A Glimpse Into the Creative Blueprint of Drag Artist Mrs. Tan

A Glimpse Into the Creative Blueprint of Drag Artist Mrs. Tan


Mrs. Tan’s drag is more than just a performance; it’s a rebellion of ideas, thoughts, and stories that provoke the status quo.

When Mrs. Tan performs on the stage, the audience is always part of the art—both submit to reflection and emotional release. Her art is a riveting channel that narrates personal and political stories infused with intense flavors designed to evoke thought and make hearts beat faster. 

Who or what are your inspirations that shaped your persona and how you perform?

Coming from a very matriarchal family, I have always been fascinated with the image of independent and powerful women like my lola. She’s always one of the biggest inspirations in shaping who Mrs. Tan is.


In terms of performance, bagets pa lang ako eh mahilig na ‘ko mag-kwento. I am always curious with everything that’s happening around me and as someone na laging mag-isa, I want to share these stories that inspired me, changed me, and made me who I am now.

How has your artistry evolved through the years?

Gumanda, luminis, <at> bumango. Charot!


Kidding aside, I discovered that Mrs. Tan can be a powerful being, closer to who Ian wants to be. As I became more in tune <with> who I am, my drag became more personal, more powerful, and more vulnerable, but still, trying not to be afraid of Ian’s past demons. 

Describe the process of conceptualizing your performances.

BAKLA-in mo lang!

B (BET) – Bet mo muna dapat ‘yung piyesa. Kasi kung ‘di mo gets, paano pa sila?

A (AWRA) – Ano ‘yung awra ‘nung piyesa? Anong gustong sabihin ‘nung kanta at paano mo siya irarampa?

K (KWARTA) – May budjey ba ‘yan? Kung wala, paano mo kakabugin ang istorya with your creativity, ‘di ba?

L (LETRA) – Kabisaduhin ang lyrics ng kanta. Siguraduhing plakado ang bunganga.

A (ARIBA) – Hindi ito ang tamang panahon para magduda. It’s time na magtiwala ka.

“GO, GO, GO,” chika nga ni Ruffa Mae.

What are some of your memorable and impactful performances, and what messages did they convey?

One would be when I first did Defying Gravity in Nectar. It served as my awakening moment that the audience is ready for that kind of performance—a performance that asks, provokes, and slaps! Hinamehame wave ko din noon si PDutz kaya literal na may impact siya! <she laughs>


TANDEMONIUM has to be one. It’s the first time I merged my performance art background and drag. It is a world where I revisit some of my lived experiences as a drag artist doing live streams. Essentially, it incited emotions from people despite being virtual. Sabi nga ‘nung mentor ko, it’s the closest we can get from human interaction ‘nung pandemya.

Bohemian Rhapsody of Queen din! It was done first nung nasa dark place ako. It served as my way para ilabas sa mundo at ‘wag lang itago sa sarili ko how I battle these inner demons I have. 

Napili ko ‘tong three performances na ‘to kasi may common denominator sila: frustration. Dahil doon sa same feeling of frustration, mas raw yung emotions na napakita ko sa kanila. Naging therapy ‘yung drag for me during my darkest moments. Every performance became a moment of introspection for me. Tinatanong ko sarili ko, “bakit ko ba ‘to nararamadaman?” Sometimes ‘yung mga tanong na ‘to ay hindi ko rin mahanapan ng sagot. So, need ko sya ibato sa mundo in the hopes na may kahit isang taong may sagot o kahit isang tao man lang na may parehas na tanong na pwede kong makasabay sa paghanap ng sagot.

How do you use drag to translate political activism?

Mrs. Tan is a collection of stories. Mga kwento ko bilang probinsyanang bading na nagpunta sa Maynila para buhayin ang sarili at tumulong sa pamilya. Mga kwento ng kaibigan ko na iniwan ng jowa dahil effem sila. Mga kwento ng mga kasamahan ko sa pagsulong ng mga adbokasiya tulad ng SOGIE Equality Bill. 


These are the same stories that I use to fuel my drag to serve as the mirrors that reflect my inner frustrations as a queer individual. I want my drag to be the megaphone that amplifies thoughts I was silenced from echoing. I also want my drag to serve as food to the viewer’s soul that’s hungry for opportunities to challenge our patriarchal country’s status quo.

Personal will always be political, especially if these personal experiences come from silenced marginalized groups. I love how drag provides that momentary rose-tinted lens, an oasis almost, for people to see how our stories matter. Kwento naman natin. Kwento naman namin.

How do you handle the backlash that comes with it?

As an artist, I have great faith in the stories that I tell, the time it took me to prepare and conceptualize every performance that I do, and the values and principles that <go> with it.

Every feedback is welcome —that’s how we learn as creatives.

To learn is to grow. To grow is to be better. And being better is one step closer to being the person that you’re supposed to be.


Sabi nga ni Sir Tony Mabesa sa isa naming class, mas okay na may comment sa work mo, good or bad, rather than none at all because it just proves that your message came across and you have something to work on the next time you do your work.

How do you hope your performances will influence your audience?

I hope to be a bad influence because I always want to crush people’s preconceived societal boxes, challenge the beliefs that were stoned, and echo the voices that have been continuously silenced.


What’s the most rewarding thing about drag?

Being the person I never thought I could be.

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