Drag Race Philippines’ Jiggly Caliente says trans women judging show is long overdue

In this photograph, Drag Race Philippines host Jiggly Caliente wears a red sleeveless dress with matching red fabric pieces on her forearms. She has long blonde and brown hair styled in a ponytail and is posed with one hand on her hip. She is standing in front of a dark background with lines of pink, red and yellow

Jiggly Caliente says it’s only right the trans community is “finally getting recognition” on Drag Race.

Jiggly, who rose to fame on Drag Race season four before returning for All Stars 6, is one of two trans women serving as judges on Drag Race Philippines, along with TV personality KaladKaren.

It marks the first time a trans woman – let alone two – have been a permanent judge on any edition of Drag Race. And according to Jiggly, it’s long overdue.

“The trans community has always been part of the thread of drag,” Jiggly told PinkNews. “When we’re finally getting recognition on Drag Race, I feel like it’s rightfully so.”

She continued: “The first person to throw the rock and start the gay revolution was a trans woman of colour.

“We’ve always been a part of this community. And these kids are going to learn that the culture is very rich for a reason and that it is a woman’s world – get into it, goddamnit!”

In this photograph, drag queen Jiggly Caliente wears a black wig with a pop art themed outfit in red and yellow colours. The outfit has a drawing of her face on it. She is standing in front of a red background with one hand posed upwards

Jiggly Caliente says the trans community has “always been part of the thread of drag”. (World of Wonder)

Casting Jiggly as a judge on Drag Race Philippines is especially notable given that RuPaul said in a 2018 interview that she wouldn’t cast a trans woman who had undergone surgery as a contestant. She also ruled out cis women, claiming drag “loses its sense of danger” once “it’s not men doing it”.

This came after Peppermint competed in season nine, becoming the first contestant cast as an out trans woman.

Multiple queens – including DetoxCarmen Carerra and Alaska – called out Ru and World of Wonder in 2020 for excluding trans people from its talent pool. 

The stark realisation led to a marked shift, with the franchise welcoming a number of trans, non-binary and gender diverse queens. A cis woman, Victoria Scone, has also since competed.

As well as its historic trans representation, Jiggly said Drag Race Philippines stands apart as the “prettiest franchise”

She explained that Filipino drag culture is a “melting pot of cultures” combining elements from Spain, England and Japan. 

“The first episode alone should tell the fans how crazy and how fun the Philippines actually is,” Jiggly said. 

In fact, Jiggly thinks the talent on offer is so top-tier that the queen surpass herself, as well as fellow Drag Race Filipino queens Manila Luzon and Ongina, by “leaps and bounds”. 

“I feel like after this me, Manila and Ongina can finally f**king retire – that’s what we feel like, that’s what I feel like we should do!” she joked. “They can take all of it. We’re good. I can focus on finding a husband and calling it a day!”

Certain fans complained about Jiggly landed a judging role on Drag Race Philippines given that she finished in eighth and then 12th place when competing on the US show.

Many expected and wanted Manila to front the show – however she’s launched her own series, Drag Den.

In this photograph, Drag Race Philippines host Jiggly Caliente wears a short orange dress with posing with a matching piece of orange fabric, which is held in her hands, waving next to her. She is wearing a blonde wig as she stands in front of an orange, peach, yellow and pink background

Jiggly Caliente says she’ll always remain friends with fellow Filipino Drag Race star Manila Luzon. (World of Wonder)

Jiggly firmly believes there’s room for both show, saying that the “vast richness” and “variety of drag in the Philippines is so big” that it’s amazing to see the community be “represented fully”.

She added that she’ll always remain close to Manila regardless of attempts to drive a wedge between them.

“Me and Manila have been friends forever, and we were both championing for each other, for both our shows,” Jiggly said.

“So you know, it’s like, ‘Y’all can say what y’all want. At the end of the day, me and Manila will still be friends. We’re still going to Jollibee together, and we both collect our checks. So we win.”

Drag Race Philippines is streaming now on WOW Presents Plus with new episodes dropping weekly on Wednesdays.