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Glamour, Glitz and Giggles: Inside Manila’s Out Loud and Proud Drag Fiesta!

Glamour, Glitz and Giggles: Inside Manila’s Out Loud and Proud Drag Fiesta!

Exclusive “kiki” with the international queens before their Manila show

 

 

In case you missed it last June 14, 2024, Beyond Limits Events Production held a press conference at the Crimson Hotel Alabang ahead of their highly anticipated Out Loud and Proud Drag Pride Fiesta. The event, set to showcase some of the most iconic and beloved queens from RuPaul's Drag Race, to celebrate the essence of Pride Month with a blend of humor, heartfelt moments and a touch of glamor.

 

A dazzling lineup of Drag Royalty

The press conference was headlined by a spectacular lineup of drag fan favorites.

 

 

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A post shared by wonder.ph (@wondermagph)

 

Courtney Act. The stunning star and finalist from RPDR Season 6 who captivated global audiences with her singing, acting, beauty and undeniable charm.

 

Brooke Lynn Hytes. The elegant Queen of the North from RPDR Season 11 and the beloved host of Canada’s Drag Race and RPDR Canada VS. The World, known for her impeccable style and breathtaking performances.

 

Hannah Conda. The vibrant and hilarious queen from RPDR Australia Season 1 and RPDR UK VS. The World Season 2, who never fails to bring the house down with her comedic genius and larger-than-life personality.

 

Jujubee. A true fan favorite, known from RPDR Season 2, two-time All Stars contestant and RPDR UK VS. The World Season 1, whose soulful voice and heartfelt performances always leave a lasting impression.

 

Marina Summers. Our very own rising star from RPDR Philippines Season 1 and RPDR UK VS. The World, whose stunning looks and captivating performances have made her a beloved figure in the global drag scene.

 

Also present at the press conference was Sheldon Riley. The Eurovision contestant brings a unique blend of drag and mainstream music, promising a performance that will be a visual and auditory feast. 

 

First impressions and excitement

The queens were buzzing with excitement about being in the Philippines. 

 

“I’m a Filipina,” says Hannah Konda, who started by jokingly singing Marina Summer’s song—alluding to the fact that she’s an honorary Filipina, which is a title given to her by fans online. She states that despite the heat, she was thrilled to finally be in Manila, saying: “I've been sweating my tits off today. But I'm very honored to be here, I'm very excited.”

 

Courtney Act, visiting the Philippines for the first time, shares her excitement and admiration for performing alongside Marina Summers, whom she has admired for years. Brooke Lynn Hytes fondly recalls the long-awaited visit, delayed by the pandemic; while Jujubee, with her trademark humor, jokingly refers to her return to the Philippines as a homecoming, declaring, “Mabuhay, girls!” 

 

Sheldon Riley, who is half-Filipino, also expresses his enthusiasm about performing in his ancestral homeland for the first time.

 

Marina Summers follows with, “I thought you were going to ask me how it feels to be in Manila!” She jokingly adds that “It's my first time, actually,” which brought the room to a frenzy of laughter.

 

Q&A highlights

When asked about their feelings and experiences in Manila, Marina Summers highlights the significance of bringing international drag talent to the Philippines, making it accessible to local fans who often need visas to watch international shows.

 

When asked about the importance of encouraging pride among closeted Filipino gays, Jujubee emphasizes the importance of self-love and authenticity, stating, “I think it's going to be a little bit hard to answer because the way—I think with queerness, it's all on our own terms. And I believe that anybody that wakes up and decides that they can reveal that just to themselves, it's beautiful enough for me. So it's a process and it's timing.” 

 

But in true Jujubee fashion, she quips: “And I was never able to hide the fact that I'm gay. I'm so gay. [What would] y'all say—bakla? Is that what it is? [I’m] super bakla, sweetie—honey, I'm as gay as Hetty from Jollibee, sweetie.”

 

Brooke Lynn Hytes echoes this sentiment, stressing that coming out should be on one's own terms. She states, “You can't rush somebody to do something. They have to feel comfortable,” and further highlights the global progress in LGBTQIA+ acceptance.

 

 

On a lighter note, when asked about the infamous Manila heat, Jujubee jokes, “Thank God my wigs are all synthetic, so frizz isn’t an issue.” Courtney, on the other hand, playfully apologizes in advance, noting that her all-human hair wigs might be a bit frizzy but promised to showcase them proudly on show day.

 

Back on track, the queens were asked what to expect from the show, which was happening the following day. Courtney quickly responds, expressing hope for clear skies. She jokes, “We could be hot and wet dancing in the rain, but hopefully, it won’t rain.” 

 

Courtney reveals she brought an entire suitcase for a single show-stopping, battery-operated inflatable outfit, acknowledging the high standards of Filipino drag. She enthusiastically adds, “The girls in the Philippines put on a show,” and she plans to match their level of excellence. 

 

Brooke Lynn then shares, “It’s really nice because we don’t often get to work with our sisters anymore, so it's great to do this together.” She teased a Celine Dion power ballad, noting how much Filipinos love Celine. The crowd reacts with a mix of amazement and excitement. 

 

Jujubee chimes in, adding, “I’m going to wear a black leotard, thigh-high boots and a wig. I’m doing a classic drag queen number.”

 

In an exclusive question from Wonder, the queens are asked about what it means to be proud during Pride Month. 

