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Drag, Diversity, and Disco Fever: Jeriana 'Sirenn' Arawan on Finding Inspiration and Overcoming Challenges

A drag queen sits on a stool with arms outreached

In the realm of drag, Jeriana 'Sirenn' Arawan stands out as a vibrant fusion of drag, diversity, and disco vibes. As a genderfluid artist, her drag persona is a celebration of joy and femininity. From the inspired name to the thoughtful connection with historical symbolism, Jeriana shares the essence of her drag journey. This interview explores the influences, challenges, and transformative power that define both the artist and the individual in the dazzling world of drag.

What inspired the creation of your drag persona, and how does it reflect your personal identity or artistic vision?

The inspiration behind my drag persona mostly comes from my gender. As a genderfluid person, I enjoy connecting to my feminine side and showing people that. Dressing up as a girl used to be a joke for me, so in drag, my femininity really embodies joy and laughter. Jeriana “Sirenn” Arawan is a name based on other things important to me. Sirenn is inspired by mermaids, historically significant for trans femme people and women. Jeriana Arawan uses “Jerico,” my first name that I feel connected to, and Arawan (Are-ah-one) is a Filipino word that means sunshine. Many have said I have a warm vibe, so I chose to make that a part of my persona.

Is there a specific drag queen or performer who has influenced your style and performance? How have they impacted your drag journey?

A drag queen who inspires me currently is Anetra. Her style and empowerment to Asian North American Queens are influential to me. Other than Anetra, I try to draw inspiration from every queen who’s ever made me laugh. I enjoy comedy a lot and try to make it a huge part of my shows.

Take us through your transformation process. How do you choose your looks, costumes, and makeup? Are there any rituals or routines you follow before hitting the stage?

I do all of my drag transformation pretty normally, with the exception of the pre-transformation process. I love looking on Pinterest for pictures inspired by a specific theme I’m going for. Many queens do this too, but I always love making my looks based on a theme that connects to my music collection too. Whatever story I try to tell, I try to make that apparent in my look.

What challenges have you faced during your drag transformation, and how have you overcome them?

A huge challenge I’ve faced in my transformation is my contouring. There’s still a lot I’m learning, as drag has been something I’ve only been doing since April 2022. Someone who helped me a lot with figuring this out is Izzy Limprist, one of the other queens who was a part of this show.

Share with us one of your most memorable performances. What made it special, and how did the audience react?

My most memorable performance so far was probably my first one. I had spent so long learning how to properly do drag, and my friends helped me get into my fit for the night. It was a disco throwback event, and I had my outfit custom made by my partner. The part that made it so special was when I was about to finish my last song and dropped down to do a move and ripped my pants! It was so funny and it made the night more memorable, pushing through the fashion mistake.

Are there any particular themes or messages you like to convey through your performances?

I love making any of my performances funny. I usually use humor as a vehicle to convey deeper, more profound themes. Usually, I like to make a lot of content that makes people think about themselves introspectively. I want people to see what I do and think, “How does this apply to me? Oh, it applies to me like this!”

Beyond the glitz and glamour, what's a personal story or experience that you've incorporated into your drag performances?

I’m not too sure that I’ve incorporated any big personal stories into my drag performances before. Sometimes I’d incorporate what some might say are embarrassing aspects of myself into shows like certain interests (video games or nerd culture).

How has drag provided a platform for you to express aspects of your identity or share important stories?

Drag has provided a platform for me to finally feel like I’m myself. All my life I’ve wanted to be a performer, but nothing gave me the balance of all performing aspects as much as drag. It also has made me feel more connected to the way I express myself in everyday life and the ambiguity of being genderfluid. I’m so thankful for the drag community and what it’s been able to give me.

What motivated you to join Drag Heals, and how has the experience impacted your growth as a drag performer and as an individual?

Drag Heals was an amazing opportunity that showed me the potential I had to reach people with what I create. It improved me as an artist, a creator, and as a human. What motivated me to join was the premise of telling stories. I’ve always been someone who loved to tell stories, but the method in which we did it in Drag Heals was nothing less than innovative.

Can you share a behind-the-scenes moment or a lesson you've learned during the Drag Heals journey that viewers might not be aware of?

The thing I learned behind the scenes of Drag Heals is that sometimes you don’t know how to say what you mean. It’s difficult when it feels like you’re misunderstood, and you start rambling because you’re trying to get a point across as accurately as possible, and that just makes it worse. I learned that sometimes it’s okay to pause and think about how you want to say something.


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