Cassandra the Queen didn’t expect to be nominated for Favourite Showgirl at the 2023 DIVA Awards. More than that, she didn’t expect to win the whole thing. “I think I said… ‘are you sure?’” she recalled to Star Observer.
So, how did this newcomer to the drag business manage to take one of the community’s most prestigious honours?
That, she could not answer. But she is clearly doing something right. Having only taken up Drag two years ago, this award felt like validation for her, and that she was indeed doing the right thing.
“It has put a bit of pressure on” she humbly admits, confessing she could no longer take some performances for granted.
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Moving From the Philippines to Australia
Performance has been in Cassandra’s blood long before she ever donned drag. Born and raised in the Philippines, and deeply proud of that fact. “I dabbled in drag” she remembered, but a deeply conservative Catholic culture and the fear of judgement held her back. But that didn’t stop her love of the stage, embracing her home country’s love of theatre and performing to the fullest extent. However, she does lament the fact that she didn’t inherit her nation’s almost supernatural ability as a singer.
“People Often Don’t See Us In The Same Way’
Australia offered Cassandra a fresh start, and though at times she has struggled with some cultural differences (notably the humour she remembered), she has now truly begun to settle in with her drag.
With this, she also has created a totally unique opportunity. “I want people to see the visual representation of my culture” she asserted, highlighting the fact that the common image of an Asian in the minds of Australians is dominated by recollections of China and Japan, despite the large number of Filipinos that call this country home.
“People often don’t see us in the same way, but we have very visual representations of our culture”.
Her position as a Filipino drag performer in a predominantly white world is also not lost on Cassandra. She hopes she can serve as an example for not just young queer Filipinos, but all those who want to enter the performing arts. For now, though, Cassandra is just happy to bask in the glory of her award. Hoping one day to commit to drag full-time, this honour has certainly proven one thing, Cassandra the Queen is a name to be looking out for.