Fierce entertainer and designer, Manila Von Teez, shot to fame after being a highly-contested runner up on SA’s Got Talent reality show last year. Since then, she has become an instant celebrity – performing around the country and making show-stopping red carpet appearances, while fans hang on to her every move.
Inspired by Manila Luzon from Ru Paul’s Drag Race, that’s when the name Manila came to light – Von Teez is inspired by burlesque, Dita Von Teez .Yeah, she might not have won SAGT – but life has changed dramatically – “My following grew drastically and I have been approached to take part in some exciting projects. Craziest was having a lady burst in to tears when she saw and met me at a gig,” she says.
Besides performing, one of her more recent stints being an appearance in The Kifness Say You Love Me music video, she is also a vivacious designer under the name, House Of Vjorn. Catering for lavish couture clients and stylish drag artists seeking elegant evening wear, celebrities such as songstress, Lana Crowster, have all been ticked off her buzzing to-do list.
I sat down with Manila for some fun Q and A & found out what makes her tick
You are one of the only drag artists in SA to have made it as far as you did on SAGT, what inspired you to keep pushing boundaries and what was the experience on SAGT like?
The experience was amazing.I learned so much about the TV Industry, as well as myself, in the time of the show. The love and support I get is what keeps driving me, and the boundary pushing is because at the end of the day, drag as an art is deserved of mainstream support!
One clothing item you have in your wardrobe, that you know you should disown but you cannot let go?
A feather skirt I made some time ago, the feathers are everywhere, but I just can’t see it go.
Which singers local and international do you look up to? Locally, I am a huge Tamara Dey fan and international – Nikki, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Pink, gosh, I have a lot of influences, so I like a lot of them.
Favourite song to sing in the shower? Sissy That Walk by Ru Paul What is your guilty pleasure? Wigs and Shoes
The Rock and Vin Diesel.
What message do you have for aspiring LGBTI performers? First and foremost, be yourself, and love yourself. Work super-hard and invest as much as you can in to the art, the rest as they say will be HER story.
No doubt, Manila is here to stay.