What Happened To Ongina After RuPaul's Drag Race?

As one of the first queens on Season 1 of "RuPaul's Drag Race," Ongina quickly became a fan favorite in 2009. After she won an elimination challenge in Episode 4, where she created an inspiring ad "celebrating life" for Mac Viva Glam, a campaign where proceeds went to HIV/AIDS awareness programs, she became so emotional that she broke down and made a serious confession to not only the judges, but also to the television audience. "I've been living with HIV for the last two years of my life and this means so much to me," Ongina said. "I didn't want to say it on national TV because my parents doesn't know." As the judges and other cast members held back tears, Ongina continued, "You have to celebrate life, you keep going. And I keep going." RuPaul responded, "Ongina, you are an inspiration."

Despite being a frontrunner with one Mini-Challenge and two Maxi-Challenge wins, Ongina was eliminated in the following episode. She was frequently rumored to appear on the spin-off "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars," and did a cameo as a van driver in its first season alongside Delta Work. She finally appeared in the cast of "All Stars" season 5 in 2020, 11 years after her first appearance in the franchise, but was eliminated in episode 2.

The drag queen, who is bald and prefers fashionable hats to wigs, has been keeping busy since appearing on both shows. Let's see what Ongina has been up to lately.

Ongina has many projects in the works

One look at her Instagram and you can see just a few of the many things Ongina has been doing lately. She's an international traveler, appearing in Pride celebrations all over the world — she went to Seattle, Brazil, and Hull, England, in July alone, performing and offering promotions and contests as an influencer.

Ongina found a creative way to use her HIV/AIDS activism, releasing a brand-new eyeshadow color palette on June 10 "in celebration of Pride," called "Life is a Celebration," for Lurella Cosmetics. "I dedicate this to the LGBTQIA+ community as a celebration of our lives as we continue to fight for acceptance," she wrote on the Lurella website. "As we grow together, I hope that one day people will change to see us for who we are so our souls find serenity and we can continue to live openly and proudly." Ongina incorporated color names that reflect her life, such as Fearless, Resilient, Brave, Orient Seas, $1 Budget, Change and, of course, Celebrate, as she showed in an Instagram video. "This is a first for me and I wanted it to include different aspects of my life from my childhood, growing up, my time on television, and now; as a proud, flamboyant, Filipino, gay, drag queen."

In addition to performing live, she has added a few acting credits to her IMDb page, appearing on "Wait, What?" in 2018, Netflix's "AJ and the Queen" in 2020, and in a 2021 Beyoncé video for PrEP.

Ongina uses her platform for activism and awareness

Since her emotional reveal on Season 1 of "RuPaul's Drag Race," Ongina has "used my coming out to live freely and inspire others to live Positively Fearless," as she said on Instagram. She joined the Positively Fearless project, a collaboration between Johnson & Johnson and Care With Pride, to advocate for HIV and AIDS and support others living with the disease. "It's important for me for people to see me as I am, beyond my status, living my life free, open, and fabulously as an entertainer and a drag queen," she said.

The Filipino immigrant, who got to showcase her heritage on "All Stars," also uses her platform to speak out for equality and trans rights — especially given the challenges of the last few years. "I was reminded that now more than ever I need to speak up for our Black brothers, brothers and sisters — LGBTQ+ and beyond," she told Out. "I want to be able to be a voice for those that don't have one in the same way that I have a voice for HIV and AIDS, and the same way I have a voice for my API community and my Filipino community."

Ongina continues to inspire with her social media outreach. "I ignored other people's opinions of me because they have nothing to do with me," she tweeted in February. "Their expectations of me are theirs, not mine. I never let my HIV status get in the way of living my life to the fullest."