#TheSugboanon: Catching Up with Taylor Shiteh

Makeup artist, drag queen, and a simple girl…

With a dedication and skill that mirrors the Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter, Taylor Shiteh has taken the stage by storm with performances around the Queen City of the South, leaving audiences in awe of her uncanny resemblance!

Photo from Taylor Shiteh’s Official Facebook Page

But, once the costumes and makeup are off, who is she? Let’s get to know the stunning Taylor Swift drag impersonator of Cebu – Taylor Shiteh!

Who Is “Shiteh” After The Show?

We had the privilege of interviewing Taylor Shiteh and were amazed by her authenticity and talent. Dressed in a red Kansas City Chief jersey and wearing the T.S. signature long blonde wig, she effortlessly embodied the spirit of Taylor Swift!

I’m just a simple girl…

-Taylor Shiteh

When asked how she started, Shiteh shared her journey from being a makeup artist to now a renowned drag queen, “I started off as a makeup artist jud. Then soon I got invited to an event and they asked me to perform.” Shiteh recalled her very first performance as Taylor Swift. “I’ve been doing different makeup looks and drag for so long. It has been 8 years na, and finally I took the courage to perform live – just last year. I got the opportunity to finally do it!” Shiteh added as we dug deeper into her beginnings.

Just like first-time performers, Shiteh hilariously talked about how it felt during her first show, “Kanang feeling nga mura kag kaunon sa yuta?”  [Translation: “Ever felt like you’re being swallowed by the ground you’re standing on?”] Shiteh said, proving that it takes time and practice to perform with confidence, even for someone as stunning and flawless as her. “Looking back, I’ve observed an improvement in me. Now, ginakilaw na nako akong performance and naa na koy connection with the audience.” [Translation: “Now, I’m just effortlessly eating up my performances and I can easily connect with the audience without much thought.”]

Shiteh shared her simple life once the stage lights are down and when she wipes her makeup off, “I don’t have eyebrows on when naa ra ko sa balay (when I’m at home) and I am just a simple girl.”

Why The Name?

Photo from Taylor Shiteh’s Official Facebook Page

Of all the wordplays that can be done to the name “Taylor Swift,” we asked Shiteh why she chose “Taylor Shiteh” to be her stage persona and she answered, “It all started with a gay lingo (gay terminology).” It turns out that the term “shiteh” was a word that she and her friends use as a slang or expression. “It’s just our general term and so when we were brainstorming for a name, the word came to mind.”

“Since the name came from an expression, it is supposed to be pronounced as “Shi-teh!” Pinabusdak jud. But, during my shows and in a professional setting, it is usually announced as “Shi-tey,” she added.

Two Voices, One Girl

Photo from Taylor Shiteh’s Official Facebook Page

“I have different voices,” said Shiteh when she recalled a hilarious moment she shared with fellow performer and host, Alem Garcia, during one of her shows. According to Shiteh, Alem will hand her a functioning microphone for a quick chit chat or interview on stage. “Wa ko kahibaw unsaon nako pag answer because I lip sync during my performances. Then, Alem gives me the functioning mic so wa ko kahibaw sa akong self kung unsa akong gamiton: akong tinuod ba nga tingog or magpinababaye, because of how I am presenting myself as Taylor.” Shiteh added, “But, it’s fun when the crowd gets surprised when I start to speak using my normal voice.” [Translation: “I don’t know how to answer because I lip sync during my performances. Then, Alem gives me the functioning mic, so I am clueless whether to use my real voice or my femme voice because I am presenting myself as Taylor.”]

Achieving the Perfect Balance Between Hustles

When Shiteh arrived at our SugboPH headquarters, she was also booked for a makeup gig right after our interview. We inquired about how she’s able to achieve a balance between her work as a makeup artist, performer as a Taylor Swift drag queen, and her personal life especially with a partner.

Setting boundaries and getting things done is important.

Taylor Shiteh

Shiteh expressed the value of having discipline, being adaptive, and properly setting boundaries in order to get things done efficiently. “This is the field I chose and most of the time I travel, so, it’s all about getting things done and scheduling time for leisure.”

Shiteh may have been new in the industry of drag but she is the embodiment of taking opportunities, never giving up, and utilizing all the skills and abilities given to a person, while still keeping a humble heart. When asked about her advice to everyone who aspires to be as successful as her, Shiteh answered, “Just humble yourself at all times and always be good.”

Always choose kindness.

Taylor Shiteh

And to those who are still unsure about where they’re heading in the future, Shiteh suggests, “Padayun rajud and grab every opportunity nga maabot sa inyong life because God has plans for you.” [Translation: Keep on going and grab every opportunity that comes your way because God has plans for you.]

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Lenie Lañojan
Lenie Lañojan

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