Jan is one of the most prominent performers in the world of New York City drag. Whether she is performing with her band Stephanie’s Child (with fellow NYC dolls Rose’ and Lagoona Bloo) or hosting at bars all over town, this queen was dripping in stardust from the moment she took the stage. As she hits her biggest stage yet as a cast member of RuPaul’s Drag Race, I caught up with Jan to talk about rising in the drag ranks in New York City and what it was like getting the life changing call that she had been cast this season.
Michael Cook: Has it started to set in that you are part of the cast of the next season of RuPaul’s Drag Race?
Jan: I can’t. It is finally starting to hit and feel like it’s actually real. It is really incredible and I am so excited.
MC: What was it like when you got the call that you were part of the cast?
J: Well, I was in a lovely area of New York City called “Midtown” and I was coming out of Penn Station, right outside of a McDonald’s, sooo New York (laughs). I mean, what a New York moment! I screamed, I freaked out, I could not believe it. The initial call was on April 1st, so it was almost like I was being pranked; you can’t believe it’s happening. My mind immediately went into preparation mode, and it was like “lets get ready to do this”, getting ready physically and mentally and to just do my best.
MC: Did you get any advice from your drag mother Alexis Michelle?
J: I did. She told me to just be myself and to remember that I am good enough and that I have everything it takes to be a great contender and a winner on this show. She offered so much help and anything that I needed she was there, any questions at any time of the day she was there to be the great mother that she is.
MC: You were doing so well career-wise prior to the show, from your one woman show to your band Stephanie’s Child. Is there a part of you that is hesitant to stop the momentum?
J: You know, with Stephanie’s Child and with me individually, it was a very quick ascension. New York City is the greatest city in the world when it comes to drag, and to be able rise up and to work at all of the major bars, six nights a week is incredible. My mind has always been laser focused about getting to the top; and that is the same with (Stephanie’s Child members) Lagoona Bloo and Rose’. We all just want to be the very best. Although this is my time right now, I am taking them along for the ride. I always say that with them, it’s not a matter of “if” they’ll be on (RuPaul’s Drag Race), it’s a matter of “when”. We are going to continue to focus on the music and put that at the forefront of the drag and of the content that I put out and of what we put out as a group. I am excited for the platform; excited to keep on rising and making my dreams come true.
MC: There are so many girls who have come from the New York City scene that have made it to Drag Race; what former Drag Race girl has come from New York City and has taught you the most?
J: You know, Miz Cracker was a queen that I really gravitated to when I moved to the city. I like to consider her a mentor to me. She taught me so many things about drag; sewing, hair, mixes, hosting, and she would give me advice. She would say “try to do this this time” and she would encourage me; she saw something in me from the beginning when I was doing Kris Jenner. I went to her show when I was commuting from New Jersey, during my first year of my career every single Sunday. I would go just to watch her and to learn. When she ended up going on Drag Race, I ended up taking that show over. I think that she has taught me so much, and is a very giving and humble person.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” airs Friday nights on VH1 (check local listings)