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  • Writer's pictureHans Ethan Carbonilla

#ParcinqFresh Featuring Heart Burns

Right on cue for International Women’s Month, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach calls on fans to cease pitting women against each other, affirming, “There is so much room in this world for everyone to shine.”

In a society where toxic gender norms often dictate societal roles, it has regrettably become customary to foster competition among women, be it in showbiz, pageants, or even daily life. These systemic barriers not only perpetuate damaging stereotypes but also undermine the collective strength and potential of women across all spheres.

This sentiment resonates deeply with Filipino AFAB (Assigned Female at Birth) Drag Queen Marlyn Ocampo, also known as Heart Burns, who fervently believes in “championing women’s rights, fostering equal opportunities, and creating an environment where women can freely make choices and pursue their aspirations.”

Well, just being an AFAB member of the drag community is a choice that Marlyn passionately embraces and actively pursues. Some may find themselves perplexed or even raising an eyebrow at the very concept, questioning whether a cisgender female can indeed become a drag queen.

The answer? A definite yes! And Marlyn will be the first one to proudly assert, “Drag is for everyone and should be inclusive at all times.”

However, despite championing this idea, she still faces skepticism, as others believe that AFAB queens in drag may not be as transformative.

“AFAB drag artists pour so much energy into their craft, yet it feels like our efforts often go unnoticed,” the Drag Den Philippines Season 2 contestant further adds. “Personally, I’ve encountered microaggressions, like assumptions about not needing to pad, and it’s frustrating. It’s important to recognize and appreciate the diverse skills and dedication AFAB performers bring to the drag scene.”

Boxing drag into an exclusive category fails to grasp the true essence of drag as an art form that embraces inclusivity and transcends narrow labels. To confine it solely to one demographic is to overlook its history of resistance, creativity, and empowerment—something that Marlyn wants to echo louder, hoping to dismantle gender stereotypes and foster a more accepting society. 

Before making a name for herself in this season’s Drag Den Philippines, Marlyn was already a seasoned drag makeup artist, having previously worked on the Drag Den Philippines set alongside none other than Manila Luzon.

Joining Drag Den proved to be deeply fulfilling for her, especially as someone who had previously felt invalidated and relegated to the backstage. Reflecting on her journey, the queen herself shares, “I’ve learned that being part of the community and staying true to your passions can take you far, and people will remember you for it.”

Marlyn believes in the transformative power of drag, a realm where diversity thrives. Overflowing with creativity and wit, she offers invaluable pieces of advice to aspiring drag queens, artists, women, and individuals across the gender spectrum: “Surround yourself with fellow artists who appreciate your uniqueness, learn from their experiences, and fearlessly explore your creative boundaries.” 

It is through this bold exploration that one can transcend the confines of gender norms and stifling stereotypes, breaking glass ceilings and rising above to shine brightly in a world teeming with possibilities for all. Perhaps, as Pia Wurtzbach puts it, “There is so much room in this world for everyone to shine.”


Photography by Rxandy Capinpin

Photography Associate: Royd Loyola

Makeup in collaboration with Violet Ocampo

Wig by Alecxdevorac

Ensemble by Mark Industries

Graphics by Ricardow

Words and Interview by Hans Ethan Carbonilla



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