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Filipino drag artists bring Netflix characters to life for Pride

Faces of representation

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By JOHN LEGASPI

In the past, we were used to seeing LGBTQIA+ characters on TV and film in the sidelines, and often in roles that were limited to giving comic relief in dramas and romance stories. These portrayals shaped the ways society sees people belonging to the community as a joke or people whom one should not take seriously.

Now, these characters are becoming the leads of their stories as the media and entertainment industries put them at the forefront, fleshing out stories and voices that must be heard. Streaming platform Netflix, alongside others, have been championing LGBTQIA+ visibility by offering a diverse slate of shows and films, which allow people to see and understand their lives.

“Representation in the media is absolutely important for me as an LGBTQIA+ person because it validates my existence in a positive way,” says drag artist Dee Dee Holliday. “LGBTQIA+ people are not just sidekicks or objects of humor. We have backstories and amazing life experiences to tell, which deserve to be put out there for all the world to see. Representation helps in eliminating negative biases toward people like me.”

With the community still receiving attacks and discrimination, it is important now, more than ever, that their voices must be heard. “We may still live in a world of white dominance and heterocentrism, but I think we can agree that we are in the middle of postmodern destabilizing forces when it comes to sexuality and race,” says filmmaker Gwendolyn Audrey Foster.

“As we all know, the media is a very powerful tool in influencing the views of people,” drag artist Marina Summers adds. “Seeing more LGBTQIA+ individuals and their stories could widely spread a better understanding of our community to viewers of all ages.”
To celebrate the spirit of Pride, Netflix joins forces with local drag artists to spread love and joy through amazing makeup transformations. Marina Summers and Dee Dee Holliday, together with other drag queens Minty Fresh, Vinas DeLuxe, and Brigiding Gigi, created beauty looks channeling their beloved characters.

Bold and regal, drag queens are the epitome of fantasy and beauty. People marvel at their stunning looks, and it is hard not to be affected by their positive attitude. As the iconic RuPaul said, “When you become the image of your own imagination, it’s the most powerful thing you could ever do.” From fierce ladies to colorful queer characters, check out these artists’ metamorphosis as they become their favorite LGBTQIA+ characters.

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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Spellman features great LGBTQIA+ representation, which is very important especially in this time. This is why for Pride, I decided to transform into Sabrina! She is strong, powerful, fearless, and an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community. She is not afraid to show everyone her true self. – MINTY FRESH

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Cheryl Blossom [of Riverdale] can enter a room and make everyone stop with her amazing fashion sense. She is strong yet vulnerable. She is cunning but definitely relatable. She went through a tough childhood, having to hide her sexuality from her parents, but she rose above and embraced who she is. She is an amazing friend just like me. – DEE DEE HOLLIDAY

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In the spirit of Pride, I am recreating one of my favorite characters from Netflix, Lily Iglehart of Sex Education. I chose her because aside from being bold, creative, different, and unapologetic, she is also a strong representation of queer self-discovery and sexual identity. – MARINA SUMMERS

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I sew glimpses of myself in Trixie Mattel’s journey to drag superstardom! I see in her my drive and passion to share my art and my point-of-view through the medium of drag performances! Drag and Pride is about carrying on with your art and picking up your moving parts as you go along this journey. It is not all glamor and fantasy, but taking it all in makes it truly beautiful. – VINAS DELUXE

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I chose Elite and transformed myself into Omar Ayuso (portraying the character Omar Shanaa)! He is very charming and I admire his character development. Omar showed that religion and family should not hinder someone’s happiness. He may have struggled at first, but he learned self-acceptance and the importance of fighting for love. – BRIGIDING GIGI

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