When Confucius coined that quote, “Bitch don’t eat your Ramen Noodles, wear them!” he was most certainly talking about Manila Luzon. As a current queen-competitor on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” this exotic Asian-fusion beauty is a triple threat: brains, body, and boyfriend of last season’s star, the sparkling Sahara Davenport. Manila and I sit down for tea and talk the T!
New York Q News: In season two of “Drag Race,” your boyfriend, the exquisite Shara Davenport, turned-it-out on the main stage. Has having Sahara as your boo helped or hindered you in the spotlight as Manila?
Manila Luzon: Being the boyfriend-slash-gurrrlfriend of Sahara has definitely helped me get my stiletto in the door! There is a lot of pressure on me because Sahara was such a polished diva with talent pouring out of her. I can't jump off the stage into the splits while en pointe, but I know that I can stand alone and be one fierce queen, and that's why I'm on “The Race!”
NYQN: Channeling an Asian newscaster in classic-Chanel, your jovial, jumble mouth "spoof" smacked plenty of lip and shade from the other queens. I found it hysterical. Why all the hullabaloo?
ML: My Asian reporter was a character; a decision to make my performance a little over the top! I am never one to take myself too seriously. I am a man in a dress after all. I really don't see race as a huge issue ever. Humor is a great way of breaking down stereotypes in a way. Some of my competition took their roles much too seriously, as if we were truly delivering the 6 o'clock news!
NYQN: Chiquita has her banana and it’s a pineapple purse for Manila! Wasn't it really tanked with rum, ice, and big old Slurpee straw, Manila?
ML: Well, my pineapple was fake! But don't worry, I had one of those beer hats tucked under my wig filled with a Malibu Bay Breeze!
NYQN: Do any of the queens get free time with RuPaul when taping is finished for a day, or are you on jury-lockdown, from studio to hotel and back the next time?
ML: RuPaul was very careful to keep her distance from the contestants. She was doing her job to stay as subjective as she could by not building any personal connections with us, outside of the filming of the show. Sometimes it was frustrating because I'd be like, why doesn't she like me? Once she spotted my bottle of Kylie Minogue perfume and she smiled and asked me what I thought of Kylie's latest album. We chatted about some of our favorite tracks but mostly she kept to herself.
NYQN: Out of drag, you sport a jaunty snatch of platinum plums. I dig your unique coiffure. Will we ever see Manila as a flaxen, doe-eyed fawn?
ML: I do love to mix a little blond into my black wigs, to kind of emulate my real hair as a boy! They say blonds have more fun, but really, how much more fun could I possibly have? I'm already having the time of my life as a raven-haired party girl!
NYQN: I say girl, you say grrr, now I cant stop saying grrr… Why does drag have its own unique language, and where can I get the Queen-to-English pocket guide?
ML: Well, actually it's spelled gurrrl. The l is silent. I think it's French! Drag has a special language because drag is over the top in every way. It takes the ordinary and heightens it much the same way you find when watching classic Hollywood movies. Even the language is exaggerated to be even more grand, dahling! Didja get that, gurrrl?
NYQN: Funny, “The Girl from Ipanema” always plays in my brain when I think of Manila Luzon. Ipanema is Brazil and you are Filipino. Tell me a bit more on your roots gurrrl (grin)
ML: Well, I've been to Brazil and it's a beautiful country with beautiful people! My mother immigrated to the US and met my father, a red-headed all-American Boy Scout kind of guy. They really wanted to expose us to all kinds of places and people. They would also take us traveling to many different countries, the Philippines, Thailand, and all over Europe.
NYQN: Will Manila and Sahara ever tie the knot, legally? But wait, won’t that make you (gasp) lady-lover lesbians? Your poor mother!
ML: I would hate to have to pay for an extravagant gay wedding--I will be coming out of a volcano like in “Showgirls”--only to have to do the whole thing all over again because we have to do it legally. We've gotta start saving up for some giant diamonds... we can't have tiny little diamond rings on next to our over-sized costume jewelry!
NYQN: This reporter must bid adieu. The city never sleeps for a Joe(y) on the beat. Before this goes to press my Filipino phalaenopsis orchid, is there anything you want to confess--a bit of heel tampering, perhaps… (wink)?
ML: I am really happy to have been allowed to be part of such a great show! I became good friends with all the girls, all of whom I consider my sisters! But of course, as with most sisters, there was a bit of hair pulling!
Keep up with your favorite Drag Racer at logotv.com and manilaluzon.com.