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Nymphia Wind makes history by triumphing on RuPaul's Drag Race

04/20/2024 03:18 PM
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Nymphia Wind (front, in yellow costume). Photo courtesy of Nymphia Wind
Nymphia Wind (front, in yellow costume). Photo courtesy of Nymphia Wind

Taipei, April 20 (CNA) Taiwan's first drag queen to feature in the internationally acclaimed RuPaul's Drag Race, Nymphia Wind (妮妃雅), was crowned the "Next Drag Superstar" on Friday (ET/U.S.time) following weeks of top-notch performances.

Dressed in a sparkling banana dress, Nymphia Wind swept onto the stage for the final, and, with her talent and charisma, truly stole the show.

"Taiwan this is for you!" she said right after legendary drag queen RuPaul announced her as the winner.

"To those who feel like they don't belong, just remember to live fearlessly and to live their truth," she said on stage.

One of the frontrunners on the show for the past 15 episodes, the 28-year-old queen breezed through to the final after weeks of showcasing her unique style, which often tapped into her Asian background.

The three surviving queens faced off hard in the final, with all of them looking at certain points as though they could clinch the top spot with their epic performances and lip-syncs. But, in the end, it was Nymphia who came out on top.

Only seven Asian queens have made it to the top four since the show premiered in 2009. But despite that low rate, Nymphia garnered strong momentum and backing from those at home and abroad, which only grew as more and more episodes aired.

Throughout the series, as well as mastering Taiwanese style with her traditional opera makeup, she also perfected Japanese "butoh," European rococo style, and even went as far as dressing as a flower in a pot.

Nymphia is especially famous for her use of yellow in costumes, which she describes as a mix of camp and pop art, and also a nod to a well-known sexual innuendo -- the banana.

Despite making it big in the U.S., Nymphia still considers her home bar to be Café Dalida, a bar located in the cosmopolitan "Red House" area of Taipei that is the birthplace of numerous queens in the city.

Here, talent is nurtured by owner Alvin Chang, who has hosted weekly screenings of Drag Race, and said he is proud of Nymphia and what she has achieved.

"She's not the kind of person who waits for people to give her opportunities; she creates them herself," Chang said.

He added that years ago, when he first saw Nymphia perform, she was steady on stage and good at interacting with the audience. "I said to myself, 'I have to get to know her!'

In an interview with CNA in December, when the show first revealed its list of competitors, Nymphia expressed excitement but also acknowledged feeling stressed because she "didn't want to let Taiwanese people down."

Reflecting on the show, she shared on social media that "drag lets me reconnect with my culture; it teaches me to be a proud Asian."

"The talent show was definitely an opportunity for me to showcase something I didn't think I would be able to in a competition setting -- traditional Asian sleeve dance," she said.

"So, of course, I had to take this chance to really show what us Asians are made of."

The queen expressed her desire to perform more eye-opening shows that highlight Taiwanese culture. She also said she hopes to become a Taiwan "tourism ambassador," introducing her island nation to people around the world.

(By Evelyn Yang)

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