Culture

Meet Diego Garijo: MMA Fighter By Day, Fierce Drag Queen By Night

It may seem like the world of MMA fighting and the world of drag are in two completely different solar systems. One is all about how strong you are, your ability to literally take gut punches and withstand physical attacks. The other is about cultivating your art and allowing your inner self to shine through. But dig a little deeper and you see that both are all about being the fiercest version of yourself.

One man seems to have figured that out long before all of us, as he’s been straddling both worlds for years as renowned MMA fighter Diego Garijo in the ring and as fierce drag queen Lola by night.

Diego Garijo is the straight, drag ally we need right now.

Diego Garijo is an imposing figure in the ring. He’s 41-years-old and covered in tattoos with a recorded seven victories in the ring before suffering a detached retina and having to put the sport on hold. But he’s since come back with a vengeance and got into bare-knuckle boxing.

For Garijo, fighting is an art form through which he entertains. Becoming ‘Lola Pistola’ allows another part of himself to shine and fulfill his need for artistic expression.

Garijo says that drag and MMA have more in common than we might think.

While being a drag queen may seem a world away from being an MMA fighter, Garijo has expressed his belief that the two pastimes actually work well together.

In an interview with VICE, 41-year-old Garijo said that he gets ‘a lot of love from people in the drag scene, as well as the trans and gay communities.’ He stressed that his support doesn’t stop there, as Lola is also loved by ‘big tough fighters’.

Garijo commented: ‘Maybe they are also hiding an element of themselves that they would like to bring out more.’

His story as an immigrant has also played a major part in his creativity and art forms.

Born in Guanajuato, Mexico, Garijo was smuggled into the US as a child. And as a youth, spent many of his years serving time in prison, which is where he got into fighting.

As for getting into drag; Garijo says that really began when he was a child, with a photo of him as a six-year-old wearing his mother’s underwear. He was brought up without a father and says he had a couple of gay cousins, so he ‘wasn’t exposed to many traditional masculine stereotypes.’

He continued: ‘Maybe that’s why I can be very feminine. I think people wonder if I’m gay, but they don’t understand that femininity and sexual preference are two completely different things.’

After being bullied as a child he has found that ‘art and fighting’ offer an outlet to the trauma he carries with him, and both through fighting and creating ‘a personality that has no shame’, he feels is able to ‘take a step forward in combat when others would take a step back.’

Currently, Diego is filming a new documentary about his life journey. His dear friend John Padilla serves as writer, director and producer of the project that they hope will find a home at Netflix.

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TikTok And Netflix Celebrate ‘Tiger King’ Anniversary With Drag Queen Musical

Entertainment

TikTok And Netflix Celebrate ‘Tiger King’ Anniversary With Drag Queen Musical

Netflix / Twitter

It was over a year ago when Tiger King was unleashed upon all of our quiet, unsuspecting “two-week” quarantines. Little did we know at the time that the now hit TV show would be just one of many that we binged watch over the course of our new normal.

To celebrate the show’s one year anniversary, Netflix is spoiling all of us with even more Tiger King content, in the best way possible. They’re throwing a bunch of drag queens into the mix. They will bring us a live TikTok drag-queen musical adaptation starring RuPaul’s Drag Race alums. And the Internet is gagging!

Netflix is giving new life to the hit TV show Tiger King in the best way possible!

In honor of the one-year anniversary of the documentary series that took a far more innocent pre-Covid world by storm, Netflix is upping the ridiculous to an even more extreme level.

While based on true events, Tiger King captured our imaginations by its larger-than-life real characters, over-the-top (again real) storylines and insane twists and turns. So who better to bring such a bold and brash story to life again than some of the world’s most popular drag queens?!

In what may be the most ridiculous announcement of the new year, Vulture was first to report the anniversary announcement of a live staged production of the docuseries’ story, or at least something related to it.

Honestly, they’ve got one of the queens taking on the role of “The Tiger,” so we don’t really know what to expect. Except that we full expect it to be glorious.

The drag queen cast is full of talent and won’t disappoint.

“The Tiger Queens: The Tiger King Musical Live” is being described as a TikTok musical and stars “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alums in all of its key roles — did we mention the tiger? — including Willam as Joe Exotic, Kim Chi as Carole Baskin and Heidi N. Closet taking on what has to be the hardest role, “The Tiger.”

But we suspect the reigning Miss Congeniality, from the most recent cycle of the long-running competition series, will be just purrific in the role. Willam was ousted from Season 4, but has gone on to actual acting gigs on projects as big as “A Star Is Born.” Chi made it to finalist on Season 8.

“Tiger Queens” will stream live on Netflix’s TikTok account on Sunday, March 28, so you have a few days left to mentally prepare yourself.

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The Black and Afro-Latina Queens of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Discuss #BlackLivesMatter

Entertainment

The Black and Afro-Latina Queens of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Discuss #BlackLivesMatter

THEKANDYMUSE / THE_SYMONE / INSTAGRAM

The drag queens on the latest season of RuPaul’s Drag Race discussed the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the previous episode and it was real. They talked about the ways they were active during the protests last summer and what it means to be a queer person of color in the U.S. today.

Kandy Muse gave the conversation an Afro-Latina perspective.

While the queens were putting on their makeup in the workroom, LaLa Ri from Atlanta, brought up the topic of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. New York’s “Dominican Doll” Kandy Muse was the first to speak on her involvement in the protests.

“Being an Afro-Latino from the south Bronx, when I see Black people being murdered by police, it just puts so many things into perspective,” Muse said. “Fighting for Black lives and all those things are very, very important to me.”

Symone reminded the other queens of George Floyd’s murder by the police.  

Symone, who hails from LA, reminded her season 13 sisters that the murder of George Floyd last May by the police is what sparked the protests throughout the country.

“It’s sad that he to- that that had to happen, but I’m happy that people are waking the f*ck up because it’s always been there,” Symone said.

As a Black queen, Symone spoke to the trauma that Black people were facing with video of George Floyd’s murder being replayed in the media.

“Even with [the] corona[virus] going on, I felt immediately compelled to be involved in protests here in Los Angeles because enough is enough,” Symone recalled. “Things need to change.”

Lala Ri put some light on Rayshard Brooks‘ murder by the police.

During the discussion, LaLa Ri brought up that the murder of Rayshard Brooks at a Wendys in Georgia happened very close to their home.

“It kind of just really hit me that I could easily be in that drive-thru, and there’s a situation where they can pull me over just because I look like I don’t belong in that type of car,” LaLa Ri said.

As LaLa Ri relived that realization, she got emotional talking about it on the show.

“You could just be a Black person in the world and you could just get killed for nothing,” the queen said in tears. “It’s scary that you could just be killed just because of the color of your skin.”

Olivia Lux, an Afro-Puerto Rican queen from New Jersey, also mentioned how Black trans women are being murdered at a high rate.

“Statically Black trans lives at the most at risk,” Olivia Lux said.

Tamisha Iman wrapped things up with the words of John Lewis.

Tamisha Iman, a Black queen from Georgia, evoked the words of late Georgia Congressman and civil rights activist John Lewis to wrap up the conversation.

“Get in some good trouble!” the Georgia queen said in an empowering moment.

The clip was uploaded to RuPaul’s Drag Race YouTube channel on Feb. 1 in honor of Black History Month. Be watch the full video to see more of this necessary conversation.

READ: Denali is Serving Mexicana Representation on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

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