It wasn’t until Tobie started regularly bringing me to O Bar that I learned to appreciate the unique culture of drag queens. More than just trying to dress up as women, drag is many things to different queens ranging from a serious art form to a way to escape into campy comedy.
This is the first in a new series of blog posts featuring the fabulous drag queens of O Bar Ortigas – the Oh Divas! I’ve been enjoying their performances for years now and have been accumulating a ridiculous amount of photos and videos of their antics. So it only made sense to thank things a step further by interviewing these fabulous queens to learn a little more about their perspective on the life of a drag queen.
Our first featured Oh Diva is Nap, whose official drag name is actually Ethel (I totally had no idea). Tobie and I have been enjoying her shows since our O Bar Malate days and she’s still going strong at O Bar Ortigas.
Nap is remembered for many things. Mainly it's her unique brand of comedy that she brings to the stage every time that she performs. Perhaps it's her sheer presence when she stares at the audience and convinces yet another O Bar guest to join her on stage. Perhaps it's her...oral talents, often demonstrated at O Bar. Or maybe it's her collection of quirky props and costumes that includes some of the longest eyelashes that I have ever seen or the fake vagina that reaches out with every squeeze of her breast.
Nap is all this and more and certainly one of the most memorable performers at O Bar. And when she's not performing, you might be able to spot her in the audience cheering the girls on or helping the others with their costumes backstage.
The Beginning – Believe it or not, her first drag show was a bit of an accident. She shared that it was Nay Arnie who first invited her to put on a show at Piggy’s. She hasn’t turned back since. With respect to O Bar, she got her chance to perform when Cocoy help her secure a spot on Tuesday nights. This eventually expanded to her performing on Sundays together with Eva Papaya until eventually she was performing daily with the rest of the Oh Divas.
What do you like most about performing in drag? – The comedy. Even when the number is serious, I get it done with comedy moves! (laughs)
What is your biggest challenge as a drag queen? – Dancing with the group is always a challenge. I really don’t know how to dance. Can’t you see when the group has a big dance number? I can’t dance well since I’m not a dancer, but the guests (at O Bar) always shout “Kaya mo yan, Nap!” (You can do it, Nap!)
What has been your favorite moment in your drag career? – Whenever people cheer and applaud during my performances.
What is your message to drag queen hopefuls out there? - Once you enter in this kind of job, be good and be down to earth. Wag maging mayabang - kumilala sana sa mga senior or ahead sa kanila. (Don’t be prideful – respect those more senior or who have come before you)
So that is our ever hilarious Oh Diva Nap! She certainly remains a crowd favorite at the bar and I really appreciate how she was the first to make some time for me to conduct this online "interview" with her. With luck I'll be able to chase the rest of the Oh Divas down and get their features posted soon.
You can usually catch Nap at O Bar Ortigas on Saturday nights. Be sure to give her a holler once she’s on-stage! Or better yet, join her up there! Just relax, go with the flow and be prepared to laugh at yourself.