 

Courtney shares, “I came out in the year 2000 when things were okay. They were certainly better than in the 90s and 80s. But to see how much the world's changed since then, it's really inspiring and amazing. I think about the young people coming of age now, getting to see so many queer people on TV, like on Drag Race…seeing our lives normalized and it's just about being yourself, which is a great message for anybody.”

 

 

She continues, “So the core message of being LGBTQIA+ is about finding out who you are and celebrating that. And I think there's something in that for straight people during Pride Month as well. It’s just about celebrating who you are, who you love, how you love, and I think that's a wonderful thing.”

 

Hannah Conda also offers her heartfelt perspective, highlighting the ongoing struggles for queer rights worldwide. She urged those in more accepting countries to not become complacent, stressing the need for solidarity with queer communities facing oppression. She states, “I think for people like us in countries that have acceptance and are more progressive, it's important for us as well to not get complacent—because I think we see, in many places around the world, where rights for queer people are being taken away or being limited or are in danger—and I think we always need to be aware of what's going on [in different countries] so we can make sure we stand with our family members all over the world and places that don't really have a voice.” Hannah also emphasizes the importance of unity within the LGBTQIA+ community, advocating for mutual respect and support to amplify their collective voice and effect meaningful change globally. 

 

What’s next for these queens?

Sheldon Riley shares his experience on the local noontime show, It’s Showtime, and the thrill of performing before an enthusiastic Filipino audience. He also teases his upcoming performance, which includes debuting a new upbeat single, Rewind, which marks his first venture into dance music. Sheldon wowed fans with his debut performance during the Out Loud and Proud event, which signals to the anticipation surrounding his new musical direction.

 

Brooke Lynn Hytes expresses enthusiasm in a possible All Host season of RPDR, envisioning a showdown among the global franchise hosts. Marina Summers, embodying Filipino competitive spirit, declares, “We'll help Mama Pao. We're going to prepare her for that…We'll win!” referring to RPDR Philippines host, Paolo Ballesteros. Brooke Lynn chimes in, “Finally, somebody from here will,” followed by a quick disclaimer, “I'm just kidding; I love you. Don't kill me, that was a joke,” sparking an uproar of laughter throughout the room.

 

A fake poster of Jujubee being fan casted in RPDR Mexico

 

Now for our favorite “Tita Juju.” When Jujubee was asked about her next inevitable RPDR appearance—given the running joke in the fandom of Jujubee having competed the most times amongst all RPDR queens—Jujubee spills the tea that she's eyeing Drag Masterchef. “Yup, Drag Masterchef. [Picture this:] I strut in, whip up the sickest stir-fry… sinigang, lechon, pancit. Oh, and what's that fish? Danggit.” 

 

Can we just make this show happen already? It's high time for Tita Juju to spice up the kitchen!

 

As for our Aussie diva, Courtney replies with a smile when asked about new music and the possibility of reuniting with the AAA girls—joined by fellow Drag Race alum Alaska and Willam, “No, no music plans yet. I was just at Eurovision with Sheldon in Sweden, which felt like a reconnaissance mission to see how it all works. There's nothing official, but being there, I fell in love all over again. I mean, I was already smitten with Eurovision, but experiencing it live was incredible. That would be a dream come true.”

 

“As for music with Will and Alaska,” she continues, “we haven't planned anything official, but we had a blast performing together in Tokyo last month. We're discussing ideas, but nothing's set in stone just yet.”

 

 

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A post shared by Courtney Act (@courtneyact)

 

And our very own Filipina Winnah, Marina Summers, shares: “I'll be staying in Manila for all of June because I miss it here. I'll be celebrating Pride throughout the month, then embarking on tours across the US and Canada. After that, I'll head out on an Asian tour, followed by visits to Australia and South America. So there's going to be a lot this year, so I'm really excited.”

 

Marina Summers enthusiastically concludes, “Traveling around the world, mama!”

 

 

When asked whether attendees at the Out Loud and Proud event would witness the iconic TV moment of Marina and Hannah Conda lip-syncing to Release Me, Hannah coyly teases the surprise. However, we can confirm that both Marina and Hannah recreated this unforgettable TV moment during the event, and it was truly epic!

 

Glamour, Glitz and Giggles: Inside Manila’s Out Loud and Proud Drag Fiesta!
Marina Summers, Hannah Conda, Brooke Lynn Hytes, Courtney Act, Jujubee and Sheldon Riley

 

The press conference concluded with a group photo and a promise from all the performers that the Out Loud and Proud Drag Fiesta would be an event to remember. With such a diverse and talented lineup, fans were eagerly awaiting what was sure to be a dazzling display of artistry and performance.

 

Despite the absence of fan-favorite queen Detox from RPDR Seasons 5 and All Stars Season 2 at the press conference, attendees of the event the following day were treated to her fantastic musical performance.

 

Follow these iconic queens on Instagram: Brooke Lynn Hytes @bhytes, Courtney Act @CourtneyAct,  Jujubee @Jujubeeonline, Hannah Conda @HannahCondaOfficial, Detox @TheOnlyDetox and Marina Summers @MarinaSummers.

 

Also follow @beyondlimitsep for news on other upcoming Drag tours in the Philippines and visit their website at https://beyondeventsph.com/.

 

 

Words Charles Boswell

Art Dani Sison

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