As we eagerly anticipate the upcoming season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, we are slowly pulling the curtain back on some of the queens from this season and getting to know them a bit better. While each of them bring their own distinct talent and dazzling personality to the workroom, we all want to know more about some of our soon-to-be fan favorite dolls. I sat down with each of the new competitors from Season 13 (in groups of 3-4) recently to get to know the people behind the entertainers.
This Phoenix, AZ queen plays with gender both in and out of drag, and takes the constructs of what “makes” drag and turns it on its ear. A drag queen not donning a wig can be a risky choice, but Jay has the talent and the drive to make her fashion choices take a back seat to her performances. It should be interesting to see how this one of a kind queen fits in with her eclectic competitors.
Michael Cook: Joey they are calling you “the trade of the season”. How does it feel?
Joey Jay: It is so wild, I am not like, football player jock. I am not manly, I am not a jock, and I am not that muscular. I am a sissy, and a little gay boy. It’s so cool that people are embracing this gay boy and putting it on a pedestal; its really nice to see.
MC: You are unconventional and you have a lot of looks that are not typical to what “standard” drag is. Are you happy to be able to present your drag on such a large platform now and show fans that?
JJ: Oh My God, fuck yes. Drag is an art, and there are different ways to do it well and different techniques. As long as you are creating your art and you are making yourself happy, that is all you need. For someone to tear you down because your drag is different, that is my biggest platform right now. I do what I want because I pay my own bills, I do my drag for me, I don’t not for you. Your drag is yours, and mine is mine.
As one of the queens who has been buzzed about being a part of RuPaul’s Drag Race for years (and coming direct from The Haus of Aja) Kandy Muse enters the Drag Race workroom with family ties and the opportunity to put her own stamp on the competition. Her already-released first lip-sync of the season is already gaining meme status, so it’s a safe bet that Kandy Muse will be one to watch this season.
MC: Kandy Muse, many people have waited for quite some time for you to be cast on RuPaul’s Drag Race. As someone who is a very prominent name in New York City, is it hard to come in with such a strong pedigreee yourself?
KM: I will say, before getting cast on the show I would go to a bar and people would ask when Drag Race was happening. I used to say “ask RuPaul it’s beyond my control.” As for being cast on the show at first I was nervous because there was so much pressure, especially coming from a Drag Race family and everyone expecting all of these great things and having high hopes. Once being there and getting used to the cameras, the lights, the girls, and everything you kind of blur out the outside world. All that pressure from the outside world did not matter. To me, I was in the same competition with the rest of the girls and we were on the same playing field. All of those instagram followers and all of the New York City fame did not matter in the competition. We are all being treated equally; some days you have good days, some days you have bad ones. I wanted to have a good time and show the best “me” that I could possibly show.
MC: You come from the Haus of Aja. What advice did you get from your mother Aja and your sister Dahlia Sin?
KM: Well, Aja told me to just be myself and to have a good time, she has done it twice already. Dahlia told me to go home first and keep the family trend going (laughs)!
This New York City queen (by way of New Jersey) is newer to the game, but is seasoned beyond her years. Her inspiration comes from classic styles and Old Hollywood, and her mega-watt smile is bound to charm the judges. It should be interesting to see how this emerging queen matches up with some of her more veteran competitors.
MC: Olivia Lux, welcome to RuPaul’s Drag Race! You are a New York City queen via New Jersey. Jersey does not get a ton of representation on Drag Race; what does it feel like to be representing for New York and New Jersey?
OL: I am so excited to represent New Jersey. As a little gay boy in Jersey and going to school in Jersey and having my first experiences with gay nightlife at these Jersey bars, seeing these amazing queens like Pissi Myles, Octavia Onyae, Harmonica Sunbeam, these amazing girls that in my opinion don’t get the recognition that they deserve.To see those really amazing artists that inspired me to start drag, for me to represent that entire state on the biggest stage in the world is so amazing. I am definitely doing it for them as well.
I moved to Brooklyn and a lot of us that currently live in big cities are all from somewhere; we all come from somewhere. There are very few that are born and raised in New York City. That is also important, a lot of us may be from or currently living in a big city, but we are currently from these places that make us who we are as artists. That is our origin. I am excited to rep Jersey as well!
MC: You are a queen with a myriad of talents. You are, among other things, a trained pianist. Are you looking forward to be able to showcase that talent also?
OL: Thank you so much for acknowledging that. I think my piano playing is something that I love to integrate into drag, and for the longest time, I didn’t think those two worlds could live together. I am definitely one that is all for, if you have a love or a passion that is not directly correlating into drag, who says that they cannot live together? I love playing the piano and think it is so much fun, but don’t get me wrong I can still twirl and twist with the rest of the girls!
MC: Once you find out you are cast on RuPaul’s Drag Race, what is it like the moment you find out you are cast?
KM: For me, once I got the call, I obviously had to tell my mother and my best friend was actually in the room with me. Besides those two, I knew I could not tell anyone. Getting ready for the show without saying you are going to the show while in the middle of a pandemic was a little difficult. It is the hardest secret to keep because you want to shout from the rooftops “Yes I am on Drag Race!”-but you can’t do that. It was also easy in New York to tell because since the fabric stores are closed, you walking into a fabric store and seeing someone and saying “what are you doing here”?
OL: If I had a dollar for every time I told a designer that I am doing “an exciting project” so they got the idea to help me out..(laughs). I was newer, so it was not really on anyone’s radar for me. I was reaching out and trying to get my resources together for the show and realizing that these people may not even know me. A lot of designers once it was announced that I worked really close with to put together my package were telling me that they had no idea and congratulating me. It is so wild! Once we got the call, it was so hard. Everything was still closed so when you went to the garment district you had to go into a back alley, knock on the door, say the magic password to get into these places. So when you saw these girls you knew they really needed that bolt of fabric!
JJ: It was definitely so hard to keep a secret, but at the same time, everything was in lockdown and there were no shows so it was perfect. It was harder to tell who would dissapear also. When thirteen or fourteen queens disappear from their shows its easy to figure out, so that was another hidden layer. Right when I found out, we had gotten to a friends AirBnB for their birthday, and they all watch the show. I stepped outside, got the news, cried and called my mom, and had to go into this house for a whole weekend with Drag Race fans and had to keep my mouth shut.
MC: What quote or mantra do you each use to live you life by?
KM: What I use is a RuPaul quote. “Other people’s opinions of me are none of my motherfucking business”. I can only give you what I have to offer and you either enjoy it of you don’t. It is not human nature to be everyone’s cut of tea so I understand that. I can’t be so hard on myself if fifty or a hundred people people don’t like me. I live my life freely and if you like it great and if you don’t, that’s too bad. There are twelve other queens in the cast, have a great time.
OL: I like to live by the quote “believe in yourself as I believe in you”. It’s a quote from The Wiz, which is essentially the black Wizard Of Oz & Lena Horne played Glina the Good Witch. I really like that quote, because I say it to myself, reminding myself that I do believe in what I can do. It’s a friendly reminder…what did you even start this? It is something that rings true and resonates with me and it’s something that I live by now.
JJ: I said one in my Meet The Queens video and it’s so true; “the people that talk behind your back are behind you”. Just be you and surround yourself with things you like and people you love, and hate will never even touch you.
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Season 13 premieres this Friday January 1st on VH1 (check local listings)