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How 'Drag Den' is evolving for season 2 and what you can expect from 'Retribution'

By Yoniel Acebuche Published Jan 17, 2024 5:44 pm

Drag is constantly evolving and the second season of Drag Den wants to show all that and more.

The drag reality competition, hosted by RuPaul’s Drag Race All Star Manila Luzon, will soon premiere its second season. And like the art form, the show isn’t afraid to embrace change with its unusual rules and set-up.

"We like to keep it new and interesting. I think that the Filipino audience deserves that. We don't want anything to become stale," the “Drag Lord” said during a media roundtable interview on Monday, Jan. 15.

"Drag is something that's always evolving. There are always new stories to tell. There are always different Queens with different points of view. And I think that Drag Den Season Two: Retribution reflects that," the Fil-Am drag queen added.

In its first season, won by Naia, competitors had to go through different challenges such as pageants, talent shows, and of course, performing in front of the judges. So what can we expect in the next season?

Naia was crowned as the first Drag Den's Drag Supreme

LGBTQ+ expression at its freest

Despite the diversity of their techniques, drag queens' ultimate aim is self-discovery. People can explore and express their gender identification via the art genre of drag. Getting glammed up and dressing up in elaborate costumes are only two aspects of this complicated job.

Sassa Gurl, a content creator and one of the show's hosts known as the "Drag Runner," said that people often misunderstand drag as it’s more than just lip-synching and dressing up like women. It’s an artistic medium in which individuals can express themselves and question conventional gender roles.

"Drag is not a template, it's an art, it's freedom. And somehow I realized that in drag, you make the rules. And we apply that to the show. We make our own rules. We are not templated by anything or anyone. It's just that this is our this is freedom and we express it," Sassa said.

Pura Luka Vega during the season one finale

This also rings true for Manila Luzon, who said that Drag Den allows its drag queen contestant to showcase their stories, infused with the country's culture.

For Miss Grand International 2016 first runner-up Nicole Cordoves, who serves as a judge or “Drag Dealer” on the series, Drag Den allows its contestants to live out their fantasies.

"It's empowering [that] you can reinvent yourself as constantly as you can, as much as you can,” she said.

Manila echoed this, adding that drag doesn’t just transform looks, but also how a person feels about themselves.

"On our show, we have 10 different queens and all these different kinds of challenges that offered them opportunities to try something new, to transform it to something new, and we get to watch it on it and be entertained by it," the drag superstar said.

Nicole Cordoves as one of the hosts of Drag Den Philippines

More diverse queens and stories

For this season, Direk Rod Singhand the rest of the season one queens went across the provinces to find contestants for this year's season, wanting to amplify "diversity" in terms of being an avenue to tell the queen's story.

"When we talk about diversity, it shouldn't be like diversity not just based on gender because it's a queer show. We also look at economic aspects because we're in the Philippines. You know, drag is really expensive. So we try to like see it that way that we're not going to judge them according to the value of their drag," she said.

Through this method, the show wanted to add "another layer" to diversity by ensuring everybody can access Drag Den regardless of what kind of drag queen they are.

"I personally went to the province just to like scout drag queens out there because a lot of the queens were in the province because they have an impression that this is just for the Manila queens because they have access to the production, to the set and all," the director said.

Manila Luzon strutted the runway during the season one finale of Drag Den PH

Drag Den with Manila Luzon Season Two: Retribution is produced by CS Studios, created and directed by Rod Singh and Antoinette Jadaone of Project 8 Projects. It's set to be launched on Jan. 18, 2024, with a new episode every week on Prime Video.

The new season will also star ten sickening queens such as Deja, Margaux Rita, Elvira B, Feyvah Fatalé, Maria Lava, Mrs. Tan, Moi, Marlyn, Jean Vogue, and Russia Fox, hoping to win the highly coveted "Drag Supreme" title.