For most of us, the path to success can seem unclear. We’re often told that working hard and persevering in the face of difficulty is the way to achieve our goals and reach our potential, but what does this actually mean? Well, you don’t have to wonder anymore. Pan Pan Narkprasert, also known as Pangina Heals, is here to share his inspirational story with us, and present his top 5 tips for anyone striving for success in their chosen field.

Pan Pan’s background.

Pan Pan has an interesting backstory. He was bullied during his school years whilst attending a British International School in Bangkok, which was a challenging time for him. His mother informed him at a young age that she won’t leave him any money when she dies, which sparked a realisation in him that he would need to take care of his own future financially.

Pan Pan’s journey towards becoming one of the most famous drag queens in Southeast Asia began when he won a competition to see his idol, Lady Gaga, perform in New York. “I started my drag career when there was a Lady Gaga competition, and if you dressed up as her and lip synced, you could go to her concert in New York,” Pan Pan says.

Winning the exciting competition gave Pan Pan a real sense of direction in life, and he knew he had to keep on developing his skills and talents within drag. “When I was in New York and I went to the concert, it was great because my makeup was terrible, my hair was terrible, but I felt so liberated because you got to interact with other people and share this love for a fantasy,” Pan Pan says.

Pan Pan finds it strange when people say that drag isn’t personal, because to him it really is. “It’s insane when you go through crazy experiences that make you want to quit drag. There are times when someone would say something to me or they would get upset with me...the only way to get through it besides time and realising that time heals all wounds is to find your relationship with what you love and not let anyone affect what you do because if you really love what you do, no one is going to tell you anything differently for you to change your passion.”.

Drag was an unconventional career path, but Pan Pan is nothing if not hard-working and dedicated to following his dream. The journey wasn’t always easy for Pan Pan, but through it all, he maintained his passion and love for his craft – and the dream quickly came together. “I know that I was born on this earth to be a drag queen,“ Pan Pan says, with a passion that shines through every word.

From the start, Pan Pan’s alter ego Pangina Heals was a bright spark on the vibrant drag scene of Thailand and Southeast Asia. Pangina Heals quickly became a household name, and garnered millions of fans around the world. Co-host (along with Art Arya) of the hugely popular Drag Race Thailand, Pangina Heals has toured widely in Asia, the US and beyond. Pan Pan has also opened his own cabaret bar in the heart of Bangkok named after his drag persona – the bar is called Heals, and is a popular spot on the thriving Bangkok nightlife circuit. Pan Pan is fully fluent in both Thai and English, and in fact often mixes the two languages on the hit show Drag Race Thailand. Pan Pan is often referred to as the Ru Paul of Thailand, and is of half Thai, half Taiwanese descent. Alongside his busy work life, Pan Pan also finds the time to devote himself to charitable causes and fundraising. He’s a real figurehead in the LGBTQ community, and dedicates plenty of time to fundraise for a range of different charities focused on AIDS, disadvantaged children and more.

Though he experienced bullying in his school years and is still cyberbullied today, Pan Pan has risen above this. He’s committed to living an authentic and joyful life, and reaching the highest levels of success he possibly can – without being held back by anything. His drag persona Pangina Heals is known for being a stunning and creative drag queen, blending a celebration of Thai culture with Western drag traditions.

As Pan Pan says, “Something that’s really important to me and has always been a passion of mine is to put Thai drag on the world map – to let everyone know how amazing our culture, our art, our music is, and to let them know that Thai drag queens are sickening!”

From humble beginnings, Pan Pan has created a successful life focused on his passion – drag and performance. In an inspirational video for CI Talks, he shares 5 of his top tips for anyone hoping to achieve similar success. And these tips aren’t just for drag queens – these are great tips for succeeding in any career path, so you can achieve the highest level of success in whatever field you’re interested in. So let’s take a closer look at the insight he has to offer.

Pan Pan’s top 5 tips for success.

1. Absorb like a sponge.
2. Hone your craft.
3. Preparation.
4. Professionalism.
5. Let it go and forgive yourself.

1. Absorb like a sponge.

The first tip Pan Pan has for any aspiring drag queen, or for anyone who wants to succeed in their chosen field, is to absorb everything around you like a sponge when you’re first starting out.

“What better way to learn than by listening to other people who have more experience than you. take everything in, if they have tips, take it in. If you don't know something don't be afraid to ask because it's only going to better yourself. Other people who have been on stage more times than you are likely to give you really great tips that you can apply for yourself,” Pan Pan says.

