May 26, 2013

[Pink Scene] Know Your Oh Divas - Eva

Welcome to third interview in this series of "Know Your Oh Divas" feature posts. As much as we've all enjoyed watching these fabulous drag queens perform on stage, there is so much that we don't know about them. And hopefully these blog posts will provide everyone with a bit of a glimpse into just how much more amazing they are beyond what we see at O Bar Ortigas.

Eva Papaya is one of the more experienced drag queens among the Oh Divas and quite the crowd favorite dating back to the O Bar Malate days. She always seems almost larger than life for me given her physical stature and her sheer presence on stage is just amazing. It's not something that I can easily capture with mere words - it's something best experienced in person.

So here we go with another interesting interview with the one and only Eva Papaya!

Drag names are given - For those who are curious, Eva Papaya's drag name was given to her by one of her mentor's from The Library comedy bar - Andrew "Mamu" de Real.

How did you get started in drag? - I started doing drag when my classmates in college forced me to audition as an impersonator - katuwaan lang. It was in one of the comedy bars along Shaw Boulevard called West End Sing-Along Bar. I passed the audition and started to perform 3 times a week at P300 a night. So I'd still play varsity volleyball in school then go straight to the club after to perform - this was the beginning of my career in show business.

How did you get started at O Bar? - I started performing at O Bar 5 years ago with the help of my co-Raging Diva, Cocoy.

What do you love most about performing in drag? - I really love performing, most specially when I'm wearing my favorite handmade costumes and fabulous shoes. I really love shoes!

What is your biggest challenge as a drag queen? - Challenge as a drag queen? When I see other queens, they are all challenges and I will never let them upstage me. Because as a queen, you should maintain your Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions about drag queens? - Some people are so judgmental - they won't give us a chance to show them who we are and what we are. They're always telling us that we're just faggots! No, we're not - they don't know how to appreciate what we're doing and how hard it is for us just to make people laugh and be amazed by our performances. This is my bread and butter and I won't let anyone pull me down.

Who is your biggest celebrity inspiration? - My biggest inspiration is RuPaul - most especially when I was chosen by Circuit Asia to help promote RuPaul in different bars in Makati and Malate for her 2006 concert at the World Trade Center. We were promoting Agape, the story about love. I was so happy and flattered in that moment, even if I didn't have the opportunity to take a picture with RuPaul because Mamu Andrew was rushing me to go back to The Library for another show. But also on that night, I also won as a RuPual lookalike!

Has performing in drag taught you anything about yourself? - I learned how to entertain people - now I have so much confidence.

What has been your favorite moment in your drag career? - My favorite moment was when I joined the GMA 7 TV program "SiS" as a segment host. I never thought that they would give me the chance to be part of the show as a drag queen.

What is your message to the drag queen hopefuls who want to get started in the art? - All I can share to all the aspiring drag queens is to be yourself. If you can do it, then do it now! Show your charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. Like RuPaul said, "We were born naked and the rest is drag." Learn from the experts and GO FOR IT!

And that is the amazing Eva Papaya - a drag queen who towers above others in a rather literal sense. She really pushes the limits of what she can achieve through drag along with a wide variety of creative (and often hilarious) costumes that she actually makes herself!

You can most likely catch Eva at O Bar Ortigas on Thursdays, Saturday and Sundays - although quite frankly she's likely to show up almost any night that O Bar is open.

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