May 19, 2013

[Pink Scene] Know Your Oh Divas - Dee Dee Holliday

I won't lie to you folks - Tobie and I have a particular fondness for Dee Dee Holliday. She's an amazing performer and a dear friend and she has certainly helped O Bar really take things up a notch with the intensity of her performances.

As we continue with this Know Your Oh Divas series of blog posts, I'm glad that Dee Dee participated in the interviews. She has a LOT of great things to say about life as a drag queen that I'm sure a lot of you will enjoy as much as I did.

I know a lot of you O Bar Ortigas patrons have enjoyed his performances as well. Thus this interview is definitely one you must read. Thus allow me to present an interview with Dee Dee Holliday - and don't forget the double L!

What's In A Name? - Well, it’s really not that complicated.  First, I always wanted to use Holliday for my drag surname. This is to pay tribute to 2 of the most amazing singers this world has known, Billie Holiday and Jennifer Holliday. I chose Jennifer’s version because I think it gives it a little more oomph.

The harder part was choosing my first name. My real name (which I will kill you if I have to tell you) starts with the letter D. I thought really hard for a name that would give the letter D a very gospel-singing-elderly-black-woman-from-Southern-US sounding name. Some of my options were Delilah, Danica, D’Vonne, Divina, and Dellatrix (and no, not Bellatrix) amongst others.

I really had a hard time choosing. I said to myself, “When my drag name comes, it will call my name”.

My final decision was actually spontaneous.  I was about to go onstage during one of my first performances. The host of the program insisted on introducing me with a drag name, instead of just introducing me using my very masculine nickname, which is J-Dee, by the way. Backstage, there were a lot of people I knew who were calling me, and for some reason I was only hearing the “Dee” part of it. It became repetitive, resonating “Dee, Dee, Dee, Dee”. I said to myself, “THAT’S IT!!!”.

I immediately told the host to introduce me as Dee Dee Holliday, and I had a blast.

There! Like I said, it’s not that complicated.

How did you get started in drag? - Well, if you would count secretly dressing up in women’s garment inside my mother’s closet and at the same time wearing her make-up, I would say I was about 6. (laughs)

But seriously, it was at the insistence of my ex-boyfriend when he found out that I could do Beyonce’s Single Ladies routine just fine while we were doing karaoke at a friend’s resort in Laguna.

How did you get started at O Bar? - I was a regular customer of O bar Malate and O Bar Ortigas (when it was still a baby). I frequent the place with my closest friends.

I remember the first time I went to the now defunct Malate branch, seeing Shue Ledesma performing a Celine Dion number. She inspired me, and at that moment, I knew wanted to do the same thing. The problem is I don’t know how to get in, who to talk to, and who to sleep with, if necessary.

It was during Holy Week of 2010 in Puerto Galera when I finally had my window of opportunity. My drag mother, Jaja Angeles, was there too. She recognized me as one of O Bar’s regulars, an Obarian, she would say. The mandatory beso-beso and chika-galore happened, and then I just blurted it out. I asked Jaja what I needed to do to get in as a performer. Luckily, she arranged for me to be a guest performer one Friday night in Ortigas. My wig actually fell off during that performance.

I formally auditioned in Malate with my drag family, The Heathers (yeah, eat that biatches!) consisting of Sacha Peach, Lumina Klum-DeVille and Pipay Anderson. The owners gave me a go signal, and I became a regular drag queen in Ortigas on Sundays for about 2 years. I am now part of the Friday Group.

What do you love most about performing in drag? - Darling, this is not even a question. I get to be who I want to be! Name it! I can be an actress from 1940’s Old Hollywood to a black belter diva from the 60’s to a trashy singer from the 80’s to the fiercest pop superstars of today!

Also, this may sound cliché but I love the applause and the cheers from the crowd. Call me an attention whore, but you can’t blame me. It’s highly addictive.

What is your biggest challenge as a drag queen? - Pleasing everyone. I still get the nerves before every show.

It has been proven time and again that some nights are not yours, and the crowd may not be as appreciative like the week prior. Some of them may actually say that you are not pretty enough, skinny enough, feminine enough, or even not good enough, but that shouldn't stop you from believing in yourself and from doing what you do best.

Oh, and fitting into costumes that are 2 dress sizes smaller than me is definitely a big challenge. I blame Captivating Katkat for that.(laughs)

What are some of the biggest misconceptions about drag queens? - That all drag queens are BOTTOMS. Trust me boys, I can do better than your boyfriends. LOLS.

Also, drag queens are not always cross dressers or transgendered. Most of us are actually just like most of you, PAMINTA in the morning, DIVA by night. Ever seen Rupaul’s Drag Race? We just have the guts to actually do it onstage and express ourselves through songs wearing the biggest hair you’ve seen, out of this world costumes, and 6-inch HELL, I mean heels.

Who is your biggest celebrity inspiration? Adele for her sincerity every time she performs, Beyonce for her fierceness, Kylie Minogue for her timelessness, Aretha Franklin for her singing prowess, and RuPaul for introducing DRAG culture to the whole world.

Has performing in drag taught you anything about yourself? - First, it became harder to find a new boyfriend. (laughs)

Seriously though, I have learned that there is nothing wrong with dressing up the way you feel inside, and letting your inner diva come out. I am a thick and juicy Asian drag queen, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Yes, the macho culture is out there, but hey, I know deep inside all of those muscular bodied gay men, their inner Mariah Carey, or maybe Whitney, is singing her heart out.

What has been your favorite moment in your drag career? - When I took home about 8 grand in tips in one night! (laughs)
Honestly, my favorite moment was when I actually cried onstage while performing Someone Like You by Adele. To my surprise, some people in the audience actually started crying too. I couldn't do the lip-syncing properly anymore because I was sobbing, but the audience sang and finished the song for me. It was lovely and definitely unforgettable.

That was the night after my boyfriend who convinced me to do drag broke-up a 2-year relationship with me. 

That night I learned that even if you lose someone dear to your heart, there will be people who are definitely going to be there for you, and in my case, a lot of them I didn't even know.

What is your message to the drag queen hopefuls who want to get started in the art?
It gets better. Wait, we’re not talking about bullying, are we?

To the young princesses out there, learn how to put on your make-up and blend properly, memorize and understand the lyrics of your song, feel the emotions, find your niche but don’t hesitate to experiment, and most importantly, stay humble. You might not know it but some people would actually look up to you when the time comes.


Ladies and gentlemen, this is Dee Dee Holliday. This interview is all her and I couldn't possibly dream of coming up with the kind of answers she provided her. And thus we all get to better appreciate what a drag superstar she really is. Love you darling!

If you want to catch Dee Dee's performances, be sure to visit O Bar Ortigas on a Friday night!

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