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  • Writer's pictureHans Ethan Carbonilla

Pangina Heals is a Drag Changemaker Shining Beyond Measure

When asked about our proudest moments, we often recall the battles we fought, the accolades we earned, and the medals and honors we claimed. But for international drag superstar Pangina Heals, her crowning achievement is a simple text message from her mother: “I’m proud of you.”

This affirmation outshines even the brightest spotlight, like being the first Thai drag queen to walk in New York Fashion Week or being hailed as the “lip-sync assassin” for Drag Race UK vs The World, reminding us that true recognition often comes from those who know us best.

“You can perform in front of a thousand people, but just your mom texting you like ‘I’m proud of you’ of what you’ve done as a drag queen, I think that speaks proudly to the achievements that I have,” the queen continues. 

In an industry where success is often measured by external validation and where criticisms are boundless most especially in the drag community, Pangina holds steadfast to her core beliefs, so much more that her mother has seen her efforts. She further acknowledges that the spotlight brings its own challenges, yet she has mastered the art of defining her own happiness, as she firmly believes that “if you know you are a good person, if you know your aim in this world is to make other people and yourself happy, then no one can take the light inside of you away.”

Her resilience in the face of scrutiny speaks volumes about her character development. Rather than allowing the opinions of others to define her worth, she derives strength from within, guided by her unwavering commitment to kindness and joy.

Despite the immense pressure that comes with the limelight, Pangina’s advice to her younger self, who once dared to dream of her current stature, is marked by kindness, encouragement, and a touch of humor: “Just quit now while your knees still work, just kidding.”

Reflecting on her journey, she adds, “Looking back, my advice would be to take every single criticism and mold it to how you see your own drag,” with a hint of wit, “Some of the criticism people take would be so valuable that it would change you for the better.”

Pangina Heals to the world

With her mindset propelling her to success and reigning as a queen in her own right, Pangina confidently steps beyond Thailand and onto the world stage. When dubbed as “the RuPaul of Thailand” by show host Charlene Incarnate, Pangina considers it the “biggest compliment” ever. Growing up witnessing RuPaul’s global domination and her pivotal role in mainstreaming drag culture, Pangina sees this comparison as a dream come true for she has served her purpose.

Embracing the moniker bestowed upon her, Pangina candidly remarks, “I don’t feel any pressure right now.” (IYKYK).

“I think my approach to drag aligns with RuPaul’s in terms of business,” she explains more about the compliment. “She’s created an empire, and in my humble way, I’ve modeled my business sense after hers, opening three nightclubs in Thailand…I’ve tried to create an empire where queens are able to perform in Bangkok and get to showcase talents and keep the art of drag alive in Thailand.”

Staying true to this perception is her “House of Heals,” a venue in Bangkok specifically tailored for drag artists and the fans who appreciate their artistry. What inspired Pangina to establish this haven? She believes there aren’t enough safe spaces in the world for the LGBTQ+ community, especially for drag performers. Creating a venue conceptualized by a drag queen for drag queens, where every detail from the lighting to the music is meticulously curated to enhance the drag experience, was her way of filling that void.

“I think I have achieved that vision,” she tells Parcinq when asked if she has already realized her goal. She continues, noting that everyone is welcome at her venue; even K-pop superstar Blackpink’s Lisa celebrated her birthday there. “It’s a place that is fabulous, where people get to be whoever they are and dance the house down.”

Drag as transformational

“Drag can create change.” This is a sentiment Pangina passionately conveys about drag as a transformative art form. She acknowledges the remarkable power of drag to ignite change, not only on stage but also in the hearts and minds of its audience. At its essence, drag challenges societal norms and expectations, urging us to reconsider traditional notions of gender, identity, and beauty.

Reflecting on her own experiences, Pangina recounts a powerful moment when she dressed up as Mariah Carey and joined an equality protest, despite facing potential legal consequences. 

“I dressed up as Mariah Carey and went into this protest, and a handful of us had a warrant from the police," she shares. "I think when you have a voice, the higher power sometimes tries to silence you, so I really think it’s really important to speak out.”

In these words, Pangina underscores the importance of using drag as a platform for activism and advocacy. By fearlessly challenging authority and speaking out against injustice, drag performers like Pangina demonstrate the transformative potential of their art beyond mere entertainment. They become catalysts for social change, inspiring others to raise their voices and fight for a more equitable and inclusive world, especially for the LGBTQIA+ community.

And this is also the message she wants to impart to the younger generation of performers. Now more than ever, she emphasizes that “if you love what you do and you are a hard worker and you keep on knocking at the doors, there’s nothing you cannot achieve.” 

Success, she enthuses, does not happen overnight, but through dedication, perseverance, and unwavering passion for one’s craft: “You have to learn how to be patient and resilient and respectful of ourselves to know that it takes time.”

Currently, Pangina is making waves with a show on World of Wonder for Drag Race Live Untucked, offering viewers an intimate peek behind the scenes of the drag competition. On top of that, she’s gearing up for the release of a new single this May, featuring collaboration with Thai idol superstar Aof Pongsak and with the anticipation building for the upcoming season of Drag Race Thailand. And if that's not enough excitement, Pangina has an undisclosed project in the works, promising even more surprises to come. 

With each stride forward, on stage and in life, fueled by her growth, passion, and advocacy, Pangina Heals shines ever brighter. It’s not just her mother who beams with pride, nor is it solely Thailand or the drag community that celebrates her achievements. Pangina’s crown shines so brilliantly that it captures the world. 


Photography by Rxandy Capinpin

Art direction by Joe Andy

Fashion film by Ian Francisco

Videography and editing by Adrian Alegre

Cover story by Hans Ethan Carbonilla

Styling by Rob Lim and Carlo Panganiban

Makeup by Nareudom Putipan

Hair by Lyndon Costes

Shot on location at Mono by Phono, Poblacion

1 comment

1 Comment

han gu
han gu
Jun 19

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