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Opulence and eloquence: the drag of Eva Le Queen

Eva Le Queen made it to the top four of “Drag Race Philippines” and we’re not surprised.

She’s a queen of style and substance, serving opulent look after opulent look and offering wisdom with her words. She has depth and dimension, making viewers laugh as she impersonated Rufa Mae Quinto (and made “tampalpuke,” a Caviteño word for flatfish, trend online) during Snatch Game and then making them cry when she broke down after an especially harsh critique from judge Rajo Laurel. We, like many other fans of the show, found more and more to love about her week after week.

We spoke to Eva about her most memorable “Drag Race Philippines” moments, how the show changed her life and her dreams for the future of Filipino drag.

Eva Le Queen
Eva Le Queen in full color

Read: Meet the fierce and fabulous Minty Fresh

How does it feel to have made it to the Top 4?

It just feels really validating. “Drag Race” is the Olympics of drag so to have bested eight other queens in a powerhouse cast like season one of “Drag Race Philippines” is already a feat on its own. I feel very, very proud of myself and the entire cast.

How do you feel about fans saying that you’re the most eloquent queen?

What a beautiful word. When you say eloquence, it also includes grace, the right choice of words, and a certain level of intellect… I feel really good about it.

You had so many fantastic looks from the show. What was your favorite and why?

My favorite would be the one that cost me the most—the one I wore for my best drag, the black and gold feather number from Ehrran Montoya. I called it “the evil queen goes to war regalia.” It was my wedding gown and I was married to my art form, to the art of drag, on the main stage of “Drag Race Philippines.”

What “Drag Race Philippines” moment are you proudest of?

“Pop Off Ate,” my goodness, nothing can top that. Hindi naman pala talaga parehong kaliwa ang paa ni Ms. Eva. It also showcased the caliber of Filipino drag talent. Toward the end, that showdown? That was just glorious. I cried when I first saw it.

How does it feel to have people around the world embrace the show?

It’s been my dream for Filipino drag. I started my drag in Singapore, I’ve seen drag queens from all over the world… as a fan, alam mong kaya yan ng mga queens natin. I’ve been watching drag shows since I was 18 and it’s like, “Kelan kaya magkakaroon ng time mag-shine yung mga Filipino queens?” It only takes one shot for the world to know how world-class Filipino drag is. And it’s here and it’s being embraced. It validates a truth that I I have known for a very long time: that Filipino drag is world-class.

Eva Le Queen
Eva Le Queen in green

What impact would you like the show to have in the Philippines?

Drag is something that the LGBTQ community holds very close to their heart. Now that we get to share it with more people, we hope that it also normalizes the conversation of what the LGBTQ community is able to give to the society. I like that queer talent is being put into the mainstream.

Maybe we can get past the stereotypes. Sa mainstream kasi ang stereotypes ng queer talent usually best friend, comedic relief, or an HIV sob story… It’s nice that we are being celebrated for the first time as mainstream, as superstars, as talented artistic individuals, intelligent individuals… There’s really more to the community and I’m really glad that it’s being celebrated through “Drag Race Philippines.”

What’s your favorite catchphrase from the show?

Ang talagang tumatatak sa akin yung “When I think of tiyanak...” Sorry, “tiyanerk,” kasi may accent eh. “When I think of tiyanerk, I think of a tiyanerk, not holding a tiyanerk.” It’s just really funny.

We loved your Snatch Game. Have you heard from Rufa Mae Quinto?

Awra (Briguela) sent me this video na pinapanood niya kay Ate Peach yung video ko and she was laughing. She sends me DMs and comments on my posts. She was very encouraging. Nung finale nga nag-DM pa siya sa akin ng “Go go gold!” and “I love you.” We have plans to meet.

Eva Le Queen
Eva Le Queen in gold

The critique from Rajo Laurel led to your most emotional moment in the show. How do you feel about it now and how are you and Rajo now?

Of course, when we were filming, I was devastated but I had to have my game face on and I didn’t have time to look back and process things. So when I saw it on TV the day it aired, I was able to finally allow myself to feel the things I should have felt. I admitted and I messaged Rajo na I was really not okay. But I think he had to do what he had to do.

