Manila Luzon Opens Up About Her 'Drag Race' Journey and the Late Sahara Davenport (Exclusive)

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Manila Luzon is opening up about her RuPaul's Drag Race journey. 

Luzon returned to the hit show for the third time on the fourth season of the All Star spinoff and she's getting real about her life as she takes off her makeup for ET Style's Unfiltered series -- from the first time she wore makeup to how the late Sasha Davenport influenced her life. 

"My first real memory of makeup was when I was a teenager and I kind of had some acne issues and I wondered why it was OK for girls to wear foundation but boys weren't allowed to wear makeup," Luzon says. "But then I got to be in a high school play where I got to play an old man so I got to wear old age makeup and you know putting on that heavy theater makeup was my real first makeup introduction." 

The style chameleon, whose birth name is Karl Westerberg and originally from Minnesota, immediately fell in love with dressing up as different characters. Shortly after coming out at age 20, Luzon dived into the drag scene and performed on amateur night at a club in Minneapolis. 

"The cool thing about being in drag, just like getting to play a role in a play, is that you get to play a fantasy and you get to play someone else that you're not used to," she explains. "And drag, putting on all this costume and then looking into the mirror and seeing, like, a beautiful woman staring back, is not what I was used to seeing and it really kind of started to build up my self-esteem. I started thinking of myself as beautiful for the first time and when I took it all off at the end of the night I still felt that way, so it really helped me discover who I am as a person, how I present myself to the world and drag helped me through a lot of discovery of myself." 

Luzon revealed she stumbled upon Drag Race by way of the late Sahara Davenport, whom she was dating at the time while they lived in New York City. After Davenport appeared on season two in 2010, Luzon auditioned for the next season in 2011 in which she placed runner-up. 

"I dated Sahara for many years and Sahara was one of my biggest inspirations for drag because Sahara was so fearless and so talented and so beautiful and sooo skinny," Luzon shares. "She was just an amazing performer. She was super funny, really quick on the mic and it was always fun for me to watch her perform even before Drag Race. I would just sit and watch her drinking my cocktails and watch her shows in New York City and when she got to be on the shows in season two of Drag Race and she became a star and everyone around the world got to know who she was. I was so proud of her and when she passed it was really hard because as a drag queen you think you're invincible." 

Along with her gorgeous, glamorous looks, Luzon is known for her humorous side but she takes her job very seriously. 

"So my reason for doing drag, at first it was because I wanted to express this thing I had kind of stored deep down inside of me and now that I've let this thing loose, this monster out into the world and I kind of got that out of my system now," she says. "So now drag is changing for me because it is becoming a job if you can believe. It's a freaking great job." 

"It changed my perspective on how I do drag," Luzon adds. "I take it very seriously now all while trying to not take it that seriously but it's work and now that I'm back on RuPaul's Drag Race it's even more work. I really like it, it's driving me harder and inspiring me more and there's just so many more opportunities now, so I'm ready to take all of that looking like this." 

Watch Luzon's full interview in the video above and read on for more on Drag Race

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