How Does Drag Queen Pangina Heals March To The Beat Of Her Own Drum? Her Answer: Self-Validation.

Photo: Pangina Heals / Facebook (shot by @natprakobsantisukofficial / Instagram)

If you know drag, you should know Pangina Heals. If not, gather around the fireplace, children. It’s time for education.

The co-host of Drag Race Thailand, a host at weekly drag queen events at Bangkok’s Maggie Choo’s, and an overall ooh ah ah sensation, she’s taking the world by storm with her charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent.

True to her go-getter spirit, she also recently stunned the crowd at the White Party Bangkok event in the New Year with an amazing aerial feat when she was suspended in mid-air performing the song “Never Enough” by Loren Allred.

Can you scream YAS? (Video: Pangina Heals / Instagram)

Now, drag fans the world over can experience Pangina’s spirit and her signature “Fight, fight!” screams in the second season of Drag Race Thailand, which now airs on Line TV. (PS: Legendary Singapore drag queen Vanda Miss Joaquim is on it too!)

Prout had the opportunity to speak with Pangina recently on her career, how she sees drag evolving and her experience being part of the Drag Race empire.

Before we begin, we have a small favour to ask of you. Prout’s vision is to inform, educate and connect LGBTQs through mutual interests and meetups, instead of sexual identifiers and body types.

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Prout: Pangina, you’re everywhere! Tell us: how’s the year been for you?

Pangina: I’ve been doing quite a lot: music videos, big events such as a gig for H&M for Moschino, travelling to Singapore, came back from India, went to Drag Con this year and did a United States tour as well. It’s been a monumental year in my life, and doing this ad campaign with billboards — literally, my dream as a drag queen is to be on a billboard in Thailand. It is an open country yet also quite conservative, so to be able to have that visibility as a drag queen in the biggest way possible is huge for me. I feel very Carrie Bradshaw-ish, to have my face on a train. It’s very humbling, very cool. We’re also filming Drag Race Season 2 currently, so a lot is happening.

Prout: Obviously your career has taken on a huge level of success now. Did you picture yourself being here?

Pangina: I’ve never thought that I would have gotten this successful, but I always never thought that what I wanted to do was to earn money. I’ve always wanted to do it because I was happy, it was a passion and whatever you do, if you have these two things in mind, success will come to you regardless of whether you are famous or not.

“That’s really good to have in your mind because a lot of people want to become famous really fast and I don’t think that is the main thing in life.”

Prout: You seem to project a lot of fearlessness in what you do. How does that spirit come about?

Pangina: Honestly, I lost the ability to give a shit about what people think a long time ago. That’s a big drive for me. When I do something showcasing who I am as a drag performer, when kids or baby gays tell me they can relate to me — if I can speak to them, my place in the world is more liveable. I’m connecting to different people in a way that I can, and it sparks a purpose in life which is to inspire other people but also relate to them.

Prout: Looking back, what has been the highlight of your career so far?

Pangina: Meeting RuPaul was the highlight of my career, and Bianca Del Rio posting my photo with her on Instagram. Highlights huh… there’s been so many. Drag Race Thailand Season 1, meeting Sasha Velour, talking to Violet Chachki, hugging Jinx Monsoon. Oh! Mariah Carey spotting me at her concert. That’s been one big highlight.

“It was in November; I was wearing the same outfit that (Mariah) wore to the MTV Video Music Awards and she just pointed at me and she said: “I love your ensemble, dahhhling”. I just died, I died, I died.”

Prout: Drag Race Thailand has been such a huge phenomenon since it started. In your heart, did you know it was going to impact pop culture and society the way it did?

Pangina: We knew Drag Race Thailand was going to be something different because there is no show outside the American version that this actually exists in. So for the first time, an Asian country’s getting it and we’re representing what it means to be a Thai drag queen in our debut season. This show is a cultural phenomenon. I didn’t know that it was going to be this insane in helping my career grow and helping me to meet all the queens at Drag Con. It gave me the opportunity that I never thought I would have had. It’s largely thanks to Art Arya and Tae Kantana, who brought the show to Thailand, for believing in it and giving me this opportunity to show the world that a Thai queen is no lesser than any other queen in the world.

Prout: How do you stay so upbeat and keep that go-getter spirit?

Pangina: It takes effort to be happy every single day. Even for me. People have to live their lives to the fullest potential and understand there are times you will be defeated. You just have to look at the better times in every single situation and with that, it applies to everything: the way you treat your life, your drag, your art.

“For me, it comes down to giving happiness to myself when I am doing drag and giving that to other people.”

Prout: You’ve seen the best and worst in people who come to visit your shows. What gets under your skin as a drag queen and a person?

Pangina: A lot of the times, its stupid drunk girls who come into the club and don’t know their place, mess it up and come on stage when a drag queen is performing. Not everyone is blessed to be born with manners so it’s ok, but I’m sure every drag performer gets this. I would never have the audacity to go to a straight club and take the microphone of a singer.

Prout: You started out as a dancer; when did you know drag was going to be your career?

Pangina: I’ve always done for drag for fun and for Halloween, but it shifted into a career when I got paid more as a drag queen than I got paid as a dancer. That’s when I knew “Oh, this was going to be my living.” If my career wasn’t drag, I would have continued to stay as a dancer but drag totally elevated the way I treat art. It’s a living art form that truly inspired. I was taken away more.

Prout: As people, we all have ups and downs. How do you manage those low periods in your life?

Pangina: We do have our downs, but we are entertainers. When you get up on stage, you leave your problems at home.

“No one wants to come and see your problems. That’s the professional world. I would use my hardship and put in a performance. I take breakups and put it in an artistic work.”

Prout: How are you like on set? You also perform now with some of the Drag Race Thailand girls from Season 1 — how has your relationship with them changed since the show aired?

Pangina: On set, I am Naomi Campbell. There’s time to play and there’s time to work. I am a perfectionist professional so that comes out a lot. The Drag Race Thailand girls and I became a lot like a family after the show. I invited a lot of the girls to come work with me at Maggie Choo’s, which is where I work every Sunday. We just have more sisters in our coven.

Prout: Thailand is on the precipice of championing for same-sex unions. What are your thoughts about the proposed legislation and its progress in being passed in the country?

Pangina: It’s about f*cking time that Thailand accepted LGBTQ+ people. It’s not even about gay rights, it’s a basic human right.

“If someone wants to get married, it should be a right. That needs to happen already. I’m over this conversation whether it should or shouldn’t be passed: it should have happened a long time ago.”

Prout: Drag Race Thailand Season 2 — what should we be looking out for?

Pangina: When we air Season 2 of Drag Race Thailand, you will shit yourself. The level of drag is so phenomenal. It’s literally like All-Stars. Some of these queens give multiple reveals in one look and we have international queens too.

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