Think of drag shows and the first things that come to mind are probably men dressed in women’s clothes and lip-syncs. But “Divine Divas: The Ultimate Drag Experience” featuring three of the hottest drag queens in the entertainment scene – Precious Paula Nicole, Viñas de Luxe, and Brigiding - was more than that.
“Nakaka-emo lang because I started the time (when) we weren’t accepted. People telling me not to dress up the way I want to dress up because friends wouldn’t like it. And now you’re accepting and embracing and loving. So that gives me hope,” said Ice Seguerra, director, producer and featured guest at the sold-out show at the New Frontier Theater in Araneta City last Friday night.
“This is very special for all of us. To finally have the Divine Divas here at this concert stage is such a blessing for us. Before, drag was a niche. But because of people like you who have been supporting them all the way alam ko maliwanag ang kinabukasan nila,” he added.
Through drag shows, the divas hope to change the landscape of LGBTQIA+ rights by providing the members of the community an avenue to share their stories through their art. The impact goes beyond the self and can help wider society become more accepting.
"To all the parents out there thank you (because) despite society telling us not to be who we are you still love us. Thank you. And to all the people who are still in the closet, there will come a day na lalaya rin kayo and it will be so f***n good!” Ice said before rendering an acapella version of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors”. Liza Diño-Seguerra, Ice’s wife, was the creative brains behind the show.
Divine Divas are alumnae of Season 1 of Drag Race Philippines where Precious Paula Nicole was declared winner. While drag's main purpose has been for performance and entertainment, it is also used as self-expression and a celebration of LGBTQIA+ pride.
In the words of the divas the show was “a celebration of drag, love, friendship and inspiration.”
The three come a long way from being back up dancers to performers in small bars and clubs around the Metro. During the pandemic, they put up the Divine Bar on Facebook where they solicited donations from fans to get by. Back then they had less than 80 viewers, they said. Lady luck smiled when they joined “Drag Race Philippines” where each of them built a solid fan base.
Soon, the trio will be seen along with young star Andrea Brillantes in a new series on I Want TFC entitled “Drag You and Me”.
“First time na magkakaroon ako ng show na nire-represent ko ang LGBTQIA+community. Hindi lang po para sa akin ito kundi para sa ating lahat ito,” Andrea said after her special number with the divas.
Andrea’s boyfriend Ricci Rivero was among the celebs spotted at the New Frontier Theater. No less than Vice Ganda was in the front row, along with friends MC; as well as, IC Mendoza, actress Sylvia Sanchez, Alma Concepcion, and Danni Barretto. Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte and her staff were in full force to support the divas.
“I have been hearing a lot of stuff from Blythe (Andrea) sobrang tuwang tuwa sya. She’s really happy and excited about the show. It’s my first time to watch (drag) live. I am really excited,” Ricci told the Manila Bulletin before the show. Ricci accompanied Andrea’s grandmother.
From the infectious mix of dance tunes “Born this Way” “Tala” and “Amakabogera” and renditions of club favorites “it’s Raining Men,” “Lady Marmalade”, and “If You Could Read My Mind” to solo diva warbling of pop favorites “The Greatest Love of All”, “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” the show was a total spectacle. It was three hours of non-stop fun, infectious energy and good time.
Roll the red carpet out. The Divine Divas have arrived. Shantay, you stay! - Andres Requintina