In case you missed it, Manila Luzon, aka the Filipino-German-Swedish drag queen who won 1st runner-up in the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, was just recently in Manila! Since Manila’s stint on RuPaul’s, the drag queen has grown to become a beloved gay icon among Pinoy fans, who call themselves “fanilas”!
While Manila Luzon was in the country, the RuPaul’s Drag Race legend could not pass up the opportunity to do a Filipino-themed photoshoot with some talented Pinoys.
For the shoot, Manila donned some seriously fire outfits such as singkil- and Igorot-inspired ensembles by Patrick Isorena, as well as items from Happy Andrada’s Transcendence Collection. Manila was also styled by Nio Manzano, who has been featured on Vogue Italia, while her gorgeous photographs were taken by fashion photographer Mark Francis Parallag (@markfrancisphotography).
When In Manila spoke to the fabulous Manila, her thoughts on the Philippines, and what she loves about all things drag.
How was your most recent trip to Manila?
It was fantastic to be back in Manila to see my friends and make new ones! And it was hot!
Could you tell us more about your recent photoshoot? How was the whole experience?
I enjoyed it very much. We had fun playing dress up! I love collaborating with other creative minds and seeing what beautiful images we can make together.
Out of all the looks you did during the photoshoot, which one is your favorite?
We photographed a look by Patrick Isorena inspired by the Singkil dance. I learned that dance when I was young.
How in touch are you with your Filipino roots?
Growing up in the States my Filipino culture was limited. I earned a lot of my cultural knowledge through Filipino folk dances, the tinikling, pandango, and singkil.
Are there Filipino gay icons you’re particularly fond of?
Lea Salonga is my hero! Her voice gives me shivers!
When you’re not performing in drag, what do you like to do?
I like to sleep…I party a lot as a drag queen so I need my beauty sleep.
What went behind the process of choosing your name Manila Luzon?
I wanted to pay tribute to my Filipino roots, so I named myself after my mother’s hometown.
What’s your favorite part while getting ready to go full-on drag?
I enjoy the entire process from designing my look to putting on the make up. I actually like everything leading up to the finished look. My least favorite part is the actual performance.
Are you open to incorporating some Filipino elements into your look soon?
Yes. Look at the photos by Mark!
What’s a favorite drag performance of yours?
All of the paid gigs.
What’s the best thing about being a drag queen?