Taylor Sheesh

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Taylor Sheesh
refer to caption
Sheesh performing at Fisher Mall Malabon on November 24, 2023
Born
John Mac Lane Coronel

(1994-11-29) November 29, 1994 (age 29)
NationalityFilipino
Occupations
Years active2017–present
Known forImpersonating Taylor Swift

John Mac Lane Coronel (born November 29, 1994), known professionally as Taylor Sheesh, is a Filipino drag queen known for impersonating American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. Having opened for RuPaul's Drag Race contestants in the Philippines, Sheesh has been professionally impersonating Swift since 2017.

Sheesh rose to national and international fame in 2023 after videos of her[note 1] free-of-cost shows that emulate the Eras Tour, Swift's 2023–2024 concert tour, in the malls of Philippine cities such as Quezon City, Cebu City, Taguig and Metro Manila went viral on social media. Publications have described Sheesh as "the Philippines' top Taylor Swift impersonator" and her shows as an alternative experience to the Eras Tour.[1]

Early life[edit]

John Mac Lane Coronel grew up in Manila, the Philippines. His[note 1] father was a car electrician and his mother is a housewife.[2] He became a fan of Taylor Swift in 2009, at age 15, while he was a high school student of Sta. Catalina National High School in Antipolo, Rizal.[3][4] He listened to Swift's 2009 single "Fifteen", following her music ever since, and "memorising all her mannerisms—her moves, her songs and choreography".[2] His first drag impersonation was of American singer Lady Gaga,[5] when he dressed as her to a nightclub, participated in a "lip-sync battle" contest there unplanned, and won the competition. Coronel was hired to perform drag in the shows organized by the club's manager, and eventually opened for a few RuPaul's Drag Race contestants in the Philippines.[6] He started impersonating Swift in 2017.[7] Coronel stated, "I watched some of her live performances on YouTube and memorized how she performs, how she flicks her hair. How she awkwardly dances."[8] His drag name, Taylor Sheesh, is a combination of Swift's first name and the slang word "sheesh" used to express exasperation.[5] Coronel credited Filipino drag queens Viñas DeLuxe and Marina Summers, contestants of the first season of Drag Race Philippines, with helping improve his drag, aesthetic, brand, and performances.[6]

In 2022, Coronel was discovered by an event organizer when she attended an album-listening party for Swift's second re-recorded album, Red (Taylor's Version), dressed as Swift in Market! Market!, a shopping mall in Taguig.[5]

Career[edit]

Sheesh performing an Eras Tour emulation at SM Seaside City in Cebu City on August 1, 2023

In May 2023, videos of Taylor Sheesh performing a free-of-cost replication of the Eras Tour, Swift's sixth concert tour, to a large crowd at Trinoma mall in Quezon City on May 21, went viral on social media.[9][10] The event was reported by American music magazine Rolling Stone in the mainstream media. Coronel stated that the show was organized by him and Swifties Philippines, a Facebook group.[6] In June 2023, American drag performer Jiggly Caliente was criticized for making fun of Sheesh's appearance on Instagram; Caliente eventually apologized.[11]

Sheesh began receiving international coverage in July 2023.[12] Five thousand fans watched Taylor Sheesh perform in Taguig. Videos of the event accumulated thousands of views on the video-sharing platform, TikTok. When the announced international dates of the Eras Tour did not contain any dates in the Philippines but only included Singapore from Southeast Asia, Coronel's performances were described as an alternative Eras Tour experience for Swift's Filipino fans.[1][11][13] Sheesh also performed at Brooklyn Warehouse, a large event space in the Metro Manila region.[1]

In August 2023, Sheesh broke the record for the highest number of attendees for an Eras Tour emulation at The Outlets in Lipa, Batangas, with 10,000 registered attendees.[citation needed] Sheesh performed to over 10,000 attendees for over one and a half hours at Trinoma in Quezon City—her biggest crowd yet, with some fans willing to snag obstructed-view seats "just to get a glimpse of [Sheesh]."[6] In a private show, Sheesh performed for Filipino social media personality Bretman Rock, to celebrate his return to the Philippines, and also entertained at the birthday lunch of Rock's cousin.[14]

In September 2023, Sheesh was the subject of a featurette on an episode of Good Morning America, a US morning television program.[15] In an interview with Vulture, Coronel said that he makes the Taylor Sheesh shows free or affordable "as much as possible", with sponsorships offered by the hosting mall and a few brands. Food and unofficial merchandise from small businesses in the Philippines are also sold in the shows. Sheesh stated that people recognize him in public areas even when he is not in drag.[6] Sheesh told The Guardian that her performances are "not for clout or fame but to celebrate [Swift's] music".[2]

In February 2024, Sheesh attended the Eras Tour in Tokyo, Japan.[16] She was interviewed by the Australian radio channel SBS Filipino on February 14, wherein she confirmed that she is set to headline the Errors Tour—a free concert at Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia, on February 16, 2024, marking Sheesh's first international show in tribute to Swift.[17] Around 9,000 attended the concert.[18] On February 17, Sheesh appeared on Australian breakfast program Today.[19][20] Sheesh has also scheduled four performances in Singapore in March 2024.[17] Sheesh also facilitated the boarding announcement for Cebu Pacific flight 5J1989, named in honor of 1989, Swift's fifth studio album, bound for Singapore, where the Southeast Asian stop of the Eras Tour took place.[21]

