Manila von Teez talks about life as a drag queen

The fabulous Veon Wentzel (AKA Manila von Teez) celebrated his birthday earlier this week and in celebration, Matiemedia got to know him better.

Manila von Teez in full drag. PHOTO: Zhann Solomons

Who is Manila von Teez?

Manila is a Lip Synching Drag Performer, hailing originally from Elsies River, but currently living in Goodwood in Cape Town.

Who is Veon Wentzel?

Veon is the youngest of five children, who grew up in a single parent home. He studied Fashion at Cape Town Technikon for a year, and could not continue due to financial constraints. He has his own Fashion Label – Haus of Vjorn.

Veon Wentzel. PHOTO: Facebook

What was your childhood like?

It was different, as being the youngest, I was not generally surrounded by other children always. We did however have a home filled with love.

What is it like being a drag queen in South Africa?

It is getting better and better all the time. Society is warming up to the art form which is a great thing.

What’s the hardest part about being a drag queen?

Taking off the make up! (laugh) Not being considered a show filler, and rather a main act.

What is your life motto?

Respect others as you would want them to respect you.

Who is your diva inspiration?

Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Ru Paul.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Runner up on SA’s Got Talent 2016, and being voted 7th in the World as The Most Influential Black person in the LGBTI community 2016.

Can you describe an experience you felt most nervous?

It definitely has to be SA’s Got Talent. Live Television is no joke!

What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?

Nothing over the top outrageous, but smaller things like a photoshoot in a swimming pool, and generally jumping off stage into a half split.

When are you happiest?

When I’m on stage and you can see the crowd is having an amazing time.

What is your routine in preparation for a performance?

I decide on the songs I am performing and prep hair for the performance. I then move to the bathroom to shower and shave, thereafter start with my eye makeup and then do the rest of my face. Once makeup is done I get dressed, place on my wig, and off we go.

What is your favourite song to lip synch to?

I am Changing by Jennifer Hudson

How were you approached by the Kiffness to feature in their music video, You Say You Love Me and why did you decide to be a part of the music video?

We were recommended by Roberto de Faria, owner of Zer021 Social Club, to the director, Quinton Lavery. Quinton met with my manager and the concept was born.

You are a well-known pageant queen with titles such as Miss Black Pride, Miss Cape Town Pride, Miss Cape Peninsula and Miss Loerie. Do you still participate in pageants?

Unfortunately I do not enter pageants anymore. I do miss the adrenalin rush of a pageant because in a performance, it is over once the song is done, where as a pageant can last two to three hours.

Below is a video of Manila von Teez performing at Zer021 Social Club in Cape Town.

– Vonani Ngomana

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