lambing (friendly banter). In the other countries I, noticed na biniro mo lang, biglang galit na agad (when you roast or joke with them, they get mad), they take it personally. With Filipino girls, it’s part of the culture! It’s just eme, but at the end of the day we’re sisters and we’re good!

 

W: In All Stars 7, Jinkx & Monét did the first-ever spoken word lip sync. If you could pick a Filipino monologue speech to lip sync to your life to, what would it be?

P: That would be Vilma Santos’s Anak. Diba (Right), it’s good? It’s iconic—madaming iconic. But for me that’s the most iconic, it’s very campy. If you lip sync to it, you can do a lot of things.

 

Turing

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Drag Race Philippines (@dragraceph)

 

Wonder: What was the first thing you did after finding out you were selected for the premiere season of Drag Race Philippines?

Turing: Umiyak. I can’t add more to that but just [feeling] pure happiness and umiyak lang talaga ako. You have to know that all of this happened in the middle of the pandemic, so nilaban ko siya. I never thought that I could make it, so I’m super duper happy I got cast.

 

(I cried. I can’t add more to that but just feeling pure happiness that I just cried. You have to know that all of this happened in the middle of the pandemic, so I fought for it. I never thought that I could make it, so I’m super duper happy I got cast.)

 

W: What, in your opinion, separates Drag Race Philippines from the rest of the franchises?

T: I think Drag Race Philippines is different in terms of versatility. You know, Filipinos are very known for producing amazing talents, especially on the world stage. Sa mga international TV shows, talagang pag may Pinoy, talagang support tayo kasi hindi tayo pinapahiya. I think Drag Race Philippines is hindi rin naiiba—we will give you amazing-ness na pag mapapanood niyo kami at makikita niyo yung talento namin masasabi niyo na, “Hindi tayo mapapahiya ng 12 na ito.”

 

(I think Drag Race Philippines is different in terms of versatility. You know, Filipinos are known for producing amazing talents, especially on the world stage. In international TV shows, we really root for and support the Pinoy because we know that we won’t be embarrassed. I think Drag Race Philippines is the same—we will give you amazing-ness that when you watch us and when you see our talents, you’ll say, “These 12 won’t embarrass us.”)

 

W: What is one Pinoy expression or phrase you think you used the most during filming?

T: I don’t think I used a lot of expressions, but there is one thing that is so Filipino. In Untucked, we don’t just drink—we have pulutan (bar chow).

 

W: How would you describe Drag Race Philippines to someone who isn't familiar with the show?

T: That is a difficult question. I tried to explain drag when I was in the dating scene because they didn’t know what my occupation was. Let’s put it this way: I am a performer at a bar and what I do is dance, impersonate and lip sync— and I do it amazingly. I can explain it in a lot of ways, but for someone who doesn’t know drag, kailangan natin i-explain na mas maintindihan nila (we need to explain it in a way that they will understand), which is a performer. Because basically, we’re all performers, we just do different kinds of performances na hindi na maiintindihan ng ibang tao kapag in-explain mo (that others might not understand when you explain it). So go the basic way: we perform amazingly.

 

W: In All Stars 7, Jinkx & Monét did the first-ever spoken word lip sync. If you could pick a Filipino monologue or speech to lip sync to your life to, what would it be?

T: As a theatre person, this is the real tea. When I saw that Monét did the spoken word lip sync, I already began writing the monologue I would perform at a viewing party by Bekenemen Podcast. Parang naunahan na nila ako. So when they did spoken word, I did a monologue live. After that, I connected it with a lip sync performance of [Nelly’s] Hot In Here because it’s about how hot it is here in the Philippines.

 

Viñas Deluxe

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Drag Race Philippines (@dragraceph)

 

Wonder: What was the first thing you did after finding out you were selected for the premiere season of Drag Race Philippines?

Viñas Deluxe:  Siyempre natuwa, tumawa muna, na parang, “Ah talaga? Pasok! Check the label, mommy: confirmed!” Nag-celebrate [rin ako]. Tapos nakalagay doon wag ko daw ibalita… siyempre binalita ko sa parents ko—pasensya na po! Super happy! Nag-celebrate at naghanap kaagad ng mga resources.

 

(Of course, I was happy! I laughed and went, “Really? I’m in? Check the label, mommy: confirmed!” I celebrated, too. The [acceptance form] said not to tell anyone, but I had to tell my parents, sorry! I was super happy. So I celebrated and immediately looked for resources.)

 

W: What is one Pinoy expression or phrase you think you used the most during filming?

VD: I think, “Hi mga misis!” Ayan, yan ang lagi kong ginagamit. Kahit sa vlogs ko, “Hi mga misis!” Pati yung, “Diba?” Lagi akong naghihingi ng confirmation. Yung “diba” ginagawa ko siyang “Divine? Which is connected sa aking damit—divine intervention! Divine Mercy!

 

(I think, “Hi there miss ma’am!” Even in my vlogs I say that. I also say, “Right?” a lot, I always ask for for confirmation. But to make it fun, I say, “Divine?” Which is, by the way, connected to my outfit—divine intervention! Divine mercy!)

 

W: How would you describe Drag Race Philippines to someone who isn't familiar with the franchises?

VD: Pasabog na show! Talagang kakaibabe ‘to girl, eh. Wala kang makikitang ibang show na ganito ka-pasabog na kumpleto from acting, dancing, singing, paggawa ng outfit—lahat. Parang, one-woman show siya tapos yung one-woman na yon, pinagsama-sama, so naging many-woman show siya. Divine?

