02C8D: Celebrating Bernie

Sunday - O Bar Friends with Bernie Barrantes

Last night, we got to gather with friends and other familiar faces at O Bar to celebrate the birthday of the ever-fabulous O Diva Bernie. She'll always be Bernie to us, but I guess we have to accept that a lot of people know her more as Diday, a name that was popularized during her run in the second season of Drag Race Philippines. She made it pretty far in the competition but didn't quite get the crown. But she'll always be a winner for us because she's a star through and through.

Bernie has been with O Bar for quite a while and she's always been quite the little firecracker. She's never let her stature get in the way of controlling the stage and drawing the attention of the audience. And later on, she developed a penchant for very tall platform shoes. Something that really came through her time on DRPH was how genuine she can be - she's always been rather no-nonsense and has a tendency to wear her heart on her sleeve. 

I remember when we first started seeing her performing at O Bar, what was initially memorable was her dancing -  she always had such strong, powerful movements and would even incorporate some breakdancing moves here and there. There was always a fierceness to her presentation on stage, which is sort of easy to convey with that sort of faster-paced movement. But then she'd also do these very soulful and emotional ballads, particularly by Whitney Houston. And the resulting performances were just as fierce and powerful but in a totally different way.

I used to joke that what I loved most about Bernie's performances is that she'd always have these moments where she'd really pose or slow down enough for me to take better photos. But that's part of who she has always been - an artist with a very strong sense of sense and who knows exactly what she wants to present to the audience at any time.

Post-DRPH, it does feel somewhat like we have to compete with a LOT more people (including folks around the world!) who have also fallen in love with her. But I appreciate that we still get to see her during particular nights at O Bar and when she goes around the crowd after the show, she's still very much the same sweet person we've known over the years. And that is always the most surprising contrast. She feels like this larger-than-life presence on stage, but she is a very different person outside of her drag.

Last night's birthday show was an amazing celebration of her DRPH journey and really her career as a whole. And it has been such an honor and a privilege to have witnessed a lot of her growth thanks to O Bar.

Once again, happiest of birthdays, Bernie! We will continue to love you dearly and we hope you'll continue to soar to new heights because that's the only real option left for a star like Bernie.