Season 3 “Drag Race” contestant tells guest columnist Michael Cook what movie has influenced her most, what its like dating Season 2 contestant and more…
Michael: What made you want to enter the world of drag?
Manila: Since I was a child, I always wanted to get in my mother’s closet! I have just always been thrilled by putting on clothes that are more grand than a shirt and pants!
My mother had this luggage full of these sixties mini dresses that she had designed and had tailored for her from when she lived in the Philippines. There was a brief period in my teens when I fit them perfectly! I’m sure my mother knew I was all up in her clothes because one day she came home with a video she rented from Blockbuster, “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”.
That movie changed my life, but she told me just not to tell my father! When I finally came out of the closet in college, I decided to just be the GAYEST, and the most fabulous form of gay is a drag queen! It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life! I have to thank my mother for allowing me to express myself!
Michael: The guest judges this year were very high profile, starting with the glamorous Vanessa Williams! Who were some of your favorite guest judges?
Manila: I was in total awe of Vansssa Williams! She is so incredibly beautiful, and I got to stand right in front of her one the runway and just stare. She was probably thinking I was crazy!!! I was excited to see LaToya Jackson, because I actually own the Playboy where she posed buck “nekkid” in a pile of boa constrictors! Gurrrl, it’s the closest I’ll ever get to Michael himself!
Michael: Your boyfriend, last season’s “Drag Race” contestant Sahara Davenport was a fan favorite! What do you think makes your drag so different from his?
Sahara is one of the most amazing performers I’ve ever seen (and not just in the drag world). She is talent personified! Sahara has it all, she’s a true diva, beautiful, a classically trained dancer, a great singer (listen to her new song “Pump With Me”), she’s hilarious (especially with a few cocktails in her) and she’s a size 4! She is one of my biggest influences.
How we differ is I’m a bit more of a party girl who doesn’t care if I’m pulled up all the time! I’m also a lot cattier than she is! It’s those slight differences in us that make our pairing work so perfectly!
What separates me from the other New York girls is that I’m a hybrid of many styles of drag. I’m part Glamour Queen, part Club Kid, part Fashion Model, part Camp, and half Filipino! I am ever evolving. I’m like a chameleon; always changing my looks: one night I’m in a sequin gown with a beautiful updo and dripping with diamonds, and the next I’m wearing an outfit that’s made from old cassette tapes!
Michael: You are together with the girls for such long periods of time. Any inside dish on the “behind the scenes” times?
Manila: It’s hard to believe, but we actually all got along for the most part! Some of best moments were at the hotel on our days off from shooting. The hotel we stayed at had a lounge just for us to hang out in and watch TV, eat dinner, relax in the hot tub and enjoy ourselves without the cameras.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the trials of the work day would carry over to our off time, but we all became sisters. Sometimes sibling rivalries would arise, but I love each of the girls very much!
Michael: What does the future hold for you?
Manila: I am planning on touring the country to party with my fans! I would also love to collaborate with my baby, Sahara, on something, I’m not sure what exactly, but I think it would be fun! I’m also going to be releasing a movie about my life in 3D!