02B80: #DragRacePH - How Turing Helped Us Survive the Pandemic

Turing Quinto

Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 888 

Yesterday about our longtime friendship and admiration of Precious Paula Nicole. Today I'm going to write another love letter of sorts for a Drag Race Philippines contestant - the one and only Turing Quinto!

Now Tobie and I usually get a heads-up when new queens grace the O Bar stage or we get to ask whether someone is still auditioning or if someone is already part of the regular cast, as it were. And Turing was a head-turner from the start. Sure, we're suckers for queens who use theater pieces for their performances, that's an easy given. But there's an intensity about her that struck us from the very beginning. We were hooked.

When we really like new queens, we always let the owners know. And I remember having many conversations with Rupert every time we'd get to see Turing perform a new number because we'd get excited every single time. And things just sort of took off from there and she continued to deliver one amazing performance after another night after night after night. We slowly started to bond with her after the show whether when she'd be going around for tips or when she'd stop for a cigarette out back before calling it a night. 

And the performances just got better and better. Sure, we did our best to try to leverage her theater side and we got early treats like The History of Wrong Guys and her amazing achievement when she first pulled off Satisfied from Hamilton. But then she also continued to demonstrate her range and kept introducing us to songs we had never heard of before like So Mi Like ItA PalĂ©, and of course River.

And oh my god, Buwan. And more recently Surface Pressure. The list just never seems to end. She even got us to appreciate the likes of Cardi B!

Then the pandemic happened and the world went to shit. The bars closed. And most if not all of our drag queen friends were out of a job. At first, we were all hoping that things would blow over sooner rather than later. But the weeks became months and eventually became years. 

The Facebook Live shows were a weird phenomenon of the pandemic. They were an innovative way for these drag artists to get in front of audiences again - albeit virtual ones. And at the very least they could still do what they love and (hopefully) get rewarded for their efforts with tips, promises of food deliveries, and other things.

We did our best to join as many of these live shows as we could given how we missed the O Divas and the whole O Bar experience. But there was something special about Turing's mid-week shows that really had us coming back. Sure, she was still doing her best to bring her usual power and energy to such a small screen format like a Facebook Live show. But beyond her numbers, we all just bonded over the chat and developed all sorts of unique things tied to her shows.

These were TURSdays (even though they were usually on Wednesdays. We'd press 1 to get the next number started. She'd open the floor to requests and then we'd have to wait for her to check if the she had a version of the song where the music is pitched so that it won't get copyright flagged. Maternity shots. Re-lives. Ghost stories in the wee hours of the night.

Turing was our very first guest on Baduy Pride - there wasn't even a question who we wanted to try having on our pandemic live stream show first. And that was such a GREAT episode that really deepened our friendship and took things to another level. And despite this being a Thursday night, we still talked for another hour or so after an already two-hour live stream interview. 

And that's what a lot of our pandemic was like. We'd have our TURSday bonding. We'd have our group chats where would we'd talk about speculating when the bars might re-open and just checking in on each other through the ups and downs of the quarantines. And when finally got to see her in person after O Bar officially got to re-open - man, it was such a rush of relief to see each other again and hug and comfort one another in person and not just online.

Turing is always going to be close to our hearts. She's a dear friend, a kind soul, and she's wonderfully intelligent and a delight to talk to.

We're amazingly proud of Turing as an artist who found something special in drag and who will always find new avenues to express herself and leave her mark on the world. She's a dear friend whom we love, cherish, and admire and we want to see this journey through. We're totally rooting for her on Drag Race Philippines and we're excited for the rest of the world to get to appreciate what an amazing human being she is.