The Ascension of Xilhouete

The Ascension of Xilhouete


What joining Drag Race meant for the creative director and drag mother.

The inaugural season gave us a stellar cast, the first franchise with two transwomen as permanent judges, an impressive serving of love it or hate it moments: impressive fashion, the longest Snatch Game in history, the only pit crew with shoes, the best girl group challenge across all franchises, and enough drama to justify the very first Untucked outside of the US. From Meet The Queens alone, many Drag Race fans worldwide said it looked like the best casted show Drag Race had produced since All Stars 2, and that’s saying a lot. Our queens didn’t disappoint when the show aired because we all fell in love with their uniquely Filipino charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent—pure TV gold!

True to what you would expect from Xilhouete, while most of her sisters were releasing new weekly t-shirts to sell to hungry fans, she launched her own genderless fragrance: Xilhouete’s Eau De Parfume. Always unpredictable. Always extraordinary. Often described as the show’s dark horse, her time on our TV screens was a revelation. Episode after episode, we saw her artistry blossom beyond her long, black, flat, middle-part wig, long-winded speeches, and explosive edits.

Call Me Mother

Xilhouete confesses that she didn’t join Drag Race for the crown but to reintroduce Paper Dolls, a group of drag performers in the 70s, to the world. There is a physicalized passion whenever she mentions them: her body tenses, her voice trembles, and her eyes glisten and start to form tears. She didn’t expect this goal to be achieved in the first episode, with her terno that had the faces of the Paper Dolls, which landed her at the bottom for it being too simple for the Drag Race runway. “Proudest moment ko ‘yun, to finally unravel the faces of these people worldwide. Puso ko ‘yun eh,” Xilhouete says.

This kind of intention is what sets her apart from the other girls. She stands on the stage not for herself alone, but for the legacy, the history, the pillars, and the trailblazers of queer culture.

“At the end of the day, sana they don’t just watch the show, but they listen to the show.”


Main judge Jiggly Caliente pointed out that she has got to be one dangerous competitor, having been the only queen with the upper trajectory in the competition. She started at the bottom and climbed her way up without looking back. “To last that long and compete with these younger kids (expletive), I did so well! I did great, honestly,” she boasted. “I don’t care if they find me overconfident sa show—I was not! I was just being me and embracing all of the blessings God gave me and imparting them verbally. Para mag-manifest ang isang bagay, you have to say it. You have to write it down and do it.”

Art Direction BRIE VENTURA

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