‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Kept Them Amused Near and Far


Teodora Maria Bun and Menchilou Deo Antopina began watching “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” like clockwork, together each week after they met in Singapore.

For extra oomph, and sometimes with friends, they usually downed shots — including a mystery shot once mixed with durian, the notoriously pungent fruit — each time a drag queen on the reality competition show performed an amazing feat like a cartwheel, split or death drop.

“It’s part of our relationship,” said Ms. Antopina, 32, who goes by Mench.

She “super liked” Ms. Bun, 30, who goes by Maria, her very first time on Tinder one Sunday evening in July 2020.

Ms. Bun’s green eyes in a selfie blew her away.

“It shows her beauty,” said Ms. Antopina, who had arrived in Singapore at the end of January 2020, a few weeks before pandemic lockdown, to take a breather from her career as an accountant in Cebu, the Philippines, where she grew up.

For a change of pace, Ms. Antopina, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Cebu Institute of Technology-University, got a job as a representative for a concierge service in Singapore. She is now an independent accountant providing corporate and accounting services to multinational companies in the Philippines.

“I ‘super liked’ her right back,” said Ms. Bun, 30, a lawyer, using the Tinder term, and invited her over that evening for some red wine.

Ms. Antopina, feeling a bit adrift in a new city at a very strange time, proceeded with caution. (She had counted on taking three-hour flights home to see family, but did not see them for the next two years).

“I had to make sure if she was real or not, not a catfish” she said, and asked if she could call her.

Reassured, Ms. Antopina took a cab from where she lived in Sunhaven to Ms. Bun’s place a half-hour away on Keong Saik Road, but en route Ms. Antopina, not a cat person, learned that Ms. Bun had two — a Bengal, named Enkidu, and a Maine coon, Simone.

Ultimately, “they changed how I see cats 100 percent,” Ms. Antopina said.

Ms. Bun, unlike her, felt right at home in Singapore.

“It was a great place to start my career and meet my closest friends,” said Ms. Bun, who spent her last semester of law school there in an exchange program through McGill University, from which she received a dual degree in civil and common law in 2017.

After law school, Ms. Bun, who was born in Romania and moved to Toronto with her parents when she was 7, got a job as a junior legal counsel at Avation, an aircraft leasing company based in Singapore. She is now an associate focusing on aviation finance at Milbank, a law firm in New York. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and history from l’Institut d’études Politiques de Paris, in Reims, France.

“We just talked a lot and drank,” said Ms. Bun, as they sat on her balcony and took in the city views on that first night. They also sang karaoke, and had their first kiss.

A few days later, Ms. Antopina returned to her apartment where they made dinner together: pasta, Ms. Antopina’s favorite food, from scratch.

With borders closed and travel limited, Ms. Bun booked her favorite suite for a staycation in August 2020 at the Fullerton Bay Hotel in town where their Jacuzzi had a view of Marina Bay Sands.

“She made a lot of consistent effort,” said Ms. Antopina, who moved into Ms. Bun’s place at the end of the year.

When the bars shut down, Ms. Antopina put up disco lights and they danced to “oldies” from the ’80s, psychedelic world music and electro synthesis.

“We made a lot of activities that would compensate for the loneliness of Covid,” Ms. Antopina said.

In March 2022, when Ms. Bun accepted her job at Milbank, Ms. Antopina stayed behind in Singapore as a restaurant franchise manager. Still, they managed to watch “Drag Race” together on FaceTime each week.

“Sometimes one of us had shots for breakfast,” said Ms. Antopina, with a laugh, referring to the 12- or 13-hour time difference.

In December 2022 they vacationed in Cebu, where Ms. Bun met Ms. Antopina’s family. The following July, Ms. Bun got on one knee on a rooftop of their hotel in Taiwan, as the supermoon rose over the Yushan mountain range by Sun Moon Lake.

In November 2023, Ms. Antopina finally joined Ms. Bun in New York. It was her first time in the United States.

“I met her at the airport with flowers,” said Ms. Bun. She soon took Ms. Antopina to Prospect Park to see the changing autumn leaves, which she had only seen in movies or on television.

On March 8, the couple were married by Shunya Togashi, a clerk at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau. That evening they had dinner with Ms. Bun’s parents at Delmonico’s, where they enjoyed the restaurant’s signature dessert, Baked Alaska.

“We introduced my parents to our ‘Drag Race’ drinking game with shots that evening,” Ms. Bun said, with a laugh.

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