If you watched Monday night’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, then you know that Ongina, a.k.a. Ryan Palao, out diva’d the competition to win the coveted title of MAC Viva Glam Spokesperson for a Day—that day being today. Earlier this morning, the newly crowned Glamazon appeared at MAC’s Flatiron District store to help raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and to present a $25,000 check on behalf of the MAC AIDS Fund to the Hetrick-Martin Institute at the Harvey Milk High School, a New York City public high school that strives to be a pluralistic haven for students of all races, genders, sexual orientation, religions, and physical abilities. We caught up with the fiercest of them all to learn about her, er, his (?), dedication to the cause, why only Beyoncé can outdo RuPaul, and to pick up a few makeup tips, of course.
Fergie, Lisa Marie, Dita. What is it like being in such good company as an official Viva Glam Spokesperson?
A definite addition to this incredible journey we call life.It’s one adventure I will always treasure and I am truly blessed to have met so many amazing people because of the show.It has helped me grow further as Ongina as well as Ryan!
How has your own HIV-positive diagnosis compelled you to get involved in AIDS awareness initiatives?
Well, I want people to know that life should be celebrated, no matter what happens. We have to celebrate our individuality, our creativity, our passion, our decisions, and everything else in between. AIDS is an epidemic that affects all walks of life, and as difficult as the decision was for me to “come out” about my status, if I touch even just one person’s heart, I know I’m on the right path. I hope to one day inspire others and teach them that life with HIV is just as glamorous as life without!
Your skill with the wand and the brush surely helps you in the glamour department. What’s currently in your makeup bag?
I recently purchased MAC Viva Glam VI SE Lipglass and am equally obsessed with my C-Thru Lipglass, as well as the MAC Pro Shaping Powder in Emphasize. It adds the right amount of highlight where you need it most!
Do you have any makeup tips you can share with us that are essential for peek drag performance?
The one thing that I learned from some of the queens on the show is how to glue your eyebrows down so you can create a higher brow and more lid for applying shadows!
I love my mother. She is truly beautiful inside and out and has sacrificed so much for us to be where we are today. I’m blessed and proud to be her son. I also think that RuPaul is one hell of a drag queen. She is stunning. And I’m pretty obsessed with Beyoncé. I like that she takes risks.