Jimbo is without a doubt, one of the most popular and polarizing performers to emerge from the inaugural cast of Canada’s Drag Race. His ability to seamlessly mix his clown couture aesthetic with a unique performing style torpedoed him to the top of the pack, with his elimination coming just shy of the Top Three finale. Jimbo and I sat down post-finale to talk about his path the the Canada’s Drag Race runway, his unique style aesthetic (and how it is influencing his post Drag Race plans) and what it is like suddenly being a quintessential Drag Race fan favorite.
Michael Cook: Jimbo you were a fan favorite this year and really helped bring Canada’s Drag Race to the forefront. It was a shock to many fans that you were eliminated right before the finale.
Jimbo: Thank you so much, I am so sad too!
MC: What does it feel like to be a part of the first season of Canada’s Drag Race?
J: Oh it is a long time dream! I was scheming and planning about how I could somehow sneak into America and somehow live there, but this was way easier (laughs). Having a Canadian version is an amazing opportunity to showcase all of the different kinds of drag that this country has and to show our unique take on drag and who we are.
MC: You are one of the queens that is so unique and has carved out their own niche for themselves, how do you describe the Jimbo experience?
J: I am a clown. I like to surprise myself and surprise my audience. I love to be changing it up, switching it up, pushing boundaries; I like things that feel fresh. A lot of time when I am performing, like everything I wore and did on the show, that was the first time I had done any of that. That is the new and the surprise that has to be in everything that I do, that really ends up pushing me. I like taking people into uncomfortable places and trying new things. I like to be always changing and pushing myself and to be exploring and having fun in new ways.
MC: Do you think your own experience as an actual clown was an advantage for you? The acting challenges in particular are where you truly shined and that could be attributed to your experience as a performer don’t you think?
J: For sure. The Clown is a specific type of performance where you are really being open to energy, your audience, exploring physically and verbally. That let me sort of just release self judgement and really just be in the moment and respond and listen and have fun. That is what the clown does-it listens, responses, and has fun; and that is what I did.
MC: The sisterhood of Drag Race is what many of the girls credit as one of the best parts of the entire Drag Race experience. Have you heard from any of your US sisters since the show?
J: Yes, so many. Shea Coulee wrote to me, Monique Heart wrote to me, Trixie tweeted me, Trinity K Bonet said she is a huge fan, Bianca Del Rio and Katya. Jaida Essence Hall I spoke briefly too. Willam and I have been talking, I love Willam. Violet Chachki loved my fight in Untucked, she said it was the best one minute of drag in the past five seasons (laughs). There have been so many iconic sisters from the Americaan version that have reached out to show their love and support. It is totally mind blowing to be a fan of someone and to respect someone so much and then to be their peer and then for them to be your fan, it is absolutely mind melting.
MC: The judges on Canada’s Drag Race, specifically Jeffrey Bowyer Chapman, have gotten some heat for their critiques. Did you think their crtitiques were helpful or not truly constructive criticism?
J: I think you go there with the knowledge that you are going to be judged and you are going to be compared to each other. Part of it is just that you have to accept that gracefully, or ungracefully as I did sometimes. Those are three voices in hundreds of thousands of voices. The clown, I am not performing for the judges, I am performing for the audience. For the audience to have the response that they did and to show so much love, joy and support for my choices and my characters and my take on drag, those are the real judges that I listen to. As for the advice on the show, I got some tips from Stacey McKenzie about walking more confidently, and Jeffrey gave me some hints on staying super confident and making sure my makeup is visible and goes everywhere. Things that I knew, but in the moment it is a good reminder to always look at the details and take the time to do that. I love the judges; it is their first season and just like everyone, there is a learning curve. They should be supported and given the grace to figure it out and get their bearings.
MC: You have the dubious distinction of having the most Instagram followers from your whole cast. The Drag Race fandom is notoriously vocal, so you certainly must be hearing from the always opinionated fandom.
J: It has been absolutely incredibly and inspiring. I started on the journey to showcase my drag and show the world the kind of drag we have here in Canada and that in itself was absolutely incredible. To know that my story and my take on drag and my attitude and my voice in this world is something that resonates with people was so encouraging. My mission before was to create friendships and to create experiences, to spread love, to spread joy, to self express and to create moments to celebrate that. Now that I have this connection, reach and ability, I know that I have many more dreams to come true and more lives to be a part of; that is a dream.
MC: What is next for Jimbo?
J: I am going on a tour to the UK, which is so exciting to perform live, it is going to be exciting. I am working on getting my own show going, I have a dream-type of show called The House of Jimbo, which basically showcases my characters, my clowning, my drag and my performing. There are many kids shows that formulated my young self like Pee Wee’s Playhouse and the Hilarious House of Frightenstein, so I really want to weave in that nostalgic aesthetic. The framework of a kids show, but really made for adults. One that is really about bizarre art and performing and to make people laugh.
MC: Quarantine has been very challenging for many creative people; how have you stayed creative during this truly unparalleled time?
J: The pandemic was really busy for me. I started making masks with my partner, and we made around 5000 masks. We started a program where if you bought a mask, we donated a mask to those that needed them. We helped the street community in Victoria, the LGBT street community in Toronto, we sent masks to the Navajo Natives. So we were really busy helping with the pandemic. As we shifted to the summer, things changed and we were able to still do that, but shift my focus to the show. It has been a lot of work creating content and really trying to give fans a greater experience outside of the show around my character. We made several music videos and did several photo shoots, which gave the fans something else to look at and enjoy, and just see other sides of myself and my looks.
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