Exclusive Interview with Ongina from RuPaul’s Drag Race

Thanks to MAC Cosmetics, I got to interview my favorite contestant from RuPaul’s Drag Race, the stunningly gorgeous and oh-so-funny Miss Ongina!

Growing up in the Philippines, Ryan Palao, a.k.a. Ongina, was just a flamboyant little boy. When his family moved to the US, he was introduced to the idea of Halloween. Being completely fascinated by it, Ryan started dressing up every year. Later, he moved to New York and under the influence of the clubbing scene, he finally went full on drag on his 21st birthday and Ongina was born!

So where does our queen get her inspiration from? “A lot of things – fashion shows, TV, music and movies” but her biggest inspiration is the first drag queen supermodel and hostess of the show, RuPaul. “I never saw RuPaul as anything other than a woman. She is so inspiring and her makeup really is flawless!”

Ongina is also a big fan of Beyonce and she does a lot of Beyonce’s songs in her performances. “Beyonce is such a great performer and I like that she takes risks. Just like RuPaul, she is beautiful both inside and out.”

As for beauty tips from Ongina (which I am sure we are all dying to know since her makeup looks *so* fabulous!), she has the following to say:

* Less is more and blending is very important.

* “For killer cheekbones, use a darker foundation on the cheeks right below the ear. Dab on blush and blend everything together.”

* “As a boy, I don’t have a lot of lashes so I like to wear fake eyelashes a lot. The look is never complete without them.” Ongina highly recommends MAC’s Lashes. “I don’t like to repeat them. You can get a pair for less than $20 and there are many different kinds so you can achieve different looks with them.” She also prefers a full set of lashes over individual ones and she does not use lashes on the bottom.

* Highlighting. “I do a lot of highlighting,” said Ongina. She likes MAC’s Sculpt and Shape Powder in Bone Beige/Emphasize (available at MAC Pro stores) which she applies under her eyes and on the t-zone.

* Use a foundation in the right shade. This is especially important for drags because they need to make sure it can cover up their mustache.

* Play up your best features. “For most people, the eyes are their best feature so wear colors that complement them.”

Finally, Ongina’s advice to queens who just started doing drag – “Stay true to yourself. Find your comfort zone and you will shine on stage.” Sounds like advice that us girls can use too!

To see more of Ongina, catch RuPaul’s Drag Race every Monday at 10PM ET on Logo or watch it online at LogoOnline.

Image credits: Ongina.

Phyllis Li is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Makeup For Life, one of the top 50 beauty blogs that focuses on celebrity makeup breakdowns, product reviews, makeup tutorials and all things beauty. Having lived and traveled in North America, Europe and Asia, she was exposed to different techniques and products at an early age and hopes to put a global perspective towards beauty. Phyllis won the Best Content Award by Total Beauty in 2008 and has been featured in various publications and websites including ELLE, Glamour.com, Yahoo Shine!, AOL Stylelist, Nylon Korea, VOGUE China, Ming Pao Daily (Canada) and Shanghai Weekly. In 2010, she was appointed one of the nine Real Women Ambassadors in the United States to take part in the Latisse® Wishes Challenge, working with Hollywood celebrity Kathy Ireland and raised over $400,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant wishes for approximately 54 children. In 2012, she teamed up with luxury skincare brand TATCHA and released a limited-edition 3-Piece Set of her favorite beauty products. Phyllis currently lives in Chicago, US. She is a regular contributor to Shanghai Daily's StyleHai Magazine and a member of the Glam Beauty Network.


  1. Thanks a lot Phyllis for this interview =)
    I didn’t know this TV Show with Ongina and I love her makeup on the picture !

  2. i absolutely LOURRRRVE Ongina! that hot bitch is so one of my favs on DragRace 😀 totally cute and petite and such hotness! mmm only if a girl like me could get to know a hot bitch like that cute boy! anywho, i soooo hope Ongina or Bebe Zahara (if not “o”) win that show!!!! (but shhhh i so so so want ONGINA to win that shit!)

  3. Hi all Drag Commuity……….

    Thanks to Raug’s show i understand and respect more their community. I was adicted to the show and i can’t waith for the next season.

    About Ongina, she is a hoot…………just a beautiful person! I had such a fun time each time i saw her.

    I hope to see her on the screen again! Ongina, Bebe, Shante and Nina were my favorites…………….


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