On her experience as a drag artist in Mudrakels, a Youtube competition series: “I learned that I’m capable of so much more than I ever thought possible.”
Mudrakels wrapped up its first season last month with a finale that revealed Savvy Tan and Mrs. Tan as the Anak ng Mudra and Queen Mudra, respectively. Hosted by Lady Gagita, the show was a successful mixture of entertainment, mentorship, and competition, showcasing the vital role drag mothers play in molding the next wave of drag talents. The duo bested 7 other mother-and-daughter teams, with Savvy lip-syncing her way to the top.
As the first winner of Mudrakels, AFAB (assigned female at birth) queen Savvy Tan wants to grab this golden platform to promote diversity and inclusivity in the drag community. She says: “I aim to raise awareness and uplift my fellow AFAB queens while also being an ally to all underrepresented groups in the drag community, including trans and nonbinary drag artists, drag kings, and drag creatures.”
Let’s get to know more about Savvy below.
How did you get interested in drag?
I first became interested in drag when I attended my very first Pride when I was 15. As a newly out teenager, I wasn’t fully immersed in the community yet. So, when I saw these tall, glamorous queens performing on stage, I was completely captivated. I remember, immediately when I got home that night, I started binge-watching Drag Race, and from that point on, I was obsessed.
Tell us about your Mudrakels experience.
It’s one of the craziest experiences I’ve ever had in my entire life. I came into Mudrakels as this socially awkward girl who, frankly, didn’t love herself enough, but being in drag completely changed that. It’s so mind-boggling to think that layers and layers of makeup was the thing that finally made me see myself for who I really was. But beyond personal growth, I am so grateful for the opportunity to participate in a show that champions diversity and inclusivity in the drag community. As a lesbian cis-woman, I was welcomed into the competition with open arms, which was a testament to the show’s progressive and accepting environment. Meeting and working with so many talented drag artists from different backgrounds and perspectives was truly inspiring.
Ultimately, Mudrakels gave me more than just a crown – it gave me a found family, confidence, and a renewed sense of purpose. I will always be grateful for the experience and the amazing people that I met because of this show.
What have you learned from Mrs. Tan about the art of drag and performing?
Aside from the creative process of prepping for a performance and getting in drag, Mrs. Tan has opened my eyes to the true meaning of drag beyond the fantasy. I’ve learned that drag can be a way to connect with people and make a difference in the world just by simply celebrating your most authentic self. But more than that, knowing her has ignited a fire inside of me to become more fearless and passionate about my own creativity and to use my platform to make a real impact in the community.
How do you manage the criticism you may encounter as a bio queen within the drag community mostly associated with gay men?
While I haven’t personally faced much criticism as an AFAB queen, I understand that some people in the drag community may have reservations about it, given that drag has historically been associated with gay men and trans women. However, I believe that drag is about breaking boundaries and pushing the limits of gender expression and that my drag is just as valid as any other performer’s.
That said, as a new drag artist, I’m open to criticisms that could help me improve my craft. At the same time, I try not to let others’ opinions define me or my worth as a performer.
Looking ahead, what are your goals for your newly found persona? Are you pursuing drag as a career? What is your relationship with Mrs. Tan after the show?
Right now, I’m still getting to know Savvy. I just started doing drag, and I feel as though there’s still so much for me to learn – not just in terms of perfecting my look and performances but also in terms of immersing myself in the local drag community and educating myself in the culture because my goal is to use my voice to amplify the voices of our underrepresented drag artists. But yeah, definitely, you should all be watching out for Savvy Tan real soon.
As for my relationship with Mrs. Tan after the show, I think we’ve only gotten closer ever since. I just love her so much. I still continue to learn from her even after the show, and she still supports me in any way she can – she’s literally the best drag mother I could ask for, and I’m so thankful that she’s a part of my life.
Your message to Mrs. Tan for Mother’s Day:
Happy Mother’s Day, Mrs. Tan! I just want to take a moment to express how grateful I am to have you in my life as not only a mother figure but also as a friend and a mentor. Thank you for empowering me and always pushing me to be the best version of myself while providing guidance and support along the way. I truly believe that you are the best Mudra out of all the Mudras from Mudrakels – not just because of your incredible talent but also because of your kind heart and nurturing spirit. Your guidance and wisdom have been instrumental in helping me find my footing in and out of drag, and I could not have done it without you. I love you, Maaaa!
Mudrakels was produced by Feel Good Studios and Ride or Die Studios. Watch the 10-episode show on Feel Good Studios’ Youtube channel.
Photography KARLO TORIO