The new gen of drag has arrived

SG Magazine is the official media for Drag Wars Singapore.


Don’t be throwing shade on our local nightlife scene, henny. After a successful inaugural run last year, amateur drag queen competition Drag Wars is back again; and frankly, it’s nothing short of sickening.

Already well into its second season, Drag Wars 2.0 is bigger, better, and arguably more dramatic. The competition has since moved out of its dingy birthplace at Peaches Club, and into a glitzier, far more recognisable venue: Monti @ 1-Pavillion. Every Saturday night, party organisers Hypertainment throw revelries for the LGBTQI community on the coveted pavilion; two weekends a month have been devoted to Drag Wars since February, with 11 girls under the watchful eye of their trainers, who slowly whittle them down each week.

And it’s not just about having more room to whip your wig around or nail a death drop. Visibility is key for an event like Drag Wars—it certainly marks a milestone in queer nightlife here to not be shoved into the background, out of sight of heterosexual partygoers.


Trainer and seasoned drag queen Vyla Virus opening the show

Down to eight queens with just three rounds left, competition is heating up. The next round (Apr 6) will see participants face off in the Daiso challenge, where they have to piece a killer outfit together from mere Daiso items—soon to be a staple in all future editions of Drag Wars—before it’s on to Semi-Finals and an extravagant, ball-inspired finale showdown.

While the first four rounds featured group and partner challenges, Executive Producer Isaac Chan shared that the rest of the competition will see the individual queens really come into their own to strut their stuff. Still don’t know who to root for? We sat down with four of them for a little roll call.


Drag Wars S2: The final 8 (missing one)

Interviews have been edited for clarity.


Ada Heart (@ada.heart)


A former Suria Kid actor and the oldest contestant in Drag Wars 2, 28-year-old Yusri first fell in love with the arts, and hair and makeup after joining the Malay Dance CCA in secondary school. Fresh off a public debut last December, she hopes to break the notion that big girls can’t shine onstage.

How and when did you get into drag?

I’ve always wanted to try drag but didn’t dare to start until early 2018, when I started going to Peaches in York Hotel and partying; that’s where I first met (my Drag Father) Chiko Izaac Wong. I told him I wanted to try to do drag, but he advised me to find myself first before going into another identity—so months passed, and I helped with Drag Wars S1 here and there. Seeing other baby drag queens come out and showcase their talents onstage gave me the confidence to give it a try, but I was still (unsure). Then when my company organised a D&D, that’s when I told myself ‘Let’s come in drag for the first time’. I told (competition trainer) Vyla Virus and she helped me. Vyla was the first queen who put me into drag, with the help of Ms Fanservia, Nina Sheilegh & Mika Vogue. I’m forever thankful to these queens.

Tell us more about your drag persona—what does she enjoy, her strengths and talents, any special quirks?

Ada Heart is more pageant queen. She has a heart for everyone she meets. She is someone who loves emotional songs and connects to the audience with her lipsync. I guess you can say lipsync is one of her strengths as a baby drag; I’m working towards being more versatile in my performances.

Who is one drag queen you look up to, either local or international, and why?

Ada Heart is more of a local queen supporter. She looks up to Vyla Virus even though we only met about a year (ago). In and out of drag we connect well. I really respect her because she always serves it onstage—no matter what songs are given, the way she plans her performance and aesthetics is really polished.
 

Femme Fatale (@femme.fatt)


A drama club kid through and through, this fishy queen was president of Republic Polytechnic’s drama club Operation Theatre in 2016—years after established local drag queen and mother of Haus of Gemini, Gina Gemini, chaired the club. Don’t let the fishnets and bustiers fool you; 22-year-old Iliya hopes to use performance and drag to one day educate children about important issues—like saving the ocean.

How and when did you get into drag?

I started doing drag when I found out about RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2017. I was talking to this cute guy I met on Twitter and he really liked the show, so that was when I was introduced to the show and the whole idea of drag. During that period, my friend Cassandra wanted to try doing drag makeup on someone so she asked me—and that was when I first got into drag! A few months later, I met my boyfriend who is also good with makeup, so he kept doing my looks and I got hooked on being in drag—and here we are now.

Tell us more about your drag persona—what does she enjoy, her strengths and talents, any special quirks?

Femme Fatale is a strong, independent woman who enjoys being sexy on stage. I can’t do death drops but I can sure make you drop your pants. I like doing burlesque, and being in corsets but I’m not just a sexy one-trick pony. I can have a fun side and be campy too! Theatre has been my hobby so I’d say playing different characters readily is one of my main strengths.

Who is one drag queen you look up to, either local or international, and why?

I really look up to Miss Dahlia Rose. I first saw her perform at Herstory and I was star-struck by how beautiful she is and captivating her performance was that day. Since then, she became my favourite local drag queen to watch because her performances are so energetic and fun.
 

Lady Carla Dee (@ladycarladee)


Zero performance background hasn’t stopped this self-declared introvert (who prefers light-haired wigs to dark ones) from stepping out of her comfort zone and turning it onstage. Airul, 24, hopes to prove to other younger queens that “you don’t need to do death drops, splits and have any performing background to be a drag queen”—so there’s hope for us all yet.

How and when did you get into drag?

The first time I got into drag was when I came to support Rhea Borne when she joined Drag It Out at Taboo, which was around November 2017. I told her how proud I was that she was doing drag and being so comfortable in it, and then I remembered her asking me to try it out. And bam, here I am. Rhea and I were bunk buddies in NS so we’re quite close.

Tell us more about your drag persona—what does she enjoy, her strengths and talents, any special quirks?

I love makeup! I have tons of it. I really enjoy painting my face; I learnt it all from YouTube, specifically (internet celebrity) Jeffree Star. Sometimes on my off days, I’ll just paint my face for hours at home and just take pretty pictures of myself. During Drag Wars makeup round, I tried to do something different than what I usually did and it actually paid off. I guess makeup is my strength—but I’m not trying to say I’m the best; there’s still a lot to learn!

Who is one drag queen you look up to, either local or international, and why?

I really look up to (Vietnamese-American drag queen) Plastique Tiara! I love her mug, her talent and everything else and she’s definitely not just a pretty face. She’s literally my favourite now.
 

Luna Thicc (@olalunaaaaa)


Dancer-by-training Luna Thicc is definitely well-versed in multiple genres of the art—Bhangra dance, contemporary, and hip-hop, to start. Offstage though, 24-year-old Hairudin is a deadly serious queen who counts herself as her biggest competitor, and if crowned, hopes to be a voice for her fellow queens. We stan an ambitious queen.

How and when did you get into drag?

I started doing drag for real at the start of Drag Wars S1. I was inspired watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, specifically Season 7. I began this career unknowingly as a Bhangra Dancer at the age of seven. To further my knowledge I took the genre Contemporary in high school; and in college I did hip-hop. The reason why I venture out into different genres is to make myself versatile. Versatility is the key to success.

Tell us more about your drag persona—what does she enjoy, her strengths and talents, any special quirks?

Luna is eccentric, fearless, and embraces humility. Dancing is her strength; entertaining people has always been second nature. Given any stage she will make it her own show—the stage is her home. She knows no limits in crafting. As the saying goes, “the sky’s the limit”.

Who is one drag queen you look up to, either local or international, and why?

The queen I always look up to both before and after I started drag would be Vanda Miss Joaquim. Looking at her personality, passion and her craft is just overwhelming. Plus, she’s rare because of her humble nature—which I feel many queens lack. She’s iconic.


Drag Wars 2 is happening next on Apr 6, Apr 20 and May 4 at Monti @ 1-Pavilion, 82 Collyer Quay. More information here.