Drag Race Philippines has showcased the talent of local queens, with the contestants flaunting their performance skills in the “Pop Off, Ate” challenge.
Long-time fans of the show, however, have always known that Filipino queens are talented. After all, Fil-Am Ongina was one of the queens in the first-ever season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which aired in 2009.
She was followed by Manila Luzon, Jiggly Caliente, Rock M. Sakura, Jaremi Carey or Phi Phi O’Hara, and Vivienne Pinay. Other Filipino queens have made a splash on other franchises of the show, like JAJA and Mocha Diva on Drag Race Thailand; and Kyne, Stephanie Prince, and Kimmy Couture on Canada’s Drag Race.
Outside the show, there are many more beautiful and talented drag queens, like Diva Soria and Digna in the US, April Licious in Vietnam, and Bea Lissima in Canada.
Now we wonder, why are there so many Filipino drag queens on the Drag Race franchise and around the world? We asked Caliente, who is currently one of the judges of Drag Race Philippines, that exact question.
“Because we’re f****** amazing,” she says.
“We’re just at a different wavelength as queens because our humor’s different, our fashion’s different, and our culture’s just so different. If we put that with drag, it just makes a more multifaceted queen. It’s easy to be funny. If you noticed, a lot of the Filipino queens on all the franchises are very funny,” Caliente adds.
Despite being funny, they have all made their own mark on the show. She said, “Look at me, Manila, and Ongina. The only thing we have in common is that we’re three Filipinos. Our style, our point of view, and our attack on drag are completely different from each other.”
The same could be said for the girls of Drag Race Philippines, who have brought their own flavor to the show.
Caliente jokes, “We’re not just the pretty queens. I am the prettiest Filipino. Well, not anymore because f****** Minty [Fresh] and Marina [Summers] showed up.”
Filipinos in general are known to be hardworking and our culture of diligence also applies to drag. Caliente cites the queens of O Bar as an example, who start their rehearsals at 4PM, do their run-through at 9PM, and perform at midnight. She says, “That is dedication. If that is not work ethic at its finest, I don’t know what to tell you people.”
The latest episode of Drag Race Philippines proved just that. For the “Pop Off, Ate” challenge, the queens were divided into two groups and were asked to write their own lyrics to a song, create their own choreography, and perform it live in front of the judges. As Turing, one of the contestants, said on the show, the performance is a representation of Philippine drag: world-class.
Drag Race Philippines streams on discovery+, HBO GO, and WOW Presents Plus every Wednesday. For the first time ever, the spin-off and after-show, Drag Race Philippines: Untucked streams every Friday.
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