Ongina is the stage name of Ryan Ong Palao, a drag queen from Los Angeles, California. She was a contestant on Season 1 of RuPaul's Drag Race and was eliminated on Episode 5, placing 5th overall.

On May 8, 2020, it was announced that she would be competing in All Stars 5. She placed 9th overall, being eliminated on Episode 2.

Drag Origin

For her drag name, her friend suggested using her middle name "Ong", which is her mom’s maiden name. She then put Ong with the "last three letters of a certain kind of –ina" and formed Ongina. At first, her first name that used for around 2 years was Pek Pek Galore (as "Pek Pek" means vagina in Tagalog) and Ryana.

Ongina's view of drag is as an artistic expression, as an outlet for a woman, stuck in a gay man's body to come out and let loose. She views drag as liberating to perform and transform her imagery of performing into reality. In terms of performing, is that the energy, the creativity of picking the song, the outfit, the hair, makeup and coming on stage living is amazing.

In her introduction video for "Drag Race", she described herself as "lady, amazing and fantastic".

RuPaul's Drag Race

Ongina
Season Competed Season 1 All Stars 5
Ranking: 5th Place 9th Place
Mini-Challenges Won: 1 (Ep. 2) 0
Times as Team Captain: 1 (Ep. 2) 0
Times Placed High 2 (Eps. 1, 3) 0
Main Challenges Won: 2 (Eps. 2, 4) 0
Times Placed Low 0 1 (Ep. 1)
Times in Bottom: 1 (Ep. 5) 1 (Ep. 2)
Episode Eliminated Episode 5 Episode 2

Season 1

Ongina was eliminated on the fifth episode of the season, where the queens had to take biological, athletic women and make them over to become their drag sister.

The queens had their partners assigned by Rebecca Glasscock as she won the mini challenge. Ongina teamed up with a long-haired, blonde woman named Jarret. The makeover was a challenge for Ongina because she is a bald queen, who does not wear wigs and she had to transform a woman with hair. She also had to put more effort into training Jarret how to walk a runway and lip-sync to Beyonce's "Freakum Dress".

Although Ongina did her best, she and her partner did not create a family resemblance according to the judges. She fell into the bottom two alongside Bebe Zahara Benet. Both being talented performers, Bebe shockingly outshined Ongina. According to RuPaul, it was a tough decision to make, and it was a very controversial moment on the show. In the end, RuPaul decided to ask Bebe to stay, and Ongina to sashay away.

All Stars 5

On the first episode, Ongina was the last one to enter the Werk Room. For the first challenge, the Variety Show, Ongina danced and moved to a variety of RuPaul songs. She was critiqued for having a poorly-planned routine, with Michelle Visage stating at the end that she had nothing to do but dance. However, Ongina was safe from elimination. India Ferrah won the challenge and Derrick Barry was eliminated.

At the beginning of the second episode, Miz Cracker got into Ongina's head by saying she should have gotten wite-out and voted for Ongina to go home. The challenge was to write lyrics and perform them to "I'm in Love!" Ongina's teammates were Mariah Balenciaga and Shea Couleé. Ongina was critiqued for being lost in her group and also for her runway looking like "an egg in a nest". Ongina was up for elimination along with India Ferrah and Mariah Balenciaga, while her team's captain Shea Couleé won. During deliberations, Ongina said it was unfair to send Mariah and India home, giving the sense to fellow queens that she was giving up. Shea won the lip-sync against Alyssa Edwards and sent home Ongina. In Untucked on the episode of her elimination, it was revealed she voted for herself to go home, keeping the sentiment she gave to the other queens.

Memorable Quotes

Season 1

  • "I'm Ryan, also known as Ongina."
  • "Hiee!!!" (quote by Ongina that was popularized by Alaska)
  • "I'm gonna have to put my balls behind my freakin' body today."
  • "Last week, the judges told me that I looked like a boy in a dress, and I wanted to elevate that this week. Not so much boy in a dress but, a drag queen in a dress."
  • "My name is Connie Chung." (impersonating Connie Chung in the Oprah Winfrey challenge)
  • "I'm a Mac Viva Glam woman because like you and many others, I care. Educate, Donate & Celebrate, because life is a celebration!" (her famous quote from her MAC Viva glam commercial)
  • "If I don't win this, I swear to god I'm gonna cut someone!"
  • "I just want to say, I've always been so afraid to say it, that I've been living with HIV for the last 2 years of my life and... it means so much to me." (after winning the main challenge of Mac Viva Glam)[1]
  • RuPaul: "You were a controversial character, how does it make you feel?"
    Ongina: "It doesn't make me feel any different, some people are gonna love you and some people are gonna hate you."
  • "I was lucky enough to have won Viva Glam. It doesn't matter if I went home that night, I was really happy."
  • "She's lucky I left my knife in the truck. I didn't have any place to put it. I mean, I couldn't put it under my wig." (jokingly referring to her elimination)
  • "I'm pretty, not smart Ru!" (asking a question to Peppermint at Season 9 finale).

