Arts and Culture

Cosplay to Drag: Cebuana Drag Queen Vi Ponce performs for family for the first time

By: - February 29, 2024

Cebuana drag queen Vi Ponce was an active cosplayer before becoming a drag queen during the pandemic. Her drag name even comes from Vi, a popular League of Legends character. In the last two years, she went from doing simple drag makeup tutorials on the Kumu app, to now performing in the malls and bars all over Cebu.

I want to showcase myself on why I love this hobby, why this is my passion. Now, I feel seen by my brothers and sisters. I can see that they’re starting to support me


Vi Ponce

Cebuana Drag Queen

Vi Ponce

Ponce does her own makeup, styles her own wigs, and sews her own outfits (Photo grabbed from Vi Ponce’s official Instagram page)

On February 24, during a watch party of RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs. the World Season 2, she performed in front of her family members for the first time. Ponce’s whole family is aware of her love for cosplay. They even attended shows where she sang Japanese anime theme songs while cosplaying female characters. However, they did know that she did drag until very recently. 

“I always tell them that I have a show or whatever, but they didn’t know that it was drag,” she said.

Ponce did not actually plan for her family to attend the watch party; it was a complete accident.

“I mostly do promotions through my Instagram, so they can’t see it. But I posted [about the watch party] on my Facebook, and they were supportive by sharing my drag photos to their wall and stories. Then, they decided to go,” she added.  

Vi Ponce

Ponce performs a heartfelt lip sync of ‘Isa Pang Araw’ (2018) by Sarah Geronimo for friends and family

Drag, for Ponce, is a form of art where performers sing and dance in elaborate outfits with exaggerated body proportions. This is helpful for her as with every performance, she is able to make money while still pursuing her art. 

“I want to showcase myself on why I love this hobby, why this is my passion. Now, I feel seen by my brothers and sisters. I can see that they’re starting to support me,” Ponce said, right after her performance. 

Vi Ponce

For Vi Ponce, drag queens express femininity however they can (Photo grabbed from Vi Ponce’s official Instagram page)

Ponce even credits her love for singing to karaoke sessions with the family every Sunday. This prepared her for the many lip sync numbers she would perform as a cosplayer and as a drag queen. Her lifelong love for self-styling made the transition from cosplay to drag easier, but she admits that drag as a whole is much more challenging.

“In cosplay, you embody the character you want to be. But in drag, you are creating your own persona, your own character to show to people,” she said. 

Even the cleanup after a drag show can be exhausting; it takes weeks to fully remove the makeup and wash the outfits. She is not worried, however, as she has found the drag scene in Cebu to be very supportive, where queens lend each other clothes and wigs.

Vi Ponce

Ponce, second to the right, often styles wigs for her fellow queens

“Cebu drag started way before I started. I am very happy that [my fellow queens] welcomed me. [My family] likes [them],” she said.

There are ups and downs to being a drag queen, which is why Ponce appreciates every bit of help from the people around her, fellow queens, friends, and now, her family.

“My family is really a big deal to me. Showing up matters. Even if I’m just a supporting character, [if] they’re showing their support, it really helps me boost my confidence,” she added.

Vi Ponce is available for bookings, contact her through [email protected] or her official Instagram account, @its.viponce.


Original Bukag Weavers in Tuburan, Cebu

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