 

(It’s an explosive show! It’s really unique. You won’t see a show this explosive that’s this complete, from acting, dancing, singing, designing—everything. It’s like you take multiple one-woman shows and put them all together. You turned them into a many-women show. Divine?)

 

W: In your own words, what's the most unique thing about Philippine drag culture?

VD: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Oh diba, ang ibig-sabihin lang niyan ay: amazing. Kasi pasabog naman talaga, kakaibabe! Tsaka kahit hindi available yung mga resources sa Philippines noon, kasi noong nag-umpisa ako ng drag parang hindi pa ako nakakakita ng mga pasabog na mga fabric, na mga lace front wigs, pero nagagawan ng paraan. Tsaka pasabog mag-impersonate ang mga Filipino queens. Sa tingin ko, ha, sa Pilipinas yung pinaka-achieve yung ginagaya at ine-effort-an na napakahirap kung hindi available yung resources, diba?

 

(Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! That just means amazing. Because it’s explosive, different! Even if some resources weren’t available in the Philippines before, the queens always found a way. Because when I was starting [drag], I didn’t see such nice fabric and lace front wigs. Plus, the Filipino queens are great at impersonations. In my opinion, the Philippines has the most accurate impersonators who put so much effort into their work, which is difficult when there resources aren’t as available.)

 

W: Which queer icon would you say influenced your drag the most?

VD: Beyoncé, talaga. Si Beyoncé yung kinamulatan ng pagiging bading ko. Sa kanya ako nag-umpisa at noong high school ako, siya lang yung nakilala kong artist bago ako maging drag queen. Hanggang sa sobrang hirap na hirap ako dati mag-cope sa ibang queens dahil nga puro Beyoncé lang ang alam ko. Dahil sa drag, nakilala ko yung ibang gay icons pero Beyoncé is my diva and icon.

 

(Beyoncé gave me my gay awakening. I started with her, and when I was in high school, she was the only artist I knew before I became a drag queen. It came to a point that I struggled to keep up with other queens because all I knew was Beyoncé. I discovered other gay icons because of drag, but Beyoncé is my diva and icon.)

 

Xilhouete

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Drag Race Philippines (@dragraceph)

 

Wonder: What was the first thing you did after finding out you were selected for the premiere season of Drag Race Philippines?

Xilhouete: I called up my entire team. They’ve been part of my work, my profession for the longest time. I’ve been working with them for almost or exceeding one decade. Parang sabi ko, “Ay shet, asan sila?” Kasi sure na eh. So I need to plan out everything [because] I’m very conceptual, I don’t want to put out something that I haven’t gone through nang masinsinan (properly).

 

W: What, in your opinion, separates Drag Race Philippines from the rest of the franchises?

X: The heart. I mean, we share the same story with different stages and experiences. But it’s going to be the same heart. There are emotions, drama, love and pain. Eh ang Pinoy pa naman din (You know Filipinos), we adhere a lot to our family, our roots. So that’s what will really set our franchise apart from the others.

 

W: What is one Pinoy expression or phrase you think you used the most during filming?

X: I can’t even remember kasi ang dami (it’s a lot)! Pero feeling ko (But I think), “Ano na, nak (What’s up)?” Kasi I had to check, like, “Are you okay, anak?” And another one is, “May process kasi ako (I have a process).” Because it really took a toll on me because of the limited time inside [the show], and I’m not really good at that. I need plenty of hours to do everything in a polished [manner]. So I always had to say, “May process kasi ako, and I can’t even do it here.”

 

W: In your own words, what's the most unique thing about Philippine drag culture?

X: Perhaps it would be how the community itself was able to branch out. We have stand-up comedians, we have female impersonators, we have show girls, and now we have drag queens. The truth is, the term “drag,” came the West. Hindi naman yun Pinoy eh. Ang Pinoy, bakla. (That’s not even Filipino. Because Filipino is bakla.) That’s how it is addressed, and when you compete onstage it’s called Ms. Gay. So what sets us aside is ang diverse, ang lawak masyado ng pinanggalingan. (So what sets us aside is diversity, that we come from a brad history). And again, just to add, it’s really the female impersonators who started it all and then it became drag.

 

W: In All Stars 7, Jinkx & Monét did the first-ever spoken word lip sync. If you could pick a Filipino monologue or speech to lip sync to your life to, what would it be?

X: Maricel Soriano! Nanay ko, agad-agad! Ayoko ng masikip! Ayoko ng madumi! Ayoko ng putik! Very Xilhouete ang linyang iyon kasi dapat we’re always polished.

 

(Maricel Soriano! My mother, point-blank! I don’t like it cramped! I don’t like it dirty! I don’t like mud! That line is very Xilhouete because we’re always supposed to be polished.)

 

 

RELATED: 7 Pinoy Movies to Watch on a Rainy Day and Where to Stream Them

 

If there’s anything that we can learn from the 12 amazing queens of Drag Race Philippines, it’s that Filipino talent is undeniably world-class and top-caliber. It would be a crime to sleep on us.

 

Catch the new episodes of “Drag Race Philippines” every Wednesday at 7PM, streaming on HBO GO, discovery+ and WoW Presents Plus. New episodes of “Untucked” stream every Friday at 7PM.

 

 

Art Matthew Ian Fetalver

Share
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Trending

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Don't miss a thing

Stay up to date to the latest news and articles.