Summers’ arrival

Twenty-six-year-old drag performer Marina Summers is the first Filipino to compete in RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs The World. RuPaul’s Drag Race UK revealed the cast of the much-anticipated Series 2 of its spin-off on 13 January on their social media accounts. The cast was also introduced for the first time live in the program “Live From the Pink Carpet” with long-time judge Michelle Visage at RuPaul’s DragCon UK, which ran from 13 to 14 January in London, where Marina is a participant. The Meet the Queens video, where the contestant talk about themselves, was released on 15 January on YouTube.

In the first promo looks, Marina is in a blue gown inspired by Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach’s outfit when she won the crown, designed by the same fashion designer, Albert Andrada. Her stylist, Paul Sese, posted a series of photos on his Instagram account, showing fittings with Andrada,

Produced by BBC Three and WOW Presents Plus, RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs the World is a spin-off of the United Kingdom version of popular American drag series RuPaul’s Drag Race, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. However, this is a different take on the all-stars format, where past contestants return to compete. UK vs the World pit past UK contestants against contestants of international Drag Race versions.

Series 1 was aired in January 2022, with UK’s Blu Hydrangea winning with Mo Heart from the United States finishing as runner-up. RuPaul remains as the host, head judge, and executive producer of the series. Joining RuPaul in the panel for Series 2 are resident judges Visage, Graham Norton and Alan Carr and celebrity guest judges.

The UK queens returning for UK vs the World Series 2 are 31-year-old Choriza May, who placed sixth on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Series 3; 25-year-old Gothy Kendoll, tenth placer of Series 1; 33-year-old Jonbers Blonde, who placed third/fourth on Series 4; and 32-year-old Tia Kofi, who placed seventh on Series 2.

Tia Kofi from RuPaul’s ‘Drag Race UK Series 2.’
Keta Minaj from ‘Drag Race Holland’ Season 2.

International competitors include Summers from the Philippines; 25-year-old Arantxa Castilla La Mancha, who placed seventh in Drag Race España Season 1; 31-year-old Hannah Conda, runner-up of Drag Race Down Under Season 2; 42-year-old Keta Minaj, who placed fourth in Drag Race Holland Season 2; 23-year-old La Grande Dame, runner-up of Drag Race France Season 1; 41-year-old Mayhem Miller, who placed tenth in Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 10 and seventh in RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 5; and 30-year-old Scarlet Envy, who placed tenth in Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 11 and ninth in RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 6.

La Grande Dame, runner-up of ‘Drag Race France’ Season 1. | photograph courtesy of World of Wonder
Sacrlet Envy from ‘Rupaul’s Drag Race’ Season 11 and All-Stars 6.

When the cast was revealed, Marina wrote on her Facebook and X accounts: “I wanna show the universe, the WORLD rather, that I am a true Filipina Winnah!”

“And, baby, this time, I’m taking over the Mother-Tucking WORLD!” she added.

Marina came to prominence when she joined the first season of Drag Race Philippines, which aired August to October 2022, where she finished as runner-up behind winner Precious Paula Nicole.

Hailing from the province of Nueva Vizcaya, she moved to Metro Manila to work as a content creator for a film company and then as a drag queen. She has been doing drag for about five years, performing regularly at Nectar Nightclub and co-founding Drag Playhouse PH. Her drag name was inspired by her love of the beach, and she describes herself as “the ultimate tropical bombshell dream.”

Marina has been releasing songs. Her debut single, “I Have Arrived,” which can be streamed on Spotify and iTunes, was released before joining Drag Race Philippines.  The year 2023 was a busy one for her, performing in different gigs, releasing “Divine,” and “ride 4 me” under Tarsier Records, bagging the Can’t Get You Out of My Head Award (the Wowlebrity on the Rise Award) at the 2023 WOWIE Awards, and becoming the Southeast Asia ambassador for Spotify’s global Glow program.

Other Filipino drag queens cheered Marina’s inclusion in the international drag series including her Drag Race Philippines sisters Prince, Corazon, Turing, Season 2 winner Captivating Katkat, Nicole Pardaux, ØV CÜNT and Miss Jade So, as well as queens from local drag series Drag Den such as creator Rod Singh, Season 1 winner Naia, Aries Night, O-A and Pura Luka Vega.

Marina was also given love by international queens including Canada’s Drag Race Season 1 winner Priyanka, who wrote on X (@thequeenpri), “My Popstar. I love her so much,” and RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15 finalist Luxx Noir London (@luxxnoirlondon), who gushed, “Marina Summers is actually like not a real person there’s no way. Seeing her up close wasn’t enough to convince me. There’s no way someone can look like that.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs The World Series starts airing on BBC Three and iPlayer on 9 February.