How Drag Helped Manila Luzon Embrace Her Identity After Being Outed

How Drag Helped Manila Luzon Embrace Her Identity After Being Outed


After being outed before she could come to terms with her identity, Manila Luzon shares the life-changing moment when she discovered the art of drag. Read the excerpt below.

Related: Homecoming Queen: How Manila Luzon Is Bringing Filipino Pride To The World Stage

“From my point of view, when I came out, my parents were very reluctant to accept me. It took me almost 20 years before I actually came to terms with my own identity, and, you know, that was my own identity. So, sometimes you just have to be patient ‘cause sometimes it takes a little bit of time for your family to also get onboard. They’re going against an entire lifetime of conditioning to think a certain way. So, you come out, sometimes you want to expect everyone else to accept you immediately, but for my case it took a long time and it was something that I had to nurture and rebuild with my family this new side of me.

Jeepney Kween dress by JAN GARCIA

I was patient and I allowed time for my family to come around to it and now they’re more supportive than ever, and the fact that they can love me for who I am truly now is great. But if that’s not the case—‘cause with a lot of people, that’s not the case—there are other people out there that you can create your own family with. You create your family with your friends, your extended family can become your immediate family, the drag community is really supportive; you can have an entire drag family, and that’s just as great. It doesn’t have to be, ‘Oh, I was born from this person or I’m blood-related to them.’ It’s who you choose,” Manila proudly says.

And that’s why the art of drag is very important to her. Because in many ways, it has allowed her to be and celebrate her true, authentic self. But Manila wasn’t always this…fabulous.

Homo-Foliage Couture by GERALD FAROFALDANE; Melt earrings, wire chain necklace, Rocky Snake set in gold all by MAZEE; 8-Strand Seed Pearl Necklace, Flat Omega Choker Chain all by SUKI JEWELRY; Dried ombre nails by EXTRAORDINAIL

“I was kinda forced out and pushed out of the closet. I wasn’t ready! Like, I kind of got comfortable in hiding who I was and finally someone just kind of let it all out and it was a very traumatizing moment for me. But I’m so glad it happened. Yeah, I was outed and it was scary and I felt embarrassed and ashamed. I felt like I didn’t do a good enough job hiding this part of me. But once it was out in the open, I was like, ‘Why was I hiding this?’ This is one of the greatest blessings I have in my life, this is something that makes me different from other people, and it’s something that not everyone gets. And so, I embraced it, I leaned into it, then I started doing drag and getting dressed up, and I became me.

So, sometimes you just have to take the leap and just accept who you are and then everyone else will kind of follow suit. Like, if you accept who you are, then other people have no choice but to accept who you are, and if they don’t accept you, it doesn’t matter ‘cause you accept you.”

White Rabbit ribbon dress by JOB DACON, Carolina earrings by BAG OF GLITTERS, 0A Grand Spades Ruby diamond necklace 14kt, multi-shape diamond Tennis bracelet 14kt by LUNA BY DRAKE DUSTIN, Emerald Illusion Cluster bracelet and diamond scale bracelet by SUKI JEWELRY, Dried ombre nails by EXTRAORDINAIL

And that’s the beauty of drag. It isn’t just about self-acceptance and confidence, it’s about celebrating yourself. And that’s one potent message she wishes to share to her Filipino fans.

“When I first started doing drag, it was like unleashing something that was being suppressed in me.”

Manila Luzon

“The first time I looked in the mirror when I had painted my face using my mom’s makeup on her makeup drawer in her bathroom, I looked in the mirror and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m so beautiful!’ Who knew that a little paint will make you feel so gorgeous, you know what I mean? And then the more I started doing it, the more it just kind of became part of who I am. Now, it’s harder to differentiate.”

Celebrating all kinds of drag queens, Manila Luzon reveals exclusive details about Drag Den Philippines in MEGA’s December 2021 issue now available on ReadlyMagzter, Press Reader and Zinio

Creative direction JEB FRONDA
Art direction JANN PASCUA
Photography assistants ERWIN BOTIN and PIERRE GUEVARRA
Shot on location at AVIGNON CLINIC, BGC
Shoot coordination KZ FRANCISCO and MJ ALMERO

Order your print copy of this month's MEGA Magazine:
Download this month's MEGA digital copy from:
Subscribe via [email protected]