Filipino drag takes center stage on a global platform

Adam Laurena - The Philippine Star
Filipino drag takes center stage on a global platform
The competing queens of Drag Race Philippines are Brigiding, Corazon, Eva Le Queen, Gigi Era, Lady Morgana, Marina Summers, Minty Fresh, Precious Paula Nicole, Prince, Turing, Viñas DeLuxe and Xilhouete
STAR / File

The competing queens of Drag Race Philippines were formally introduced to the public via an exclusive viewing party of the show’s pilot episode held on Aug. 16 at the XYLO at the Palace.

Brigiding, Corazon, Eva Le Queen, Gigi Era, Lady Morgana, Marina Summers, Minty Fresh, Precious Paula Nicole, Prince, Turing, Viñas DeLuxe and Xilhouete were all decked out in their fierce, jaw-dropping ensembles as they joined Drag Race fans and members of the press in watching the first episode of the Filipino franchise of the Emmy-winning show RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Also present were main host and head judge Paolo Ballesteros, permanent judges Jiggly Caliente and KaladKaren, and rotating judges BJ Pascual and Rajo Laurel who joined fans in screaming over the fierceness, glam and drama brought by Drag Race Philippines’ first of many episodes.

After the preview, the event’s hosts G3 San Diego and Tim Yap asked Jiggly and KaladKaren to describe the feeling of being part of the Drag Race Philippines judges’ panel. The former, who was a contestant on the fourth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars, highlighted the many firsts the Filipino franchise had to offer.

“This franchise is the first of many. We are the franchise to have two transwomen at the helm of the judges’ table. We are also the first franchise to have the (RuPaul’s Drag Race) Untucked because we are also very dramatic as f**k,” she said.

Main host and head judge Paolo Ballesteros (center) with permanent judges (from left) KaladKaren and Jiggly Caliente.

Moreover, Jiggly expressed gratitude to World of Wonder, the production company that created RuPaul’s Drag Race, for the opportunity to showcase Philippine drag on a global platform.

“These girls are so talented, so amazing. They are also beautiful human beings and that’s why (this) couldn’t have happened to a better franchise and I’m so glad that World of Wonder decided to put their eyes on the Philippines and showcase the amazing Philippine drag that is really world-class,” she expressed.

Jiggly ended her speech by expressing her love and support towards the Season 1 contestants of Drag Race Philippines, calling them her younger sisters and thanking them for the sisterhood formed during filming.

“Sa akin lang, my Philippine drag sisters in the United States, we’re already sisters. Being a RuGirl, you’re part of a sisterhood. Tinitignan ko kayong lahat, napakabait ng mga bunso kong kapatid,” she tearfully said.

KaladKaren, on the other hand, said it was an honor to have been part of the judges’ panel of Drag Race Philippines and see the contestants show their most authentic selves to the world.

“Seeing all of you, being yourself, enjoying yourself, showcasing your talents all over the world, you all deserve to be seen on the world stage,” the impersonator-host told the competing queens.

“When you guys were introduced to Jiggly and I, we’re both so emotional because we realized that you guys deserve this platform and this is time, this is the moment that we take up space (in) the whole drag community and the whole LGBT community, not only in the Philippines but in the entire world,” she added.

KaladKaren concluded her speech by saying how the competing queens deserve the spotlight given to them by Drag Race Philippines.

“Deserve na deserve niyo. Kaya kami ngayon naiiyak kasi panahon na, eto na ’yon and I know lahat kayo ginawa ang best niyo to showcase your talent, to be who you are, so congratulations, ladies,” she said.

Drag Race Philippines had its two-episode premiere last Aug. 17 and is currently available on streaming sites Discovery+, HBO GO, and WOW Presents Plus. Its Untucked episodes, which feature behind-the-scenes drama and unseen footage from the show, will be aired today, Aug. 19.

RuPaul’s Drag Race, created in 2009 by RuPaul and World of Wonder, has featured the excellence of past Filipino drag queens in the Emmy Award-winning series and its several international franchises, including the likes of Ongina, Manila Luzon and Rock M Sakura.


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