‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ breaks ‘Asian curse,’ crowning first Taiwanese American queen

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” crowned its first Taiwanese-American drag queen on Friday, breaking what the winner recently called the competition series’ “Asian curse.”

Nymphia Wind – known for her obsession with the color yellow and bananas and for her talent as a couture designer – snatched the crown from fellow finalists Plane Jane and Saphira Cristál, becoming the winner of the 16th season of the Emmy-winning series .

Hawaii native Sasha Colby won last season’s competition, while “Drag Race” fan favorite Raja Gemini, of Indonesian and Dutch descent, won the show’s third season in 2011.

In an interview this week on “Whatcha Packin’,” a series of exit interviews with “Drag Race” contestants hosted by the show’s longtime judge and former girl group star Michelle Visage, Wind said that She felt responsible for doing well in the competition series. for the Asian American community.

“All I told myself was: I’m here to break the Asian curse,” Wind, 28, said. “I’m not going out early.”

Wind added, “I just wanted to come here and show rich, rich Asian culture in my drag.”

Born in Los Angeles, Wind, whose real name is Leo Tsao, grew up mainly between Taipei, Taiwan and Hong Kong. She parted ways with a strong local following in Taipei in 2022, moving to Brooklyn, New York, to develop her career in drag.

Yet his art never lost the influence of his Asian heritage.

During her first episode of season 16, which aired on MTV, Wind performed a traditional Asian dance for the episode’s talent show. Throughout the season, she presented several self-made creations on the main stage, including a piece sewn with dried flowers celebrating Butoh, a form of Japanese dance theater, and a stunning red dress in honor of the Lunar New Year.

In an episode that aired earlier this month, Wind revealed that she struggled growing up in Taiwan and being inundated with images of Western beauty standards, which she said were all common characteristics among Whites. She said she generally worried that no one would ever find her attractive due to her Asian heritage, which prompted her to wear makeup and swipe.

“I’ve always played around with makeup and cross-dressing,” Wind said. “I felt like I could really change my appearance and I could escape my face in a sense.”

“I really hated looking in the mirror in general, growing up,” Wind added. “Even to this day, I don’t have the habit of looking in the mirror unless I have to put on makeup.”

Now that a huge, bejeweled crown has been placed on his head, Wind might be more enticed to look at his reflection.

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With a penchant for words, Eleon Smith began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, Smith landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, Eleon also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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