rainbow crew is an ongoing interview series celebrating the best LGBTQ+ representation on screen. Each installment showcases talent working on both sides of the camera, including queer creatives and community allies.
Next, we’re talking to Endurance race France Hot Jiggly host.
After quickly becoming a fan favorite in drag race season four, Jiggly Caliente established himself as a legend on the scene thanks to notable appearances on Pose Y All stars 6. And now, 10 years after her Werk Room debut, Jiggly is back on our screens as a judge on philippines drag race.
“Honestly, it seems like all my hard work has come full circle,” Jiggly Caliente tells us, and she’s absolutely right.
As a two-time contestant, the Filipino-American star has absolutely put in the effort, and that’s also why this new role is perfect for Jiggly. She’s been there, she knows what she’s like and now it’s time to share everything she’s learned with a whole new generation of talent in the Philippines.
Join us here at digital spy as we chat with Jiggly Caliente about philippines drag race and why it is vital to hear Tagalog spoken around the world now on screen.
What makes drag in the Philippines different from the rest of the world? What makes it unique compared to other forms of drag?
Well, I mean, let’s start with the fact that if you’re anything like our fans, it has the prettiest cast of any franchise. [laughs]. That’s going to get me in a lot of trouble. They’re going to kill me for all that.
But I feel like training for drag in the Philippines is different… At bars like O Bar and Nectar, where the performance, whether it’s comedy, dancing or lip-syncing, is definitely focused and honed. Is different. here outside.
At O Bar, they literally go to rehearsal at 4pm, and do a run through of the show around 9pm, and then get ready for the show at midnight. That’s how dedicated these girls are here.
How does it feel to become a judge after competing as a contestant before? Does it impact how you judge the cast?
I took it very seriously and took into account how it felt to be a contestant and all the hard work that goes into it.
I think that separated me from all the other judges that have been in drag race, because I know what it’s like to be in that position… It made it easier to understand from the contestant’s perspective, but I couldn’t be a bitch to be a judge. I had to be very careful, because I know what it is.
you mentioned Recently that speaking Tagalog on the show meant a lot to you. Could you explain why in more detail?
I was born in the Philippines and didn’t move to the US until I was 10 years old. So for me to be able to speak my native language in a drag race franchise, I felt empowered. I felt that representation really matters.
Because drag race it is a world spectacle. philippines drag race It’s not just playing in the Philippines; it’s playing all over the world, at least on WOW Presents Plus.
It is very important that other people around the world, or at least other Filipinos around the world, hear your language spoken.
In episode two, Corazon wore one of her own dresses under an outfit she created in the design challenge. As a judge, you pointed out that this technically broke the rules. Was it an awkward moment for you?
For me, it felt a bit awkward, because I know the rules. But also, at the same time, if the other girls are making all their outfits, and you just bring one dress from home and add something to it, that’s cheating. There was no way I could justify that to her. So I had to ask.
It was too obvious that dress was off the rack. It was an imitation of Hervé Leger. I say it like, “Honey, first of all, it’s a knock-off. You missed points right there. Second of all, you’re trying to make it happen while making this dress.”
But the good thing about that is that she was honest about the situation. She admitted it and said, “Yeah, I didn’t make this dress. I bought it and brought it from home.”
That at least speaks volumes about her credibility to be honest about the fact that she cheated. [laughs].
Trans drag queens are finally getting their dues drag race and really prosperous. What does it mean to you to be part of that?
To be honest, being trans and being Filipina, with philippines drag race being outside, it feels like all the hard work and sacrifice and all the naysayers make it worth it. Because we have always been here. It’s not like we weren’t ever part of the drag line. We have been part of the fabric of drag.
So it’s nice that it’s finally recognized and seen as part of that.
you also starred Pose, another turning point for trans representation on screen? What is it like to remember that experience now?
I will say to be in Pose It was like watching people do a master class right in front of you. The talent of Janet Mock and Steven Canals in the directing and writing booth – watching them at work is incredible. And then seeing Billy Porter deliver his lines effortlessly, just with conviction and power, it was really a masterclass right in front of you. It was great. And Angelica…
It also felt good because I was the only Filipino Asian girl in the cast, so it was good that they were able to spread the word about POC, not only with the Black and Latino community, but also with the Asian community. Because we are also part of the common thread of queer culture and ballroom dancing. We are also the least represented in the culture.
That’s why philippines drag race it’s so important. I’ve always felt that my representation, and myself going into anything I’ve done, was vivid to myself. Because I knew that Asian representation is not always in the foreground. And if we are, we are stereotyped.
I feel like I’m breaking all the stereotypes of what an Asian is on TV. So it’s great to be able to be a part of that magic and for kids to see, “Oh, there’s someone who looks like me. Because I didn’t see that when I was a kid.”
Looking back, are there any particular moments of queer representation on screen that really resonated with you?
It may sound a bit funny, but I’d say Chi-Chi Rodriguez from To Wong Foo [Thanks for Everything!]because Chi-Chi was finding herself, and not necessarily knowing who she was as a drag artist…
I was wondering who I was at that time. For her to find out from her her path into the world of drag and who she was in the movie, it just felt like, “I saw myself.”
philippines drag race premiered with two episodes on August 17 and continues weekly every Wednesday, with Drag Race Philippines: Untucked will air two days later starting Friday, August 19, exclusively on streamer of all things drag, WOW Presents Plus. Subscribe through https://es.wowpresentsplus.com/.
For fans who want to know drag race alumni and presenter Jiggly Caliente, in person, tickets are on sale now for RuPaul’s DragCon UK 2023 at https://uk.rupaulsdragcon.com/.
Interested in talking about all things. drag race? Visit our dedicated subforum.