All Stars 5

  • "So y'all thought I'd never get here...sorry, I was stuck in traffique." (entrance quote)
  • "I'm from the very first season of RuPaul's Drag Race, the one that started this whole shenanigans."
  • "Mmm, juicy tea."
  • "Okay, first of all you're not BenDeLaCreme, and you wish you were, and second, you're not a judge, slow your role. And third, there's no third, just shut the fuck up already." (about Miz Cracker)
  • "Henry Cavill. He's my Superman, and we flying, flying, and when we touch down I'll be riding, riding. Makes me weak with those blue eyes like kryptonite between my thighs. (verse in I'm in Love)
  • "Celebrate your life, because life is a celebration." (last words)

Trivia

  • Ongina was born in the Philippines and moved to Seattle, Washington in 1994 when he was 12.
    • After Seattle, Ongina moved to New York at 19 years old, where she ended up working at "Lucky Chengs", an Asian restaurant where customers are entertained by drag queens. She worked there with (a then-unknown) Laverne Cox.
  • Ongina is of Filipino descent.
  • Ongina works as an Area Visual Merchandiser for a specialty retail boutique.
  • Ongina has two dogs named "Little Monster" and "Iggy"; one cat named "Athena"; and a guinea pig named "Hamlin".
  • One of Ongina's most memorable performances was doing a lap-dance for a straight man for his birthday in Alabama, at a restaurant Ongina worked at. The man knew he was at a drag show and had fun with it. However, when Ongina did a flip-over on the man's body, her wig fell off.
  • Ongina does not normally wear wigs. Only on certain occasions will Ongina wear a wig. She is the first queen to not wear a wig on the main stage.
  • Ongina loves to collect headpieces and hats and prefers to wear headpieces instead of wigs. She even receives headpieces from her fans.
  • According to an interview on YouTube, Ongina only has about 6 wigs.
  • RuPaul's single, "LadyBoy" was inspired by Ongina herself.
  • A memorable feature of Ongina is a Japanese tattoo on her right arm. Ongina wanted a Japanese tattoo, not with a Sumo wrestler. She was advised to Google anime, and Ongina found a female samurai named Sakura Shinguji from "Sakura Wars" and who is now featured on Ongina's tattoo. Her tattoo also features a Japanese Rising-Sun flag, and Japanese symbols representing one life, one choice, and one destiny.
  • Ongina is the first...
    • ...contestant to receive positive critiques, but not win the challenge.
    • ...contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race to win 2 main challenges.
    • ...queen to achieve 5th place.
    • ...contestant on the show to be eliminated after winning the previous week's challenge.
    • ...contestant in series' history to have won two main challenges and not place in the top three.
    • ...contestant to never participate in a promo shoot.
    • ...contestant to be eliminated by the winner of her season.
  • Ongina was shortlisted for all All-Stars seasons but didn't make the final cast in any of them. However, she is now officially cast for All Stars 5.
    • As of All Stars 5 Ongina holds the record for longest hiatus between seasons with 15 total, 11 regular and 4 All Stars.
  • She lip-synced alongside Blair St. Clair during the Season 10 finale.
  • Ongina is the only queen with a name starting with the letter O;
    • Not only is she the only one from RuPaul's Drag Race, she is also the only one out of every Drag Race franchise.
  • Ongina is the first queen to be eliminated while being the front-runner of her season in that episode. At the time of her elimination, she was holding 2 Maxi-Challenge wins while all other contestants had only 1 or no wins.
  • For All Stars 5, she brought two backup looks for each runway (Said in The X Change Rate Interview).
  • She is the first person to be voted unanimously for the new All Stars format.
  • She is the third person to eliminate themselves in All Stars after Adore Delano on All Stars 2 and BenDeLaCreme on All Stars 3.
    • Coincidentally, Ongina and Adore placed 9th on All Stars.
    • Also coincidentally, Ongina and BenDeLa placed 5th on their original seasons.
  • With a duration of eleven years between her original and returning season, Ongina has the longest time span until her return out of all contestants.
  • If Ongina would have made it to the Snatch Game episode, she would have done Marie Kondo or Connie Chung.
  • Ongina is one of the 7 queens to compete on more than one season, but only lip-sync once, the other six being Milk, Thorgy Thor, Pandora Boxx, Nina Flowers, Blair St. Clair and Mariah Paris Balenciaga.
  • On both seasons she competed in, Ongina was sent home by the winner of the season.

Gallery

Season 1 Looks

All Stars 5 Looks

Videos

Filmography

Television

Year Title Role Notes
2009 RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 1 Herself
2009 New Now Next Awards
2010 One Night Stand Up
2010-11 RuPaul's Drag U Season 1 and 2, 5 episodes
2010 RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 2 Episode: "The Main Event Clip Show" (Special guest)
2012 RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 4 Episode: "RuPocalypse Now!" (Zombie)
2012 RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars: Season 1 Episode: "The Grand Finale"
2014 RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 6 Episode: "The Finale" (Audience)
2018 RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 10 Episode: "10s Across the Board"
Episode: "Grand Finale"
2019 RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 11 Episode: "Whatcha Unpackin?" (Special Guest)

Music Videos

Year Title Artist Notes
2011 "I Gotta Feeling" The Black Eyed Peas Cameo

Web Series

Year Title Role Notes
2009 RuPaul's Drag Race: Under the Hood Herself
2014 WOW Shopping Network
2014 Ring My Bell
2016 Besties For Ca$h
2017 Hey Qween!
2017-19 The Pit Stop Co-Host
2018 Fashion Photo RuView Co-Host (with Mayhem Miller)
2018 Cosmo Queens
2019 Tails of the City Episode 2: Pets 4 Pets
2019 Wait, What? Co-Host

Others

Year Title Notes
2014 RuPaul's Drag Race: Dragopolis 2.0 Voice

Other Works

  • Ongina hosted a series on Logo called "HIV and Me". The series tells different stories from individuals who are living their lives being HIV Positive. The purpose of the series is to reach out to HIV/AIDS patients around the world and to find a relationship with those stories told by the interviewed individuals. One of the reasons Ongina was chosen for this was because she came out to the world about being diagnosed with HIV, and for being a true icon to Mac Viva Glam.
  • Ongina was a drag professor for 2 seasons on Logo's RuPaul's Drag U.

Awards and Nominations

Year Award Category Results
2009 NewNowNext Awards Most Addictive Reality Star Winner

Social Media

References

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