A Seat at New Ho Queen’s Table

Written by Maxine Wally
Photographs by Claudine Baltazar
by Jo Jin
Originally Published: 

New Ho Queen, a Canadian queer Asian collection posing for the camera
Photographed by Claudine Baltazar, styled by Jo Jin.

When the Canadian queer Asian collective New Ho Queen gets together for a meeting, it will often take place over Japanese barbecue, chow fun, or crispy ginger beef. (The group’s name, in fact, was inspired by a Chinese restaurant in Toronto called New Ho King.) “Food is what connects a lot of our cultures together, especially since we’re from a diaspora,” says Lulu Wei, a core member. “Though we’re all Asian, we all have different preferences or cultural practices,” adds Nikki Wong Jing. “But it doesn’t matter where you’re from—everyone understands a great dish.”

At New Ho Queen’s center is a mission of representation, visibility, and joy: Since 2018, they have been throwing themed bashes at venues all over Canada, creating spaces for queer and trans Asians to dance, be seen, and find love. Notable examples include an annual Asian Pride party in June and a burlesque function called the Love Hotel. Each member wears many hats to make the parties pop: Vernon Rubiano performs in drag as Phemynina, as does Patrick Salvani, aka Ms. Nookie Galore; Raphael Sanchez can often be found next to Wei in the DJ booth; Wong Jing is a go-go dancer, digital content creator, and graphic designer; and Roderic Chan consults on event production.

Aside from beauty and skin-care products from Phytosurgence—an Asian and queer-owned brand that Wong Jing loves—and a Dorian Who bucket hat from Sanchez’s favorite boutique, U3, one gift the whole New Ho Queen family is excited about this year is a cake by Kwento, a Filipino bakery in Toronto. “They’re half Marie Antoinette, half acid trip,” Rubiano says of Kwento’s creations, which would serve as an eye-catching centerpiece for any table. “They’re so cute that you feel bad for cutting into them.”

MAIN PHOTO: Back row, from left (unless otherwise noted, clothing and accessories belong to the subject): Phemynina wears a U3 Library cape dress; U3 Select capelet; Cuchara rings. Armand Digdoyo. Ms. Nookie Galore. Samuel Oh wears a U3 Library sweater; U3 Select jeans. Sam Yang wears a U3 Select jacket. Nikki Wong Jing. Roderic Chan wears a Stand Studio coat; Leak Your Sex Tape bodysuit. Rejh aka Reggie Ho wears a U3 Select dress and gloves; U3 Library skirt; Leak Your Sex Tape necklace. Front row, from left: Sam Yoon wears a Valente jacket and pants; MX top and thong; U3 Select necklaces; Cuchara necklace. Lan Florence Yee wears a Khaite jacket; Marine Serre turtleneck. Denny Ancheta wears a U3 Select shirt. Yi Shi wears a U3 Select jacket and bodysuit; By the Namesake pants; Yuun earrings; Cuchara necklaces. E Cheung wears a U3 Select jacket and pants; Valente top; Cuchara jewelry. John Thai wears a Cuchara necklace. Raphael Sanchez wears a Cuchara necklace; U3 Select necklace. Lulu Wei wears a By the Namesake jacket; Vitaly necklace; U3 Select pants. Arezu wears a Loulou Studio coat; Leak Your Sex Tape top; Mackage shorts; U3 Select leggings. MS.G wears a Ted Baker London coat; House of Etiquette harness.

Still Lifes Photographed by Bobby Doherty; Styled Christina Holevas. Prop styling by Noemi. Bonazzi at M.A.P.

Hair and Makeup by JieFan Alan for Shiseido; photo assistant: Tracey Owusu; Fashion Assistants: Adrianne Jin, Alexa Leitch; hair and makeup assistants: Matthew King, Zo Keswani, Suraiya Mathias.

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