Aquaria In Manila: On LGBTQ Empowerment In The Philippines And Elevating RTW
Aquaria is in Manila, y'all! And we've got VIP seats to her fab and style!
We are finally in an era where people are coming into terms with their real, unfiltered selves, and are becoming more comfortable in expressing what they feel and who they are.
And in this era, we have Aquaria, one of today's most popular drag queens. After winning RuPaul's Drag Race last year, Aquaria shot up to legendary status, becoming a fashion icon of countless global brands like Moschino, M.A.C, and NYX.
Today, she finally arrives on the Philippine stage as the new ambassador of The SM Store, to share her thoughts, talent, and phenomenal presence with her fans.
Metro.Style got a front seat to #AquariaAtSM and we got to ask the queen what drag means for her, her advocacy, and her journey here in the Philippines.
Drag has always been a part of the beautiful spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community. And for Aquaria, representing drag all over the world is one of the most amazing opportunities of a lifetime.
“I've always loved doing drag and I love getting to share that with everyone. But to be such a prominent face in 2019 is surreal, empowering to me personally because it makes me feel incredible, but it's also very empowering to other people,” she says.
And as the youngest winner of RuPaul's Drag Race, Aquaria is excited to do more and be more in her time in the spotlight.
“There's so much I can do with my life. When you have reached such a milestone so early in life, the world opens up so many more opportunities and I have so much more time to achieve those opportunities so I'm beyond grateful for that.”
Drag can be a lot of things to different people. It can't really be defined, because in a way, it is a representation of each drag queen, and means different to everyone who practices it. But if there's one thing we can agree on, as Aquaria says, drag is “creating a visual representation of what you're feeling inside...and when you become the vision of who you see yourself on the inside that's when you become the most powerful.”
Aquaria in the Philippines
Aquaria's stint with SM Store is the very first opportunity for her to dip her pool in the Southeast Asian fashion market. When asked how in tune is she with her fanbase in the Philippines, she gushes at how overwhelming the love and support she's received every since her visit the country was announced.
“It's so insane seeing people tag me in everything, whether it's my billboards everywhere, their own drag looks, the things they're doing for the contest,” she says. “Just getting to see the amount of people, the passion of everyone in the Philippines is so crazy and...just being able to let the whole country know that drag is here, the LGBTQ+ people are here, and deserve the same equality as the next person, I think that's very special to me and I'm proud that SM Store is standing for that.”
And for someone as fabulous and popular as Aquaria, one would think that she's donned in the biggest and most expensive brands from head to toe. But actually, one of the big surprises that we've heard from the queen is that she believes it's not about the price tag—it's all about how you come up with your look and how you commit to it.
In fact, for her press conference with the press, Aquaria reveals she was donning an inexpensive body suit she just picked off online, elevating it with this humongous fur coat that spells sunshine.
“If you use the ability and the creativity and the skill you have as a human to kind of elevate your look, I think that's where the perfect balance is. It's about...convincing other people that something that's $15 looks like $1500,” Aquaria reveals.
A momentous day for gender equality
It is indeed a momentous day for a drag royalty to finally become the ambassador and icon for a huge fashion brand in the country. Philippines has always been conservative towards gender diversity, compared to Western and European countries. But the popularity of Big Drag Energy, both on social media and on the event floor, signifies the progress the country is taking towards gender equality.
Following numerous issues of transgender women not being allowed to express themselves or even use the public toilet, it feels like SM Supermalls is really taking a stand with the LGBTQ+ community as they open Aquaria's meet and greet with “We welcome all talents...all gender...”
And after a fashion show of drag queens of all shapes and sizes, Aquaria graced the Big Drag Energy with a perfomance she dedicates to her Filipino fans.
Check out some of the photos from Aquaria's visit in Manila below!