Pinay 'Drag Race' star Aura Mayari shares struggles as an immigrant

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 01 2023 07:11 PM

Aura Mayari IG
Photo from Aura Mayari's Instagram account.

MANILA -- Filipina "Drag Race" star Aura Mayari shared her story about being an immigrant in the United States.

In a lengthy Instagram post, Aura narrated how her family struggled in the Philippines and decided to move overseas. 

"l am an immigrant. My family moved here to the US for a better life. My dad was lucky to get a contract in the US and got us visas and moved us here. I grew up in a squatter area in the Philippines by the NAIA airport in Manila, called PILDERA. I grew up with nothing. We lived in a slum, a very poor neighborhood," Aura said. 

"There were days, when we didn't have food to eat and my mom had to tuck me into our bed (the floor) hungry, telling me that there will be food to eat the next day," she added. 

Aura looked back on how people looked down on her and how it made her conscious of her actions. 

"My dad worked his ass off and was able to get us out of there and eventually, moved to America, the dream land. I was always a happy kid. I was goofy and funny, happy with anything that I had, and didn't have. Here in the US, kids made fun of how I talked. I remember a bunch of kids mobbing around me asking me to say words, and would be laughed at for saying them incorrectly," Aura said. 

"I became very self-conscious and hated the way I spoke. In high school, I hated doing presentations and my whole body would shake (visibly) every time I had to get in front of people to speak. I go online and type up words on YouTube just to hear how the words should be pronounced and I practice with it," she added.

The drag queen credited "Drag Race" for helping boost her confidence.

"Until today, I stutter, I pause mid sentence, my heart would start beating so fast every time I have to talk. I get frustrated with myself because sometimes I can't express myself fully because I have a hard time finding the right words to say. I grew anxiety around this. 'Drag Race' has really pushed me out of my comfort zone, with all these interviews, press, and even the challenges on the show," Aura said.

"And I shared this with the girls on the show and I love them for consoling me and help me embrace that. That's something I've struggled with since moving here and it still affects me today. At this point, I really just laugh at myself. It is how it is," she added.

"I've seen the worst in life and it taught me to be empathetic. I'm proud of where I am now and I will try to be a representative to those people who thought dreams were impossible."

The Emmy Award-winning show has featured the talents of Filipino drag queens like Ongina (Season 1 and All Stars 5), Manila Luzon (Season 3, and All Stars 1 and 4), Phi Phi O’Hara (Season 4 and All Stars 2), Jiggly Caliente (Season 4 and All Stars 6), Vivienne Pinay (Season 5), Rock M. Sakura (Season 12), Aura Mayari and Anetra (Season 15) in the US franchise. 

Other franchises have also featured Filipino drag queens like Jaja and Mocha Diva for seasons 1 and 2, respectively of "Drag Race Thailand” along with "Canada's Drag Race" stars Kyne (season 1), Stephanie Prince (season 2 and Canada vs. The World), and Kimmy Couture (season 3).

Precious Paula Nicole is the first winner of “Drag Race Philippines.”

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