Drag performer extraordinaire Viñas Deluxe has grown comfortable under the spotlight and up the stage, being an entertainer for over six years now. Of all the impersonations and performances she had done, Viñas admits the ones she enjoyed the most are the comedic acts. “Nakikita ko mismo sa mukha ng mga tao na nag-e-enjoy sila, (I see in their faces right away how they’re enjoying)” she explains.
It’s the same impact Viñas wants to achieve when she said “yes” to partnering with comedian/host Peachy Roberts and social media star Inah Evans as baklang kanals debunking untrue and invalid misconceptions about HIV and AIDS in a #SaferNowPH campaign. For Viñas, “Bukod sa gusto kong magkaroon ng purpose bilang isang artist, gusto ko rin makatulong para mas maging aware pa ang mga tao na mayroon nang gamot at treatments, and hindi na dapat gawing parang life sentence ang HIV. (Aside from putting my artistry to good use and purpose, I want to help raise awareness on HIV treatments, proving that living with HIV doesn’t have to be a life sentence.”
Speaking of misconceptions, what wrong impressions have Viñas learned people have about her? “Madami ang nagaakala na hindi ako approachable dahil sobrang ganda ko. (Most people think I am not approachable simply because my looks are stunning.) Char!” she quips. “I present myself as a glamorous diva, akala nila hindi na ako madaling lapitan (they mistaken me for a snob). Kaya naman (That is why) I always start conversations kapag kaya ko para makipagkilala sa iba’t ibang klase ng tao (when I can, to know and make myself know to people).”
Let’s get to know more about Viñas, and what made her say “yes” to this campaign, in this short LoveYourself interview.
How will your being an ambassador for HIV awareness affect your art as a drag artist? What impact will it make to both yourself and your audiences?
Tingin ko sa ngayon ay mas magiging mapili na ako sa mga performances na aking gagawin dahil alam natin na ang pagiging ambassador ay may kasamang responsibilidad na dapat gampanan. Sana sa pamamagitan nito, ako ay makatulong para mas maging aware ang mga tao tungkol sa treatments ng HIV. (I think I’d be more mindful of my performances, simply because I know being an ambassador comes with a certain responsibility. I hope I can help spread and increase awareness about HIV treatments.)
Normal po sa tao ang makipag-sex. Sana ay normal din sa atin ang i-prioritize ang ating sexual health. Malaking parte po nito ay kailangan ng tulong ng ating LGUs.Viñas Deluxe
What do you want to tell someone who has stigma against People Living with HIV (PLHIV)?
Hindi dapat pandirihan ang HIV dahil hindi naman ito basta-basta nata-transmit. Mas nakakatakot pa ang COVID-19. Pero parehas namang may treatments na kaya iwasan na ang pag-judge at tumulong na lang mag-raise ng awareness. (There’s nothing to fear because it’s not easily transmitted. COVID-19 is scarier, honestly. But both can be treated so there’s no need to judge or discriminate. Let’s all work towards raising awareness, instead.)
What empowerment message you’d like to impart to a newly diagnosed person living with HIV? This is not the end. Kaya mo paring mamuhay nang normal. Mas magiging healthy ka pa nga kaysa sa ibang tao dahil mas tututukan mo na ang iyong kalusugan. (You can still live a normal, healthy life. You’ll eventually find yourself healthier than those who don’t have HIV, because of your cautious and careful lifestyle.)
How will you use your platform to promote HIV awareness past the campaign period?
Napo-promote ko ang HIV awareness campaign sa aking weekly show sa Spaces Manila kapag may pagkakataon. Ginagamit ko din ang aking personal Facebook account para mag-share ng mga bagay na makakatulog na magpakalat ng impormasyon tungkol sa HIV. (I get to promote HIV awareness through my weekly shows on Spaces Manila, when I can. I also use my personal Facebook page to share relevant and important facts about HIV.)
You can catch Viñas Deluxe as part of Kweeens Noight every Saturday, 10 PM on the Spaces MNL Facebook page, and find VinasDeLuxe on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.
Expect to see more of Viñas as she busts HIV myths and misconceptions and fight for a #SaferNowPH.