We sat down with the freshly appointed Ru Girls of the Drag Race universe before the exclusive viewing party for a fun and spoiler-free chat
Our hearts have been beating wildly with joy and excitement since unveiling the eagerly awaited sophomore season of the well-loved Philippine franchise of the groundbreaking show. RuPaul’s Drag Race opened the floodgates for queer art and expression to thrive and get its well-deserved appreciation and recognition.
As a gay boy born in the early 80s, seeing this kind of visibility teeming with the highest of celebrations will always bring tears to my eyes. We’re at a time when transwomen are revered and applauded. Apart from retained judges KaladKaren and Jiggly Caliente, we have three transwomen competing to become the next Drag Superstar this season. The show also extended its arm by casting queens from Cebu and CDO.
The release of the Meet The Queens video gave us a glorious glimpse into the people who will nestle within our hearts, give us queer joy, and emerge as game-changers in the industry. The waiting period is finally behind us as we had a charming talk with the newly inaugurated Ru Girls just before the exclusive premiere party at Xylo.
How did you prepare for Drag Race, both mentally and creatively?
Tiny DeLuxe: It’s really a big help that I have a drag mother [who] pioneered Drag Race Philippines season 1. I had a lot of help from her and also from my best friends. Mentally, ewan ko, nakapag-prepare ba ako for that? I don’t know, actually. Ni-li-live ko na lang ‘yung moment every single day. Creatively naman, y’all will see the material!
Verouschka Levels: It [was] so hard to quit my job, and I really packed everything and moved back to Cebu. It’s been so hard for me mentally. Creatively, I have been working in fashion for around 20 years, so it’s quite easy, and I have a lot of connections. I’m very happy that I’ve been supported by them, and I’m so grateful to be here.
M1ss Jade So: Creatively, nag-drop out ako sa college for this—graduating ako, thesis na! Nababaliw ako sa thesis ko and then, ‘Oh my god, there’s [a] Drag Race audition!’ At first, nagdadalawang isip ako pero, ayun, pinursue ko siya. For the outfits, [with the] help of my friends and family, naitawid naman siya nang maayos. There are also trainings with friends [like] improvs, sketching, and dancing. And also, mentally, hindi ako nag-prepare.
M1ss Jade So: Wala, ito na ‘yun. Baliw-baliwan na lang.
DeeDee Marié Holliday: Yeah, mentally, it was kinda difficult for me because I was going through a dark moment [in] my life. Before Drag Race, I was gonna leave drag completely, [but] then they announced season 2. My best friend told me that I had been getting ready for this since 2009, [then] I realized, ‘Yeah, I deserve to be here.’ So I psyched myself up, went through therapy, and got ready. Creatively, I did not use a lot of my connections. I just wanted to stay true to myself. I just want to show the world that DeeDee Marié Holliday is still here, bitches!
Captivating Katkat: Ako naman, I have so many experiences na in drag competitions, so, alam ko na paano sumali ng competitions mentally, emotionally, [and] physically. Pero ang pinaka-importante talaga is money. You need to invest kasi kailangan maganda ‘yung looks mo. [Dapat] maganda ‘yung ipapakita mo bukod [pa] doon sa talent mo. Kailangan talaga prepared ka [sa] lahat. Mentally naman, I’m so lucky na I have friends na nagco-comfort [sa’kin] kapag marami masyadong iniisip. Pero mentally talaga, hindi rin ako masyado naka-prepare.
Matilduh: Since I also work as a production designer and a florist, the creative process is not new to me anymore. Preparing for the show, I just applied what I [did] at my other work. Tapos na-back-up-an lang ako ng friends [and] ng family na tumulong sa’kin financially and of course, habang nage-execute ng mga visions ko for my runways, medyo nadalian ako when I asked for help.
What’s one thing about yourself that would surprise the viewers when they watch you on DRPH?
Hana Beshie: Magugulat talaga sila kasi I came in without my parents knowing that I do drag. Siyempre magugulat sila. ‘[Expletive], ‘yung anak ko nasa Drag Race!’ So, for me, it’s a brave move and [it’s a way] to show my family my world and the art that I love. Gano’n!
ØV Cünt: Since it’s already out na, maririnig naman natin sa lyrics ng “BOOGSH!,” ‘I’m gonna take you for a ride.’ So, the vision of the front [may not be] the person inside. That’s one thing everybody should watch out [for]. Just wait for that episode.
Arizona Brandy: Ayun din, ‘yung sa “BOOGSH!” ko, obvious naman na mahilig ako uminom. So, parang, hala, magagalit ‘yung mom ko. Hindi, pero makikita nila na sobrang flamboyant ko, as in to the highest level. Pa-hard kasi ako eh, char! Makikita nila ‘yung true self ko na walang limit. Makikita nila kung sino talaga ako.
Bernie: Ako, for me, kasi ang tagal ko na rin sa drag eh—15 to 16 years—parang wala naman ako sigurong tinatago sa family and friends ko. Siguro isa lang masasabi ko na aabangan nila sa’kin sa Drag Race: iba ‘yung Bernie na makikita nila.
If you were to represent your Drag Race journey so far through a lip sync performance, which song would you choose?
DeeDee Marié Holliday: I’m gonna say, “I Am Changing” from the musical, Dreamgirls. My life is going to change once the show airs.
Tiny DeLuxe: Ako ano, “Sayang,” [by Claire Dela Fuente.] Charing!
Captivating Katkat: Ako, ang pinaka ano ko talaga, ‘yung “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten. Kasi, you know, everyday is a learning process. From these learnings, we grow. And then, ‘di ba, just continue to fight.
Tiny DeLuxe: Actually, from Dreamgirls din: “And I’m Telling You [I’m Not Going]” kasi we ain’t going anywhere.
M1ss Jade So: Mine is “Venus” by Lady Gaga because my drag journey has a lot of turbulence, ups and downs, and especially, blasting off.
Verouschka Levels: Maybe ‘yung “I Drink Wine” [by] Adele na lang ‘cause I need wine.
Matilduh: It’s from the Drag Race Live: Las Vegas. Feeling ko makaka-relate lahat kasi, especially Ru girls, parang they made that song for Ru girls. Ang title niya is “I Made It.”
If you could create a new challenge for Drag Race, what would it be?
ØV Cünt: I would love to do the zipline challenge. Zipline challenge from Bataan to the studio.
Hana Beshie: Ako gusto ko chubby bunny.
Arizona Brandy: Gusto ko ‘yung PHP 1,000 budget challenge. Mamamalengke ka gamit ‘yung PHP 1,000.
Bernie: Gusto ko alak runway. Kailangan lasing na lasing ka. Tingnan natin kung tatayo ka talaga.
Astrid Mercury: Gusto ko kakain ka ng exotic food. Pang-mini challenge, siyempre.
Nicole Pardaux: Why not arm wrestle?
Hana Beshie: Gusto ko sana, pero malay niyo andu’n siya sa show—outdoor challenge. ‘Yung lalabas kami tapos pupunta ng Divisoria, gano’n. Maglalapot kami.
You can now watch Drag Race Philippines season 2 on HBO GO and WOW Presents Plus
Photography by KIM ANGELA SANTOS