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#MyPrideInFashion: How Marina Summers Is Paving The Way For Philippine Drag

For the RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs. The World Runner Up, fashion is an inherent part of who she is both in and out of the artform.

Metro.Style’s ‘My Pride in Fashion’ is a special series of profiles for Pride Month. We interview people from the Philippines’ LGBTQ+ community and see how they wear their pride on their sleeves, and how fashion is indeed a medium of their self-expression.

Filipinas, it’s summertime!”

2024 has truly been the year of Marina Summers, from representing the excellence of Filipino Drag on the main-stage of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs. The World, to fulfilling every queer child’s fantasy of strutting down the Miss Universe Philippines runway. Despite all her successes, there’s a level of earnestness behind the drag queen’s confidence. Marina views herself as simply an avenue for the Queer Filipino to be highlighted, as excellence in itself is already ingrained within our culture and spirit.

She understands the weight of her queer representation and inspiration for the community, but maintains being her most authentic self: “Marina has become an image [for people] to feel good about themselves. [...] That was really the goal for Marina.” But what exactly does it take to be Marina Summers? And with the Philippines getting a taste of her heat, who has Marina Summers become?

My Pride in Fashion: Marina Summers | Art by Raff Colmenar | Leftmost photo by BJ Pascual | Rightmost photo by Alan Segui

The Process of Marina Summers

Marina is an extension of who I am. I’m still the same person.”

When talking about the becoming of Marina Summers, Marina cites how “there’s no formula of how to do drag.” The journey to forming one’s drag persona is immensely intimate, and to Marina the desire to perform started when she was just 14-years old, hosting a school event in traditionally women’s clothes. In the four corners of her childhood bathroom, with the hot water of a showerhead acting as the spotlight, she lipsyncs to the likes of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. There, she falls in love with the idea of the stage. And in a few years time, she’ll find the Manila nightlife and the queer community, and soon the shampoo bottles and soap bars that were once her audience move to her peripherals. 

With the release of Drag Race Philippines, the idea of drag as separate from sexuality and one’s gender is pushed into the mainstream—the show opened up conversations on the nuance of performing as a woman and wanting to be one; a discussion that still goes on to today. In becoming one of the tastemakers of the queer community, she recalls her roots of wishing to exude the confidence in herself first, “I just wanted to perform before and look good and feel good about myself.” Now, her confidence inspires those mesmerized by her lip syncs to exalt their own.

Marina Summers wearing Rian Fernandez for Miss Universe Philippines 2024

Marina Summers on the Main-stage

Coming out of two Drag Race franchises with her head held high, it’s no surprise that Marina’s fifteen minutes of fame now encompasses a lifetime. In ushering in a new era of mainstream Filipino drag, she becomes one of the pillars of icons opening up opportunities for the world to heed the calls of the queer community. Despite the Reality TV Show of it all, Marina emphasizes how the person she displays on the small screen is the same person she is in real life. That authenticity allows her to connect with the community—the reactions of which have been nothing short of loving.

But, “Facebook is a different world.” Marina admits. Although there’s a warmth to the community, the unspoken connection of understanding the hardships and triumphs of being a Queer Filipino, there are immensely different reactions buried within the comment sections of Marina Summers highlights. Marina however, understands how it’s par for the course, stating how in an industry like the one she’s in, having a thick skin is an absolute must. Amidst all the noise, she still finds time to applaud those who choose to enlighten, “[It’s] very heartwarming to see amidst all the homophobic and transphobic comments, meron pa din nagpapaliwanag (There are still people who explain).” 

We have a long way to go, but me being [at Miss Universe Philippines] is a huge step for us.”

Marina Summers wearing a Roman Sebastian made of indigenous textiles

Of Statements, Glitter, and Joy

Looking back at both her stints on the small screen, if it weren’t for the charisma and talent that one would find themselves captivated by Marina, it sure would have been the fashion. From her iconic bangus dress in Drag Race Philippines Season 1 to its Ru-demption in UK vs. The World, Marina is adamant in staying true to her Filipino roots and when making her sartorial choices—although, sprinkling in her inspiration from the likes of fellow Drag Race alum Naomi Smalls, and megastars Cher and Beyoncé certainly don’t hurt.

But on an individual level, Marina simply wishes to look confident. She highlights the importance of fashion and sense of style for the queer community, “It allows us to show what we feel [...], how we want people to see us.” With drag being an immensely visual artform, she feels the weight of representation that sits on her shoulders, corset, make-up and all. “Without even speaking, drag queens make a statement based on what they wear.” There’s an art to fashion for the queer community, in all it’s flamboyance, glamour and beauty—topped with all the shine, shimmer and glitter. Marina looks to the sense of comfort and familiarity of fashion that empowers her, on and off the main-stage.

To see Marina Summers, is to see a glamazon; an untouchable icon, that’s aspirational yet in a way relatable. Everything Marina does has a purpose, and she takes pride in how that self-worth transcends to her audience. So what does it take to be Marina Summers? Of course there can only be one, but with the meaning of Marina Summers being synonymous to confidence, one can find their own version of pride by looking within, “Find inspiration in other people. [...] Once you find that spark of joy in something, it will start a fire. [...] Pride comes with life experience, it comes with success and a lot of things. It’s hard to find. Just find inspiration somewhere.”

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