Jul 21, 2013

[Pink Scene] Know Your Oh Divas - Karen

Karen is one of the longer-term Oh Divas who has performed at the original O Bar location in Malate and eventually at both Ortigas locations as well. She's a whole lot of drag queen to deal with but she certainly has a unique presence on the stage. Personally I think it has a lot to do with her eyes - she has a certain intensity that's most evident when she gazes at the crowd. In that regard she truly maintains a certain amount of presence as she goes through her performances.

Karen has quite a number of tricks in her bag and over the years I've watched her in a wide variety of costumes, wigs, and other ways of tweaking her appearance. Then you have to factor in her many different performance routines, her props and all these other elements that just come together and present what a true Oh Diva that she is.

She's a woman of few words, but she still has a fair amount to say in this Know Your Oh Diva feature. I'm just thankful that she opted to participate in these interviews.

How did you get your drag name, Karen? - Gamit ko yung Karen nung nag-Japan ako. (I used "Karen" when I worked in Japan.)

How did you get started in drag? - Before pa 'ko nag-Japan, nag dra-drag nako sa Miss Gay at Gaya-Gaya. (Before I worked in Japan, I had already started performing in drag in Miss Gay and Imitation competitions).

How did you get started at O Bar? - 2007 pinasok ako ni Jaja kapalit ni Mama Tamako a.k.a. Joey de Leon ng Lola Divas. (In 2007, Jaja brought me in as a replacement for Mama Tamako aka. Joey de Leon of the Lola Divas).

What do you love most about performing in drag? - When I see people enjoying sa performance ko. (When I see people enjoying my performances).

What is your biggest challenge as a drag queen? - Biggest challenge yung isang number lang ang gap, ikaw na ulit at ang dami mong isusuot from head to toe. (Biggest challenge is when there's only one performance number since your last one and there are so many things you need to wear for the next one).

What are some of the biggest misconceptions about drag queens? - Ang akala nila ang dali-daling maging drag queen at pag iniignore yung ginagawa. (People think that it's so easy to become a drag queen and so people ignore what we do.)

Who is your biggest celebrity inspiration? - Top is Adele, then Psy.

Has performing in drag taught you anything about yourself? - Next question.

What has been your favorite moment in your drag career? - Pag me gagawin kang bagong piyesa at bonggang-bonga ang costume. (When you you have a new piece to work on with a totally fabulous costume!)

What is your message to the drag queen hopefuls who want to get started in the art? - Just be yourself. Isapuso ang kanta, kabisaduhin ang piyesa, bonggahan ang costume and go with the flow. (Take the song to heart, memorize your number, make your costume fabulous and go with the flow).

And that the unique Oh Diva Karen. You can typically catch her at O Bar Ortigas on Wednesday and Thursday nights - be sure to wave hello when you enjoy her shows! Just be prepared for the chance that she'll drag you up on stage with her! 

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