The only way you’re going to develop your skills and succeed is by listening to other people and seeing what they do – that way, you’ll gain a better understanding of how the new world around you works and how you can improve on yourself and your talents. “The art of drag is the art of transformation, which means anyone and everyone can do it,” Pan Pan says.

This first tip is also about continually reflecting on the work you’ve been doing and how well you’re performing, so you can spot any potential areas for improvement.

“Every single time I performed, I knew that I was getting better and better because I watch myself back and I know where to improve.” No one's ever born perfect – you’re never gonna come out of the womb being like “whoo, I am the best performer ever”. This is life, honey – it’s always about learning,” Pan Pan says.

2. Hone your craft.

The second tip is about honing your craft and getting better and better with time. No matter what field you’re in, you won’t be able to succeed unless you’ve worked hard at becoming the best that you can be. This includes doing your homework and staying committed over time.

As Pan Pan says, “You have to practice, practice, practice. If you're going to do a performance and you keep practicing your makeup in the run up to the event, as your skills progress, you’re going to look more beautiful and more polished. If you're going to do a dance number, the more you practice the better you’re going to be at the choreography – you’re going to be more crisp and more sharp. If you're going to perform a song, you have to know the words.”.

The old adage is true – practice does, in fact, make perfect, and the more time you can spend preparing and perfecting your work the better. “For me, I listen to the song over 1000 times when I'm going to do a lip syncing performance, because then I know what action I'm going to do with each syllable. So practice everything as much as possible, so you can get that much closer to perfection,” Pan Pan says.

3. Preparation

As most drag queens know, drag is all about the performance – which is why good preparation is key. For Pan Pan, this is about preparing for each specific stage you’re going to perform on or event you’ll be performing at.

“If you're going to do a performance, you have to do blocking for the light, prepare for the sound, and make sure that the song is sent to the DJ correctly,” Pan Pan says.

It’s really important that you take the time and effort to prepare for each performance, because you do not want to be stuck on stage like a deer in headlights while something goes terribly wrong, because you failed to prepare properly.

4. Professionalism

Pan Pan’s next tip is about professionalism. Being professional and acting appropriately is hugely important in our business lives.

“You have to respect yourself and respect other people by being on time – this is rule number one in any kind of business interaction because time is money. Don't waste my money and other people's money – this is the only way you can turn your passion into a business venture,” Pan Pan says.

No matter what field you’re in, it’s crucial that you behave in a professional manner. Like Pan Pan says, this includes showing up on time and being well-prepared for the work you’re about to take on. It also involves being professional in your communication with other people, and showing the best version of yourself to everyone you interact with.

5. Let it go and forgive yourself

No matter how hard you work and how well you prepare, at some point in our lives and careers, we’ll all have something go wrong. When that happens, it’s best to not beat yourself up about it – just learn from the experience, then let it go and forgive yourself for what went wrong. None of us are perfect, and every mistake is actually a learning experience, so it’s best to take a deep breath and just let it go.

As Pan Pan says, “Sometimes things don't go according to plan and all you can do is just to forgive yourself. If you fall down, get back up and keep going because you know what – sometimes you just can't control certain things and the worst thing to do is for you to blame yourself, so forgive yourself and remember that tomorrow is a new day!”.

So the next time you’re upset with yourself after making a mistake or failing at something, remember Pan Pan’s inspiring words, and be kind to yourself. You have a bright future ahead of you if you work hard at it, so let the past go and look towards the future.

Be inspired to Take Action

Pan Pan’s inspiring journey can serve as motivation for all of us to strive to be the best that we can be, no matter what field we’re in or what we’re passionate about.

“After listening to my tips, I hope you guys are inspired to practice, practice, practice. I hope you’re inspired to turn your passion into a business venture. I hope you’re more forgiving of yourself and able to love yourself more and live the best life as the best version of you!” Pan Pan says.

The 5 top tips you’ve learned from this inspiring drag queen can be applied to your own life in a myriad of ways, whether you’re interested in drag and drag culture, or whether you want to apply these lessons to your business life in a totally different field. Just like Pan Pan found the confidence to get out there and slay the stage every time he performs as Pangina Heals, you can find the fierce performer in you – no matter if you’re stepping onto a stage in heels and sequins or delivering a kick-ass presentation in the boardroom.