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Interview: Huluween Dragstravaganza's Ginger Minj & Manila Luzon

By Josh Taylor

Huluween’s Dragstravaganza adds another notch to the ever-growing art and performance of drag. I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with two of the stars, Ginger Minj and Manila Luzon, about the new Halloween special which premiered on October 1st. Over the last decade, drag has grown its appeal to a broader audience thanks to shows like Dragula and especially Rupaul’s Drag Race, but Ginger Minj states that this special isn’t a competition show and it’s something more akin to what you’d find at any live local show. “None of us feel like we are in competition, we're able to bounce off of each other, and I think that makes each of our performances individually stronger. We really get to show off what we do and what we're good at.” With the artform’s growth, there have certainly been detractors. Ginger mentions, “ I feel like there's so much circling in the air right now. What are drag shows? Are they appropriate? How are they destroying the fabric of America? Well we're not destroying it, we're just making a gown out of the fabric of America. I think that this is a great representation of what an actual drag show really is. You know, it's fun, it's campy, it takes all of these scary things and makes them really, really fun and really accessible in a very safe way.” As drag expands its reach, queens are using their art to bring joy and spread their message of diversity and inclusion. Recently Manila Luzon was able to put on a show in the Philippines and Ginger Minj has been featured on Netflix’s Dumplin’ and the Disney+ film Hocus Pocus 2. Now having Hulu give them the space to create a special is yet another extension of the artform’s growth Huluween does seem to be a natural fit for a special like this. Drag and Halloween both share costumes, makeup, and wigs. If anything, it feels like the perfect holiday for the LGBTQ+ community as Manila pointed out to me. She stated, “Halloween is when we can all get dressed up. We are in a safe place where we can become any character and let parts of our personality shine through.” For the LGBTQ+ community, Halloween carries with it a feeling of safety. You can dress up, put on makeup, wear a wig, and treat yourself as something some people may scoff at any other day of the year. It gives people a chance to experiment with things they often wouldn’t no matter your gender or sexual orientation. Ginger and Manila both gained a larger following off of their time on Rupaul’s Drag Race but the Huluween Dragstravaganza has more to offer than just former Drag Race talent. Manila gave me some insights prior to the premiere letting me know what audiences could expect. “I'm excited for fans of the queens from RuPaul's Drag Race to see some other drag representation. We have a drag king. We have drag legends like Jackie Beat and Lady Bunny joining us. We have Selene Luna who’s a burlesque performer. We have Landon Cider from Dragula. There's like a lot more representation from the community in this special that our fans might not know yet.” The Huluween Dragstravaganza combines comedy, horror, music, and dance, but for Ginger Minj she said, “It’s not just a drag show and it’s not just gay. It’s very queer and representative of who we are and that’s what I really love about this!”

The Huluween Dragstravaganza is available on Hulu now.

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