Jun 9, 2013

[Pink Scene] Know Your Oh Divas - Letlet

One of the things that I love most about the drag shows at O Bar Ortigas is the fact that each Oh Diva has such a unique personality. You can see this in terms of how they do their make-up, how they dress, how they move on stage and based on the types of songs that they choose. These are all aspects of a greater whole - of what makes each Oh Diva so fabulously unique.

Letlet is certainly one of the more experienced drag queens at O Bar. Her performances celebrate classic artists of song, stage and screen in a manner that is uniquely hers. And while some might joke that her choice of songs to perform sometimes feels a little dated - these are often the very same people who can't help but sing along during her next number. She knows how to play to the crowd and to get everyone cheering and shouting like some master conductor of the everyone at the bar.

So let's get to know Letlet a little better in this week's Know Your Oh Divas feature interview.

How did you get your drag name? - Sa Olangapo - dahil may umampon sa aking isang bading. Kaya binigyan niya ako ng pangalan. (In Olangapo - because I was "adopted" by a queen, who also gave me that name.)

How did you get started in drag? - Kinuha ako ng nanay-nanayan kong bading from Olangapo to Manila. Umatend kami ng isang gay party sa Tondo. Inutusan ako mag perform ng isang number, at dun nag umpisa ang pagiging ganap kong drag queen. Then Japan na 'ko, then Politixx Bar in Malate, Campus Diner in Taft, then the Library, Malate. (My gay mother took me from Olangapo to Manila. There we attended a gay party in Tondo. She made me perform a number, and that's how I began as a drag queen. Then I went to Japan, then Politixx Bar in Malate, Campus Diner in Taft and then The Library, Malate.)

How did you get started at O Bar? - Hinila ako ni Eva Papaya dahil kulang ng isang performer nung gabing 'yon - hanggang sa nagustuhan na kami nina Sir Mon at Sir Rupert ang show namin. Every Sunday ang ibinigay sa aming sked at 5 years din kaming Sunday Group ni Eva...kaming dalawa na lang ang natira. (The show was missing one more performer that night, so Eva Papaya dragged me along - until Sir Mon and Sir Rupert liked our show. They gave us the Sunday sked and for 5 years I was part of the Sunday Group with Eva...now it's just the two of us left.)

What do you love most about performing in drag? - Natutuwa ako kapag may mga taong natutuwa at natatawa sa mga ginagawa ko. Dun masaya na ko. Mahirap ang mag pasaya ng tao, lalo pa't hindi kami nagsasalita at full lip synch lang. (I love it when people find my performances enjoyable and funny. That already makes me happy. It's not easy to make other people smile, especially since we don't talk since it's full lip synch only.)

What is your biggest challenge as a drag queen? - Mas na-chachalenge ako kapag may pinpagawan sa akin na hindi ko pa na-peperform, lalo pa't magkabisado ako ng bagong music. Dun na-chachalenge ako. (I'm more challenged when I have to perform something for the first time, especially when I have to memorize new music. That's what challenges me the most.)

What are some of the misunderstandings among drag queens? - Siguro ang mga maling bagay na ginagawa o nagagawa sa akin ng isang tao biliang drag queen is yung ako ang ginagaya. Impersonator na nga ako, ginagaya pa pati style ko. Hindi madali ang ginagawa namin, eh sila pinapanood ka, before you know it, ganun na din ang ginagawa nila. I hate people and co-performers who do that. (I guess one of the mistakes that have been done by other drag queens is when they copy me. I'm already an impersonator, and then they're copying me and my style. It's not easy what we do - but they'll be watching you and before you know it, they'll be performing in the exact same way. I hate people and co-performers who do that.)

Who is your biggest celebrity inspiration? - I really admire Diana Ross. She's my real inspiration.

Has performing in drag taught you anything about yourself? - Nakapag-pundar din ako kahit papaano sa ganitong trabaho. Nakapag-Japan, nakapagtrabaho on TV sa SiS on GMA 7 with the Raging Divas, at natuto akong makisalamuha sa kahit sinong tao nang hindi na masyado nahiya. (I've managed to more or less establish myself in this industry. I've worked in Japan, I've worked on TV on the show SiS on GMA7 with the Raging Divas, and I've learned to get along with almost anybody without being shy.)

What has been your favorite moment in your drag career? - Nung na-feature ang buhay naming mga Raging Divas sa Magpakailanman at si Michael de Mesa ang gumanap sa buhay ko. That made me proud. (That's when the lives of the Raging Divas were featured on Magpakailanman and Michael de Mesa portrayed me. That made me proud.)

What is your message to the drag queen hopefuls who want to get started in the art? - Ayusin nila mabuti ang kanilang trabaho. Love your job at always be humble. At wag gayahin kung alam nilang may gumagawa na. (Do your job well. Love your job and always be humble. And don't copy what other queens do.)

And those are the words of the fierce and fabulous Letlet. You can typically catch her at O Bar Ortigas on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays together with the rest of the Oh Divas!

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