I give shoutouts in the song to people who are proudly Filipino, who are out there in the industry. Like, Lea Salonga has been killing the Broadway world ever since she started. She's my number one, my first idol growing up was Lea Salonga, because I saw her, I knew she was from the Phillipines, and she made it in the mainstream here in the U.S. So she was my ultimate idol growing up. And then you've got somebody like Bruno Mars in the music game, slaying it, and he's half Filipino. He's amazing. You've got Alec Mapa, who's an amazing Filipino actor. And then there’s Vice Ganda, who in the Phillipines, is basically RuPaul. You know? It's hard to beat, as far as the Filipino community goes. I mean, he is a superstar. Every time he comes out with a movie, it is a blockbuster hit, without a doubt. And then, of course, there's Pia Wurtzbach, who I feel like is the best Miss Universe they have ever had, because of the platform she used for HIV prevention, and just in the way that she carried herself through her reign. Like, I had to write the line "Just like Queen Pia, we're reigning supreme."
You publicly came out as a transgender back in 2016. There have been many other Ru girls, before and after you, who have come out as trans. Do you think the stigma surrounding transgender people performing as drag queens is starting to break down at all?
The thing for me is that there have been, and there are, plenty of trans women that have careers in drag. This is has been going on for years, way, way before Drag Race. So it's just now becoming a little more mainstream because there's a trans movement going on. I'm glad and I'm super proud that there is a movement that is showcasing trans women where ... we're not seen as sex workers, you know? Because it was so taboo or whatever, and I'm glad that we're being showcased in all forms of art — may it be theater, may it be movies, books, television, and music! I'm know I'm not the first trans hip-hop artist out there, and people have to research! There's trans women out there doing it.
I wanted to make sure that if I was going to come out as a trans woman, I wanted to do it right, and I didn't want it to be about Drag Race. I wanted to come out because I was ready to come out. I have been living as a trans woman for so long, but I just never told the audience and the fans that. I was actually transitioning while I was on the show, I just never talked about it. I didn't want it to be my storyline, because being a trans woman is not what defines me, and I didn't want me being a trans woman have anything to do with the show. I always wanted to keep my personal life and my work life separate.
The fans would always be like "Why is Jiggly always in drag?" Like I remember I was at Phi Phi's place for Thanksgiving one time, and we did a livestream, and all of the fans were like, "Why is she in drag?" over and over again. And I'm just like "... can't a girl live? Like really? You care this much? You can't just put two and two together?" It was just like ... if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, then bitch it's a duck! Phi Phi was just looking at me that whole time, and she was just like, "Girl, just say it already." And I was like "Bitch, no!" [laughs].
How did you know when you were comfortable enough to open up about being trans?
Well I finally came out because there were so many letters that I would get from fans that were saying, "I am struggling as a drag queen, but I also feel like I'm a girl," or "I'm a drag king and I feel like I should be a man." And I was finally like, "Oh my god. I should really just say it." And I wanted to let them know that you're not the only person that feels like your lines are being blurred because of what your life is. So I first came out on Grizzly Kiki, on their podcast. And they interviewed me, and the way the interview went was so respectful. Even when I did "Hey Qween!" with Jonny McGovern, and he talked about my transition, I just felt like it was done and handled so respectfully, that I felt like, "There is hope in this situation," where like, I can be myself, and my fans know the true Jiggly without it getting ... shuffled around and made into something else. Or made a joke, or a gimmick. It's not a gimmick, it's my life.