Recently, the boys of raannt were lucky enough to chat it up with Ongina, drag illusionist extraordinaire, most famous for her presence on Season 1 of Rupaul's Drag Race...Here's what she had to say...
1. What is your name and what title would you use to describe yourself?
Like my real name? Ryan. My drag name is, as you know, Ongina and a title that would best describe her? GORGEOUS!
2. How did you come up with the name Ongina?
Ongina derives from my middle name "Ong" and using the last three letters of a certain kind of "ina" that I was not blessed with. So instead I made ONGINA!
3. On a recent comedy show you joked that you think you should have won Rupaul's Drag Race. Do you believe this and what do you think sets you apart from other entertainers?
I did joke about winning, because who doesn't want to win, but I do understand why I was booted off against Bebe, who happened to be the winner, because she IS who they are looking for. I was far from the typical drag queen and some people still don't understand why I was on the show since I was very gender bend, but what people have to understand is that there's a lot of different drag illusions. Mine just happens to be what you see.
4. Who are three entertainers, dead or alive, that you draw inspiration from?
I'm sort of a "now" queen, so I tend to draw inspiration from entertainers like Beyonce (she's my favorite!!!), Katy Perry for her upbeat, no drama, fun and flirty songs, and more recently, Lady Gaga (but that's still sort of a love and hate relationship.)
5. What are three television shows you watch consistently?
True Blood, Grey's Anatomy and more recently, Spartacus! HOT!
6. What are the perks of being a girl?
That I can wear amazing shoes and clothes and feel really beautiful.
7. What are the perks of being a boy?
Who you calling a boy?
8. If you could only celebrate one holiday a year, which would you choose and why?
I'd celebrate Halloween. Forget your birthday, who wants to get old, and forget Christmas its not the same anymore, anyways. And forget about Thanksgiving, thats the gateway to weight gain during the winter season! Halloween is fun, but its sort of like Halloween every time I dress up. Hehe.
9. Any comment on your experience working with Rupaul?
Ru is amazing and the show has put me on a platform that I never expected. If I was given the chance, I would definitely do round 2!
10. Who is someone who you have met as a result of working on Rupaul's Drag Race that has bettered you as a person that you wouldn't have otherwise met and why?
I have met my amazing fans that has truly inspire me to keep on! Especially the ones that share the same story as I do. They have helped me fully overcome my demons about being HIV Positive and has helped me live an even happier life than before, being free and not having to hide who I am as a whole person!
11. What is a movie that has profoundly affect your life? Your career image?
I unfortunately don't watch a lot of movies actually but my I can tell you my top 5 in no particular order: Moulin Rouge, The Fifth Element, To Wong Foo, The Devil Wears Prada, Sex in the City!
12. If you weren't doing drag what would you be doing?
Well currently, I am a Regional Visual Merchandiser for a retail store based out of NYC. I am in charge of six stores on the West Coast including Texas, Nevada and California! I love my job. I get to be creative in a different level. I truly enjoy every minute of it.
13. What is the last book you read, if any and what are you currently reading?
Last book I read was Aiden Shaw's The Sordid Truths. I'm in the middle of reading RuPaul's new book as well.
14. Best city in the world? Best hotel in the world? Best club in the world?
Best city I've been in: London and Florence. Best Hotel I've been in: The Westin Excelsoir in Florence, Italy. Best Club I've been to: My stomping ground, Hiro on Sundays in NYC!!!!
15. We are getting married in August in Vegas. If you were to plan our wedding, what would you plan for us?
Depends on the budget! But CONGRATULATIONS nonetheless! I just better see a wedding dress on someone or I'd throw a fit!
16. If you could change one misconception or cruelty in the world what would you change and why?
Stop the war! Seriously. People don't need to be dying over issues they can resolve without violence and death!
17. What is your favorite hat you have made or worn and why?
I really love the alligator hat I wore during the reunion special because its so couture! I also like my Barbie hat on the 3rd episode because, well, its a Barbie on my head! I love it! I donated that hat for an equality benefit here in California and made a couple hundred bucks!
18. You shared on Rupaul's Drag Race that you are HIV+. Your honesty has served as inspiration and hope for a lot of people. What did you gain personally from sharing that on the show?
Like I said above, it has helped overcome my demons and has helped me live a free life. I am no longer afraid and with it, I am able to share my story with other people in hopes that they will find inspiration from it. I'm hoping that by bringing it in the forefront of the media, it will help educate people to protect themselves wether they are negative or positive and live a life worth living!
19. Where will Ongina be in 20 years?
I will be near 50 in 20 years and I don't know what the future holds for me. I hope to expand my career as Ongina and expand the responsibility I have of being an HIV spokesperson to further raise awareness and continue educating people all over the world about the importance of HIV education and prevention.
20. Boxers, Briefs, Panties or nothing at all?
Thanks Sexy!!! We love you!!!