Manila Luzon is one of the most recognizable drag queens in the world, known for her campy twist on glamour, her silly cross-eyed expressions and her signature black and blonde wigs. Her tongue-in-cheek style combines humorous themes with elegant fashion; from dresses inspired by cartoon characters to iconic gowns designed after her favorite foods.
Manila first appeared on pop culture’s radar after competing on the third season of the hit reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race on LogoTV in 2010. Her creativity, style and humor captured the adoration of viewers and took her all the way to the end of the competition finishing in second place that season. Even though Manila did not walk away with the crown, cash prize or title of America’s Next Drag Superstar, she has become one of the series’ favorite contestants and went on to tour her unique sense of performance in venues around the world.
Branching out of the traditional lip-synching role that drag queens are normally known for, Manila began creating music and music videos. After collaborating with producers/writers of Lady Gaga and Britney Spears, Manila released her hugely successful hit “Hot Couture” and has continued to produce over a dozen songs and videos. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Manila production without the visuals to go along with it, so each single release also has a slick music video that accompanies it. The videos are signature Manila…visually beautiful and filled with the style of humor that Luzon is known for.
Touring and recording aside, Manila has continued to make appearances on television shows such as MTV’s Made, Bravo’s Real Housewives of New York and even went back into the competition realm for the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars. Additionally, she has been featured in commercials for brands that are inclusive of the LGBT community, including Nine West, American Express and Orbitz.
Manila’s outfits are part of her signature look and are considered by many to be conceptual couture. From the fascinator right down to the pumps, Luzon makes sure her costumes have a thematic consistency while making a fun statement about her artistry. Although she mostly designs her costumes herself, Manila often collaborates with fashion and costume designers such as Viktor Luna from Project Runway and Marco Marco, who has designed for many of pop music’s divas such as Britney Spears, Fergie and Nicki Minaj.
Manila has been fortunate enough to meet many of her fans, who call themselves “Fanilas,” throughout her travels. She enjoys interacting with them, as well as collecting their fan art. Whether it’s in person or on social media, Manila loves when fans express themselves through art and encourages them to continue to create.
It’s been quite a journey since that fateful season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Manila Luzon shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, she’s just getting started.