EXCLUSIVE: Reality Tea Speaks To RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars’ Manila Luzon!


Yesterday I got the exciting opportunity to speak to Manila Luzon. As everybody knows I am an enormous fan of RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race. Manilla was funny, candid, and his larger-than-life, exuberant persona came through over the phone! 

"I love talking about myself," Manila exclaimed when I thanked him for speaking with Reality Tea. And that about sums it up.  

Why did you decide to return for All Stars Drag Race?

"The money, kinda! I didn't win my season and I heard they were giving away a lot more money on the all stars season. So, I was like 'Well I did pretty well last time so let me take my chances again.' You can kinda like go through a list of all the girls that had been there and be like, 'Well I think I could take her and I think I could take her too. You know I sent her home before, let's do this!' And I decided to go back on TV for my fans so they could see me."


How was All Stars different from regular Drag Race?

"It was actually less cuthroat than the previous seasons. Mostly because you're going into it as sisters. When you got to Drag Race the first time you were forming this sisterly bond, but this time you already have that. Like a sorority. You know the girls that have come before you, you know the girls that have come after you. We've all missed each other. And we all know each other and respect each other as drag queens and artists."

"And then the whole team thing is totally whack because before you would see a girl and her wig wouldn't be brushed properly in the back and she couldn't see it. But this time the girls is your partner so you wanna make sure that her hair looks good so you don't get hurt if you go on the runway with busted wigs and you get in the bottom for it. You actually had someone to keep an eye on so it actually made it a lot easier. " 

"Also, they fell like flies, honey! Drop, drop, drop, drop! Before you know it, we're almost done!"

What was it like working with Latrice Royale?

"It was an extreme pleasure. I worked with Latrice on an episode of Drag U, season 3 and she was really cool. And she was one of my favorites on season 4 so I was really excited that we got to work together. I like big, over-the-top drag and you can't get any bigger or more over-the-top than Miss Latrice Royale!"

"Latrice is one of the best performers and when picking a partner I picked Latrice for a reason. I would prefer for her to be lipsyncing on my team as opposed to lipsync against her." 

Are we gonna get to see you Lipsync For Your Life?

Ummmm… welllll, maybe towards the end! (Laughs). I can't tell you that. The funny thing is at this point on like All Stars you might be sent home and you never get to Lipsync. 

As for last week's challenge, Manila was surprised they were in the bottom two. "In a comedy challege! Of all the challenges. It was like a set-up, right! Ru just does not think I'm funny. She just keeps putting me in the bottom anytime I try to be funny."

Let's talk about your Madonna impersonation. Have you done that before?

"I've maybe performed a couple of Madonna songs kinda dressed like Madonna, that's why I have the wig. Cause I don't usually wear that wig color. It was my first time doing a Madonna parody. I didn't have any clue how to do the accent so I just kinda like winged it and it kinda came out pretty accurately." 

"My season three I chose Imelda Marcos as my celebrity impersonation. The problem is not many people know who she is because of the politics, so I tried going for a more recognizable diva. And no one has ever done Madonna. And c'mon it's a show with drag queens. It's the gayest show on TV so Madonna has to be there somewhere, right?"

So there's not a lot of drama this season?

"We kind of respect each other. Whoever cast All Stars cast all the  people that are people's favorites. And people tend to like the ones that are nice queens more so than the queens than are bitches. You had all the seasons' Miss Congeniality. We're all pretty nice people. The meanest person there was, I think, me! (laughs). Maybe Yara [Sofia] was being mean to start drama but no one understands her anyway!"

How are you coping with the passing of Sahara Davenport?

"For me, it was an extreme loss. However I have a great family support system and I have great friends and I have all my sisters from Drag Race who are here for me. And I'm getting a lot of love from all of my fans and all of Sahara's fans as well. Everybody's helping." 

"Losing someone close, unexpectedly, and at such a young age really kinda puts life into perspective. And we're all gonna die. So it's all about the journey. I just wanna live my life as happily as I can, the way I wanna live it. And I get to do it on TV so it gets to be documented for forever and ever and ever. That's kinda cool."

"I'm just getting a lot of love from everywhere, especially from the fans. I really appreciate that. It's really helping me through it."

What is next for Manila?

My touring schedule is going crazy. I'm all over the country, I'm going to Canada next week. I'm just traveling, trying to make money, trying to get myself out there so I can meet my fans so they can see me. And on the way maybe I'll come up with some new projects. But right now I'm just kind of enjoying the RuPaul's All Stars ride. 

How did you come up with Manila and how has she evolved over the years?

"I started Manila when I first came out of the closet. It was kind of an organic way of growing as a drag queen and creating its own theme. But it was really just coming from me. I didn't really set a goal for what my drag persona would be or how they would act or how they would look. I just tried to do 'me' the best way I could but in a wig and heels. And I came out as Manila. I'm lucky cause she looks fierce, honey!"

"I just try to be myself at all times. I'm the same as Manila as I am as Karl. So there really isn't much of a difference except for maybe pancake makeup and 8 feet wigs and seven inch heels." 

Is there anything that you would like fans to know about you?

"Obviously the show was filmed seven months ago and my life has taken a dramatic change in the meantime. It's a learning experience and I'm just going through life, trying to live my way and I guess I'm gonna watch the show and see if I'm acting crazy or if I'm proud of my moments. I'm always trying to evolve."

[Photo Credit: Joseph Marzullo/WENN.com]