‘Drag Den’ winner Naia recalls marching in drag at UP grad ceremony

February 3, 2023 - 6:56 PM

Did you know that the first-ever Drag Supreme, Naia, marched during her graduation ceremony wearing a drag outfit?

In September 2022, Naia, whose real name is Brian Black, attended her graduation ceremony at the University of the Philippines-Diliman in full drag. She earned a degree in Broadcast Communication.


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In an interview with Interaksyon, she shared that this was the graduation gift of her parents to her.

“Actually people don’t know this but I actually graduated from U.P. 2020 pa lang pero kami ‘yung unang batch ng Zoom graduation. So, that wasn’t fun at all, seriously. So nung nagkaroon na ng plans for face to face graduation,I knew that well… it was just a ceremony anyway, so I could do whatever I want, kahit pagbawalan ako mag-cross dress,” Naia said at the sidelines of the press conference for the finale the first season of “Drag Den Philippines.”

“I was like you know, I feel like UP naman ‘yan. Wala sila magagawa kung darating ako doon in full drag and I did,” she added.

“And I told that to my parents and they were supportive, ‘yun ‘yong grad gift ng parents ko sa’kin,” Naia continued.

Naia said her parents even bought her the dress and it was her first time having a designer outfit.

During the graduation ceremony day, Naia said that she arrived late.

“Medyo mangiyak-ngiyak na ako non,” she said, adding that she just missed it by a few minutes as her real surname is Black, who was among the students called first.

Fortunately, the graduation organizers allowed her to still march and called her back on stage.

“Humiyaw ‘yung buong Maskom. Even my thesis adviser was clapping so hard,” Naia said.

The drag queen said she enjoyed marching with her mother on stage. Her father, meanwhile, was outside of the venue, still supporting him as only one parent is allowed to join on stage.

With this experience, Naia is hopeful that many others would be encouraged to attend their graduation ceremonies in the outfit that they like.

“It was just a lot of emotions then and I super appreciate it that they would let us do that. Sana gawin pa ng mga tao ‘no. Bonggahan nila yung graduation outfits nila,” Naia said.

The “Drag Supreme” said she has yet to release a vlog about her graduation march experience.

Naia emerged as the first winner of “Drag Philippines” hosted by Manila Luzon last January 26. She bested seven other queens namely Shewarma, Maria Cristina, O-A, Aries Night, Pura Luka Vega, Barbie Q and Lady Gagita.

READ: ‘She really deserved it’: Fans cheer Naia for being Drag Den’s first-ever ‘Drag Supreme’

In social media posts early this week, UP and UP College of Mass Communication congratulated Naia for her feat.

Naia said she is proud to be called an “iskolar ng bayan.”

RELATED: ‘Mabuhay at padayon’: UP gives shout-out to Naia after ‘Drag Den Philippines’ win