Ongina Sashays Her Own Way


Drag Race‘s Ongina (Ryan Palao)

***Spoilert alert for Canadian viewers*** This article reveals information about which contestant was eliminated in episode 5.

For a show that has only aired five episodes in total, RuPaul’s Drag Race has already managed to leave quite an imprint on
the cultural landscape.

There is RuPaul herself in all her bewigged, sequinned glory. Then there is
the matter of her catchphrase “Don’t fu*k it up”, not to mention the show’s
elimination tagline “Sashay away.” And, of course there is Drag Race’s very unique elimination
twist which each week involves the bottom two contestants "lip-synching for
your lives."

But the show’s most poignant moment thus far occurred during the fourth
episode when Ongina (Ryan Palao) was declared the winner of the MAC Viva Glam
campaign challenge. Upon learning she would be following in RuPaul’s footsteps
as the new Viva Glam spokesmodel, Ongina literally collapsed onstage as she
sobbed.

Why such an extreme reaction? As someone HIV positive herself, Ongina explained being
HIV positive herself meant that being the spokesmodel for MAC cosmetics was especially meaningful as all of the
proceeds from that particular line are donated to fight HIV/AIDS. Even more moving, Ongina confessed she had kept her
status mostly secret having yet to tell even her family.

Unfortunately for Ongina, on last Monday night’s episode, she heard RuPaul utter the dreaded
words “sashay away” to her. But when we caught up with the show’s first breakout star,
she told us not to worry about her as she’s just fine, honey!

AfterElton: I still can’t believe you
were eliminated!
Ryan Palao:
Why don’t you just go right into it? Just dig the spear in! [Laughing]
Thanks.

AE: I just figured you were a shoe-in
for the top two.
RP:
The Lucy Lawless experience was really good, so being eliminated today
doesn’t mean that it’s going to be the last of me that you’re going to see.

AE: How long have you been doing
drag?
RP:
I started doing it on my 21st birthday, kind of more like
androgynous gender-bend. I’m 27 now so that was six years ago. But I
didn’t start doing full-on drag until I started working at Lucky Chang’s, which
is in New York,
just about two years ago.

AE: What drew you to doing drag?
RP:
I just like the illusion that it creates. I like the specific
expressions that it has. I like the fashion. I like women’s shoes, so the more
reasons and excuses to go buy women’s shoes, the better it was for me.


Photo credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage for MAC Cosmetics

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