Within the fandom of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Jiggly Caliente has remained a fan favorite since Season Four. Returning to All Stars 6 was a full-circle moment for Jiggly, who as an out trans actress has made her mark on television on series like Pose. While her All Stars 6 journey has ended, her future on the small (and big) screen is vibrantly bright. I sat down to chat with Jiggly to talk about her All Stars 6 journey, her work on Pose and on OUTtv, and what is up next for this revolutionary performer.
Michael Cook: Jiggly, you have been a consistent fan favorite since your first appearance on Season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, so the fans hate seeing you leave early on All Stars 6. This was like an entirely new season for you, and a new Jiggly!
Jiggly Caliente: Absolutely, my season was ten years ago. Everything was so different and it was run differently also.
MC: You have sat back and seen season after season of girls that came after you, and then gotten some opportunities in your career that some of them would kill for. Now, you are thrust into a competition with them on the same level. What was that like?
JC: It was ten years ago, and was truly a brand new game. When we said ‘brand Ru game, brand Ru day” it was a different game (laughs)! The only thing that was similar was the reading challenge and the talent showcase, everything else was completely different. The second episode of All Stars is usually a girl group or a talent challenge. Nope, RuPaul said “lets set these ho’s up and make it a ball” (laughs). Then when I had to make an outfit, it was like “motherfucker”!
MC: You going home during the ball challenge was definitely ironic, especially considering your role on Pose.
JC: The irony that I am on Pose I know (laughs)! Even more ironic, I play a seamstress on Pose, so that goes to show you how good my acting really is (laughs)
MC: So many girls leave Drag Race and dive into a variety of different projects, but you have released a full length album, and had a role on a landmark television show. Do you just want to keep going post All Stars?
JC: Absolutely, I just want to keep going. For me, it is about being creative and hungry. That is one thing that learned from my mom, always be hungry for the next thing, to do bigger than what you have done before. I didn’t do an album the way a normal Ru girl does an album, I didnt release it right after my time on Drag Race, I released it literally years later. It took time for me to get a role on a television show, because I have been auditioning. You have to pay your dues and I feel like I have been dong that. that is why I am able to do what I am able to do now, I am still auditioning. To be honest, I didn’t audition for Pose as Jiggly Caliente, I auditioned under my name. They didn’t realize it was me until my callback. I don’t want to say that I am trying to be different than the other girls, but my path is mine. And I am going to make my own if I have to.
MC: Coming back to All Stars, you are someone who has made her transition public, with another trans girl on the cast, you are truly paving your own way. What is its like coming back as a fully realized trans woman now?
JC: Being trans has always been part of my story. I didn’t capitalize on it my first time around on Drag Race. I felt like my personal life and who Bianca is was totally separate from Jiggly. At the time, I felt that I could keep both worlds separate.That was before I found out how fame and this industry works; you have to put it all out there. Also, everything is on social media and out there. I didn’t necessarily have to come out, but it tells the truth of who Jiggly is; it just felt right at the time. To see Kylie walk in with me, it was like,. Thank God. There are times with Drag Race that you dont want to feel tokenized, but to have Kylie there we were not just the “token trans girls”, we were just competitors who happened to be trans. Eureka is non-binary; we walked in a as a group, it wasn’t just one girl. Also, how many queens of color are on this season?! This cast is beautifully diverse, I mean how many plus size girls are on this season alone? It was amazing to walk into that workroom.
MC: With All Stars 6 in the rearview mirror as well as Pose. what is next for you?
JC: I am going to be busy this summer thankfully. The touring and everything, that comes with being a Ru girl. I want people to stay tuned, Ginger Minj and I have season two of Wigs in A Blanket coming on OUTtv. Season two of the series Translation, that I am an Executive Producer on, is coming back on OUTtv also. Kylie Sonique Love, Peppermint and Carmen Carrera are on that one also, so stay tuned for that also. Hopefully you will also see me on the big screen, because I am starting to audition for movies now. Literally, the world is my oyster and I am going to make sure I take full advantage of it. Maybe somehow, someway there will be Drag Race Philippines and I can be one of the judges. What I really want is for me and Manila Luzon to do it; Manila could be the RuPaul and I could be the Michelle Visage!
MC: There have been so many incarnations of Jiggly Caliente, but when do you feel the most authentically yourself?
JC: I feel the most authentically myself when I am on stage. In full glam, under the lights just performing. I took that for granted and didnt realize I how much I actually loved performing until the pandemic hit, and that’s when I realized it. Yesterday I was in a show with Sasha Colby and a full trans cast. We were all diverse with different styles and I just love performing.I feel like at this stage in my career I am able to perform and do music and perform that way that I want to perform. It wasn’t like before when I was trying to be a pageant girl and had to do all this crazy shit. Now I feel like that is the one thing that Drag Race has afforded me; I am able to customize my drag and performances to who I am truly instead of me trying to conform to what people think my drag should be.
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