Last Words With RuPaul's All Stars' Manila Luzon
BY Daniel Reynolds
November 12 2012 7:16 AM ET
Was it hard to approach people in broad daylight?
It was hard because some people who were passing were like, hell no, I need to cross the street now. But, behind-the-scenes spoiler alert, everyone knew there were cameras because there were cameramen across the street trying to hide. And then there was a person with a clipboard who was trying to get you to sign a release form at the very end of the block so they didn’t have to blur out your face. So people knew as they were passing by that something was going on. And it was Hollywood, and everyone wants to be on TV anyway.
Did anyone recognize you?
Some people did, but I think they cut those out. It kind of spoils the illusion that they’re strangers on the street. But yeah, we did get recognized. Despite the fact that we’re on an extended cable network and we don’t get millions and millions of viewers like The Voice, we still have a cult following that closely follows each of their favorite girls. So yeah, we did get recognized in the street. It’s kind of interesting.
You’ve definitely become icons for a large segment of the gay community.
I think that’s really cool, a show that shows what we get to do and shows off our personality. A lot of people don’t get to see drag queens beyond going to a gay bar for a drag show. You don’t get a chance to see them being real or interacting with each other or being out of drag.
How do you feel that Drag Race has impacted your life?
I used to work as a graphic designer here in New York City for several years. I was kind of getting a little sick of it. When I auditioned for the show the first time, I thought, Well, if it goes well, maybe I’ll quit my job. And it went well. I was able to quit my job and work full-time as a drag queen, which is really cool. And, it’s really changed the way I live my life. I do it now in front of people, even after the show. Every tweet that I put up there, I have to double-check it to make sure it’s communicating exactly what I want it to communicate. Because you can get in trouble sometimes on Facebook and Twitter. I think that it’s helped me to become a better person. It puts things in perspective in my life.
Fans of DR might miss the “lipstick on the mirror” farewell message from parting contestants. What is the message you want to leave after your RuPaul's All Stars experience?
I just want people to realize that it’s hard when you put yourself out there. You don’t get the feedback that you’re expecting, and people cut you down for doing it. And I just want to let people know that you can’t let that bring you down. Go on the path, follow your own destiny, keep doing what you need to do. When bumps in the road happen in life, you just have to push through it. Keep going forward. Don’t get hung up on the negative.
You released a new single, “The Chop,” which you recorded with Latrice. Tell us about it.
When Latrice and I got kicked off, we were kind of a little bitter … well, more than a little bitter. But as time went by, we were like oh, that’s OK. At this point, it’s not even really about the money. Most of us went on All Stars because we wanted to be on TV again. We wanted to keep working. It’s really what you make of it. So Latrice and I wanted to make something inspirational that had a good message: If you fall down, get back up. I’ve had terrible things happen to me in recent weeks, so I’m using my own advice. The song is actually helping me out a lot. I wanted to inspire other people, and I ended up inspiring myself.
How are you coping with Sahara’s passing?
It’s tough. It’s really tough. But I’m OK. I have a really great support system. My family is really close and they’re supportive. They’re great, and they loved Antoine. I have great friends, and Sahara’s friends and family, they’re great too. My Drag Race sisters, I’ve been turning to. And I’ve been getting so much love from my fans and Sahara’s fans about her passing. So the love from the fans is great, and I really, really appreciate it, to know that people are praying for me and Sahara. It’s been really helpful. And it’s also kind of a testament to how much of an impact that Sahara made as a drag queen on a reality TV show. And it reminds me that I have a similar influence on the audience. It puts things in perspective. It lets me know that what I’m doing with my life is the right thing to be doing.
What’s next for Manila?
2013 will be really fun for me. I’m really excited. I’m opening a new chapter of my life, and there will be some surprising things coming around the corner. But I just got kicked off RuPaul’s All Stars! I’m going to finish this egg-and-cheese sandwich from the bodega, then have a cup of coffee.
Do you have any favorites among the remaining contestants?
I don’t really have a favorite. Obviously, when you’re rooting for yourself the whole time, fuck all the rest of the girls, who cares. That bitch ain’t sharing her coins with me. So I don’t care who wins … unless they want to give me some coins!
Do you have parting thoughts or messages for our readers?
Thank you for all my Fanilas who rooted for me through season 3 of Drag Race and All Stars Drag Race! And I appreciate all the love and support you’ve given me this past month after Sahara’s passing. And listen to “The Chop” by me and Latrice on iTunes and Amazon.com.