MANILA — Drag royalty Manila Luzon on Tuesday shared how she was inspired by her country’s heritage to pursue a career in the arts.
In an interview with Ai dela Cruz for MYX, Manila Luzon said living in the United States made her more curious about her mother’s heritage.
“I’m always interested in what the Philippines has to offer and I’ve been wanting even as a little kid to come to the Philippines and to see what I’m missing out on,” the drag queen said.
“Growing up in a predominantly white community, it was the thing that made me different. When I decided to become a drag queen, I decided to name myself for the birthplace of my mother,” she added.
She said that pursuing a career in the arts was an uphill battle that she really fought for despite her family pushing her to a different path at first.
“I said, no. This is something that I have, that I’m good at. That’s something that not everyone has but I do and so if I don’t pursue this in some capacity then I would be wasting my raw talent,” Manila Luzon said.
“I settled for graphic design because I was able to convince my parents that I’ll be sitting at a desk, in an office somewhere. So, they were a little bit more open to the idea. They didn’t just want me to be a starving artist on the streets,” she added.
Manila Luzon said it is important to be patient in making the older generation understand how society is changing and that art is valid in every way.
“I just let them go at their own pace and watch me flourish and they came around. Now they’re my biggest supporters,” the artist said.
“I couldn’t be happier to have such a supportive family and I’m so happy that I got to show the love and support that my parents have given to me to everyone that’s watching so that they could also be inspired to keep an open mind about other people,” she added.
She added that she is honored to be a “mother figure,” sharing her knowledge to the drag artists in the Philippines on how to polish and showcase their talents.
“Being the mother figure to some of these queens and by giving them this opportunity, it makes me so very proud,” she said.
“This is a way of me giving back to people that just need a little bit of extra mothering, giving people the love and support in small ways.”
Manila Luzon is set to host a reality series for drag artists that will be available exclusively on the on-demand streaming platform WeTV for free.
“Drag Den Philippines,” which was first unveiled in June, is the first drag reality show in the Philippines.