It’s Not Too Late to Start Stanning Manila Luzon: 8 Fast Facts About the Fabulous Drag Queen
Jun 16, 2021   •   Meryl Medel
8List.ph is published by ID8, Inc.
Jun 16, 2021   •   Meryl Medel
You’ve probably heard of her name at least once. International drag queen Manila Luzon is known all over the world for her unique takes on elegant fashion and her signature black-and-blonde wig. And now she’s coming back to the Philippines, as teased by local talent agency Cornerstone Entertainment. But first, here are some fast facts to get to know the legendary queen Manila Luzon.
“The drag scene in the Philippines needs the attention–THE ATTENTION IT DESERVES!”
— Cornerstone Ent (@cornerstone_ofc) June 15, 2021
(An important thing to remember: Manila Luzon uses she/her pronouns in drag and he/him pronouns when out of drag.)
Manila Luzon was born as Karl Westerberg to a Filipino mother and a Swedish-German father.
While he grew up surrounded largely by her white family, Karl shared that it is with his Filipino family and friends that he found his love and calling for performance. “In my day-to-day, I saw more of my white family but every week, the Filipino families would gather and we’d learn traditional folk dances, like the tinikling,” he shared in an interview with Vice.
Manila Luzon first competed in Season 3 of the show, where she garnered a lot of attention for her excellent performance, allowing her to make it to the finals. Finishing in second place, she lost by a slim margin to a good friend and fellow drag queen Raja.
She joined RuPaul’s Drag Race again in the first and fourth seasons of All Stars, where previous contestants who have seen the most successful careers post-show were invited to compete again under RuPaul’s guidance.
The first season’s Ongina was the first.
Despite being born in the US, she drew inspiration for her drag name from the Philippines, which is inspired by our country’s capital city and our largest island, where Manila Luzon’s mother was born.
“When I started thinking about doing drag, I knew I wanted to use my heritage as the thing that sets me apart from other drag queens,” she told Vice.
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Manila Luzon’s Fineapple Couture is a lifestyle brand selling all sorts of chic attire, books, accessories, and silly collectibles. The brand recently partnered with fellow Filipino drag queen Jiggly Caliente to provide support for the healthcare of the LGBTQ community of New York City.
In November 2016, Manila proposed to then-boyfriend Michael Alvarez (or Mic J Rez) during a performance in Chile. They tied the knot in 2017.
“Oh my God, in the Philippines, the drag scene is outstanding. The queens love the fantasy of drag so much and put on these amazing shows,” Manila Luzon shared with Vice. She also cited some of her favorite performers including Vice Ganda, Brigiding “Gigi” Aricheta, and Katkat Dasalla.
She told Vice that it’s one of her life-long ambitions. “I can’t wait to go back. Whenever I do a show in the Philippines, I feel like I’m at home with my culture, like I did when I was a kid dancing the tinikling. Even though it’s not fully my country, I’m embraced and accepted. And I’m proud to be able to share my Filipino culture with the world.”
It seems this welcome address being teased by Cornerstone Entertainment is just the start of the fulfillment of Manila Luzon’s dream. Fingers crossed!
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