Pop Culture

Pinoy Pride: Filipino RuPaul’s

Drag Race Contestants

by Pearl Bacasmas, January 23, 2019 3:17pm

The queens that represented and slayed the runways

Pop Culture

Pinoy Pride: Filipino RuPaul’s Drag Race Contestants

by Pearl Bacasmas, January 23, 2019 3:17pm
The queens that represented and slayed the runways

When you think of a drag race, it’s not usually all about fast cars and who’s about to cross the finish line first.

In case you’re out of the loop, RuPaul’s Drag Race is a reality TV competition where contestants must serve their best Drag personait’s like playing dress up every day but on steroids. Hosted by legendary LGBTQIA+ icon RuPaul himself, the show is a platform for hundreds of talented performers for over a decade long run.

As the show continues to evolve and grow, so too has the talent—nothing is more challenging than getting dressed, applying drag makeup, and even doing hairall by themselves, in crunch time of two hours or less. Apart from that, each queen needs to work an impeccable lip-sync, be funny as hell, and please a crowd.

Drag Race is the Olympics of Drag artistry and to celebrate the heat of the ongoing All Stars 4 (streaming on Netflix), here are the queens who not only represented a lot of charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent but raised the Filipino flag in the international Drag scene:

Ongina, Season 1

Ongina was the first queen to represent our country in the trailblazing Season One of RuPaul's Drag Race. Born as Ryan Ong Palao in the Philippines, her personality caught viewers’ attention; bubbly and always fashion-forward—sporting a bald head in a sea of snatched wigs.

Her moment of passion and bravery when she shared her story about living with HIV won the viewers’ hearts and a MAC Viva Glam campaign.

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Even after her stint on the first season, Ongina keeps on slaying the runway and stage. She took part as a Drag mentor in the Drag Race spin-off, Drag U, and has hosted a series on Logo called HIV and Me—where she continued her advocacy of education and prevention of HIV.

Vivienne Pinay, Season 5

Vivienne Pinay or Micheal Donehoo carried her heritage on her sleeve. Her drag name is in honor of her Filipino mother even though RuPaul pronounces her name as “Pee-nay,” pun intended.

The judges often criticized her as “resting on pretty” or relying on her looks, which ultimately ended her run early in the race with a double elimination on episode 4.

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Since her appearance on Drag Race, Vivienne Pinay has fallen far off the radar. Rumor in Reddit-sphere is she has quite the drag life. Her last TV appearance was in a 2016 web-show episode of Alyssa’s Secret alongside with her drag mother, Alyssa Edwards.

Jiggly Caliente, Season 4

Jiggly may not be the most polished, especially with her runway looks, but this Laguna-born queen slayed with her infectious personality. Her lip-sync rendition of Britney’s "Toxic" floored us on the Season 4 opener.

Her short stint—she almost made it halfway through the show—created ripples of success for her career: she ditched her television ditsy persona, came out as a transgender woman, and opened a discussion about Filipino representation in western media. She even released a hip-hop album early last year where she raps in Filipino!

Phi Phi O’Hara, Season 4 and All Stars 2

Yes, the iconic Season Four showgirl is of Filipino-Portuguese descent! Dubbed as the villain of her season for causing major drama, Phi Phi O’Hara samples her strong personality with well-curated looks—her sci-fi alien creature look for All Stars 2 had us gagged.

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Phi Phi continues to serve looks in the streets of New York! In 2016, she gained attention by posting a drag look on social media every day of the year and called it“35 Days of Drag”—this made us rethink our resolutions this year.

Manila Luzon, Season 3, All Stars 1, and All Stars 4

Back by popular demand, Manila Luzon is still on the race to be the next Drag Superstar. She’s already a superstar in our book, FYI.

Proudly Filipino—born Karl Philip Michael Westerberg to a Filipino mother and an American father.Manila incorporates her Filipino heritage and keeps tabs on Filipino pop culture trends in her looks. Remember when she impersonated controversial former first lady, Imelda Marcos on her first Snatch Game and made it work?

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Can we all agree that Manila is the All Stars 4’s Lipsync assassin? She topped three consecutive challenges and one of the fiercest contenders to be inducted in the Drag Race Hall of All Stars. Manila Luzon is on top of her game, and it’s about time Ru crowns a Filipina queen.

Who’s your favorite Filipina queen? Spill the tea on the comments section!


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