After a few weeks, we went for dinner and we finally talked things out. We’ve patched things up. I told him that I couldn’t complain because that moment made me skyrocket and put the name Eva Le Queen in everyone’s head. I was proud that at the very moment when it mattered the most, I was able to show my values, my upbringing, who I really am outside of the wigs. It was a silver lining for me to be able to showcase who I really am. People love me and my pain in that episode was actually relatable to a lot of people.

So I felt seen and I’m also thankful that people felt seen through my pain. My fans lifted me up that day. I received tons and tons and tons of messages of encouragement. Sabi ko kay Rajo, you’re getting all the bashing and I’m getting all the glory so I really can’t complain. I said this will die down, just let the people go through it and everyone can move on.

The fans can be super loving but also vicious to queens they don’t like–what are your thoughts on that?

Direk Ice [Seguerra] actually told us about this. When people see you on TV, they let you into their houses. Parang parte ka na ng pamilya nila. That is something the audience didn’t ask from you. We presented ourselves to them. We lay ourselves vulnerable to the opinions of so many people. That’s part of the deal, that’s the price we have to pay.

People are entitled to their opinions of us because we made our lives public to them. Meron kasing difference yung opinion sa gusto lang mang-bash or maging hateful pero you have the power if you want to address it. Kung ano lang yung kaya i-take ng mental health mo. Choose your battles. To the bashers, always try to understand that what you see on TV is only the tip of the iceberg… A little empathy will go a long way.

See Also

We loved watching you drink in “Untucked”—what was your favorite “Untucked” pulutan?

My favorite would definitely be the last pulutan that we had which was crispy pata. Hindi na nga pinakita doon, I was wearing that huge gold skirt pero nakasalampak na ako sa sahig at nginangata ko yung buto. They really saved the best for last. Iba yung impact nung crispy pata na yun. Best crispy pata ever.

Outside of the show, where’s your favorite place to order chicharon bulaklak?

The best place to order chicharon bulaklak is wherever your friends are. A major brand sent me a bouquet of chicharon bulaklak. Hanggang ngayon hindi ko pa siya nauubos dahil sobrang dami niya.

What has been your biggest lesson from Drag Race?

You can be anything that you want to be in this world. I started drag at the age of 29. Lola years na yun eh… At any point in your life that you want to restart, you can conquer anything, you just have to take the leap of faith. It’s always just a matter of choice and how badly you want things. We are unstoppable. The world is our oyster.

How has the show changed your life?

Talagang niyugyog niya yung buhay ko. Not everyone gets to have that chance to live their childhood dream and be successful at it. I love the attention but more importantly I love the inspiration that I bring to people. To know that your life means more than just another show, another raket. When you put yourself out there, you’re also in a position to inspire. I’m always very grateful for that.

Eva Le Queen
Eva Le Queen doing queenly things

What advice would you give queens who will join season 2?

You have big shoes to fill. Ang yabang. (laughs) But that’s my advice: don’t try to be anything else. Don’t try to be season one, don’t try to be any other queen in the franchise. Be yourself and embrace yourself, flaws and all. “Drag Race” is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Stay in your lane. You will not win a competition by looking left and right at how everyone is doing… Focus on what you think you can do best, always do your best. And like I said when I entered, true queens fix each other’s crowns.

Where can people catch you and how can they support your drag?

We have our drag brunches, our shows… You can see our schedules on our social media. The best way to support your queens is to also support non-“Drag Race” queens. If we want more high caliber queens, if we want more seasons of “Drag Race,” hindi lang dapat season one yung pinapaulanan natin ng pagmamahal at suporta. Give them the leverage, help them build themselves and polish themselves to be worthy of international drag standards.Keep booking us, keep sending your tips because tips are the currency of love and respect in any drag show, and keep buying their merch. Keep supporting your local drag so we will have more fabulous queens and kings in the future.

What are your plans post-Drag Race?

My dream is to really professionalize the art of drag. I’ve been consulting with business partners to convert Drag Playhouse PH into a drag agency where I can bridge clients, do the negotiations, scout the right talent… not just for shows but commercials, magazine covers… Kasi I think people still don’t know where to go if they want to drag at their events or in their businesses.

What do you love the most about being a drag queen?

Being a drag queen has allowed me to live my best life. And it just keeps reminding me how beautiful life is and how living your truth can be the secret to your success. Drag teaches you to live life unapologetically and embrace who you truly are.

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