RuPaul’s “Drag Race” Conquers the World

“Drag Race Philippines” is the newest addition to the franchise’s roster of 14 foreign and all-star spinoffs

Rupaul's Drag Race Goes Global

The latest addition to the “Drag Race” series’ global family of 14 franchises is “Drag Race Philippines.” The newest international spinoff just premiered this week. “It’s time to spread your charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent for the whole world to see,” RuPaul said as the series’ first batch of contestants were introduced. The show’s primary creative force has one piece of advice to the aspiring drag superstars:

“Don’t be scared, be prepared!”

Drag Race advice

There is only one RuPaul in the world, but, with the iconic competition synonymous with his name conquers the world, his fabulous energy is felt everywhere. While the queen only hosts four of the series spinoffs plus the original competition, the show has managed to keep the aesthetics and energy in the Philippines version. “Drag is an Esperanto. It’s a universal language, and it’s so visual,” Fenton Bailey, one of the cofounders of “Drag Race,” told Variety. “The first thing that grabs the viewers is the big little secret, which is that drag is universal. As our fundamental inspiration and leader says, ‘You’re born naked, and the rest is drag.’ Everything we wear is a statement about identity.” This clearly has resonated with many as the the franchise has been nominated for 11 Emmys this year.

Bringing the show to the Southeast Asian archipelago may seem random. However, it’s a widely reported fact that Filipinos treat beauty pageants as a national sporting event, and the “Drag Race” is the newest addition to that trend. Additionally, some of the recurring and beloved stars in the franchise are Filipino-Americans who have amassed a following in the Philippines — including Manila Luzon, Jacqueline Maye Lim, and Jiggly Caliente. Caliente has now moved from being a contestant to one of the hosts of the newest “Drag Race” spinoff. “Drag queens are really extraordinary figures of imagination, creativity, artistry and also power. It comes from a personal level of courage,” Caliente told Variety. “It takes a lot of work, and it takes courage perhaps to go against your family or your culture or those values. That’s why I’ve always felt drag is a heroic undertaking. Because we all want to be seen.”

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