Lumina Klum-DeVille started performing sometime in 2010, after a friend of his (Deedee Holliday) asked him to do a segue number. “Oh boy! It (felt, and still) feels like you’re in a different world (when performing),” he said. “All the adrenalin pumping throughout your body. (It’s like) you’re like in a big room all alone. You can only see and hear yourself.”
And so he became a drag queen who happens to have been named after – err – luminescence. “I personally did not choose my name,” Lumina admitted. “A close friend saw me having coffee at Starbucks in Gateway, and then all of a sudden, I received a text message from this friend, saying: ‘Lumina! ‘Yan dapat ang name mo kasi nagliliwanag ka sa araw’. So from then on, I made sure that every time I go on stage I shine bright like a diamond.”
No, contrary to the stereotype (that is often detrimental to the transgender community), being a drag queen is not necessarily akin to being transgender (though some of those performing in drag shows MAY self-identify as transgenders). Lumina, in fact, self-identifies as a “gay guy doing drag”, so drag is – for him – but a performance.
“Performing is a challenge, definitely,” he said. In fact, “every time you step on the stage, it is a challenge.” Specifically, the “first challenge is in preparing how you look. Secondly, there’s the issue of how you connect with your audience. And thirdly, there’s the challenge of making sure those who see you ‘feel’ the song.”
Lumina counts as his influences the “fierce drag superstars here in Metro Manila; my drag moms, including Eva Papaya, Deedee Holliday, Jaja Angeles and Alanis.”
But even if he has been performing for a while now, “a lot remains challenging. Actually, everything is a challenge in this industry. Probably my greatest challenge is to expand my knowledge when it comes to music eras. You cannot survive in this industry if you stick with one act only,” he said. “It’s a good thing that I have my drag moms to help me. They give me suggestions, sometimes beyond the norms, and from there I try to do it but added with my own touches here and there.”
Many may be dismissive of drag performing, with others probably even arguing on how detrimental it may be to the overall LGBT struggle. But Lumina said that drag acts can help promote LGBT issues. Aside from the (most) apparent attention-getting attribute of the acts, “doing drag teaches us – as it taught me – to express myself no matter what,” he said. “It is drag, after all, that taught me to stand firm on what I believe in.” It helps, of course, that through the performances “you share your talents and you make people happy.”
And what lies for Lumina in the future? “Just simple: Maybe do a TV commercial in full drag, or be a part of a teleserye with an aswang role in drag,” he laughed.
Catch Lumina Klum-DeVille at Midz Lounge Bar Malate at Orosa cor Nakpil St. in Malate, Manila every Thursday and Saturday.