Sheesh's life story is to be featured on Magpakailanman's April 13, 2024 episode, wherein Luis Hontiveros and Boobay portrayed her.[22]

Critical reception[edit]

NPR journalist Ashley Westerman praised the accuracy of Sheesh's body language and stage presence to those of Swift's, and described Sheesh as "the Philippines' top Taylor Swift impersonator".[1] The Guardian said, "on stage, Sheesh moves much like the American star, with the same hair flicks and hand gestures."[2] BBC described Sheesh as "the Taylor Swift drag tribute dazzling Asia" and praised her outfits—"an impressive collection of fringed outfits and bejewelled leotards".[18]

Personal life[edit]

Coronel worked at a call center in the Philippines.[13] In 2018, he quit the call center job to pursue drag full-time, but had to return to his call center job during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the lack of stable employment for drag performers in the Philippines.[5] In 2023, Coronel again quit the call center and began pursuing drag full-time, touring the Philippines as Sheesh.[2] He uses the female pronouns when in character as Sheesh and the male pronouns outside the stage.[18]

Coronel is gay. He realized he was gay as a child and has stated it was "something his family could not accept"; however, following his success as Sheesh, his relatives have "congratulated" him.[2]

See also[edit]

Note[edit]

  1. ^ a b Coronel's pronouns are he/him. However, when he performs as Sheesh, Sheesh's pronouns are she/her. This article uses both sets of pronouns accordingly.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Westerman, Ashley (2023). "After snub by Taylor Swift, Filipino 'Swifties' find solace in another Taylor". NPR. Archived from the original on July 22, 2023. Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Ratcliffe, Rebecca (November 1, 2023). "Meet drag star Taylor Sheesh, the Philippines' answer to Swiftie mania". The Guardian. Retrieved November 5, 2023.
  3. ^ Ngojo, Jessa (September 3, 2023). "The glam that is 'Taylor Sheesh': A glimpse inside Philippines' rising drag artist". Cebu Daily News. Retrieved December 22, 2023.
  4. ^ "Interview with a star Swiftie: Why this call center agent is happiest when he's Taylor Sheesh". ABS-CBN. 2023. Archived from the original on July 22, 2023. Retrieved July 22, 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d Bautista, Jilianne (July 18, 2023). "Everything about Taylor Sheesh, the Drag Queen Taylor Swift impersonator". Your Guide to the Big City. Archived from the original on July 22, 2023. Retrieved July 22, 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d e Gularte, Alejandra (September 1, 2023). "If Taylor Swift Isn't Available, Try Taylor Sheesh". Vulture. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  7. ^ "Philippine 'Swifties' flock to Taylor Sheesh show". France 24. July 7, 2023. Archived from the original on July 22, 2023. Retrieved July 22, 2023.
  8. ^ "The viral drag queen giving local Swifties the Eras experience". ABC Everyday. June 27, 2023. Archived from the original on July 22, 2023. Retrieved July 22, 2023.
  9. ^ Mier, Tomás (May 23, 2023). "Filipino Taylor Swift Stans Packed a Mall to See an Eras Tour Drag Show". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on July 22, 2023. Retrieved July 22, 2023.
  10. ^ "Filipino drag queen goes viral performing Taylor Swift's Eras Tour at the mall". GAY TIMES. May 23, 2023. Archived from the original on July 22, 2023. Retrieved July 22, 2023.
  11. ^ a b Madarang, Catalina Ricci S. (June 16, 2023). "'It's just wrong': Jiggly Caliente expresses apology to Taylor Sheesh after hurtful post". Interaksyon. Archived from the original on July 22, 2023. Retrieved July 22, 2023.
  12. ^ "Taylor Sheesh fills void for Philippine 'Swifties'". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on July 22, 2023. Retrieved July 22, 2023.
  13. ^ a b "A Taylor Swift drag queen rises in the Philippines". Washington Post. July 21, 2023. Archived from the original on July 22, 2023. Retrieved July 22, 2023.
  14. ^ "Taylor Sheesh performs for Bretman Rock during his PH visit". CNN Philippines. August 27, 2023. Archived from the original on August 30, 2023. Retrieved August 30, 2023.
  15. ^ Antonio, Josiah (September 4, 2023). "Taylor Sheesh featured on 'Good Morning America'". ABS-CBN. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  16. ^ "LOOK: Taylor Sheesh gushes over seeing Taylor Swift in 'Eras Tour' in Japan". Philstar Life. Retrieved February 17, 2024.
  17. ^ a b "Taylor Sheesh on being an impersonator, breadwinner, and how Taylor Swift changed her life". SBS Filipino. February 14, 2024. Retrieved February 17, 2024.
  18. ^ a b c Bonnie McLaren, Mitch Mansfield (February 22, 2024). "Taylor Sheesh: The Taylor Swift drag tribute dazzling Asia". BBC Newsbeat. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  19. ^ https://x.com/TheTodayShow/status/1758622663801487589?s=20
  20. ^ Antonio, Josiah (February 18, 2024). "Taylor Sheesh featured on Australian talk show 'Today'". ABS CBN News. Retrieved March 4, 2024.
  21. ^ "Taylor Sheesh becomes ground crew announcer for flight 5J 1989 bound for Singapore". GMA News Online. March 3, 2024. Retrieved March 3, 2024.
  22. ^ "Taylor Sheesh's story to be featured on 'Magpakailanman'". GMA Integrated News. April 12, 2024. Retrieved April 13, 2024.