After a much-discussed Season 1 of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, the dolls cast for Season 2 came in fully prepared to bring it to the competition. While Spankie Jackzon might have been one of the first queens to lip sync during the season, she also found herself in the final three, with New Zealand’s Jackzon snagging the crown as ‘Down Under’s Next Drag Superstar’! I sat down with Jackzon who was still on a high from her win and we discussed at length everything from her path to Drag Race, to why not caring what people think anymore is the way she has found true freedom.
Michael Cook: You have just won Season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under. How do you feel right at this moment?
Spankie Jackzon: It’s unbelievable and beyond my wildest dreams….It feels like it was my destiny. I have kind of worked my whole life towards this point and there have always been those points where you say “this is going to happen”. To be standing here and having it actually have happened, that little boy from school is just beyond proud. I am just so honored and grateful…there are no words.
MC: Your journey was truly a roller coaster of sorts, you even did the first ‘Lip Sync of Your Life’ of the season. Your journey was so layered, and like an onion, we got to unpeel the layers of Spankie as the episodes progressed.
SJ: That’s really very kind, thank you (pauses)…sorry that makes me quite emotional. In life, we all go through our own journeys. We make mistakes and I fucked up just like any other person, I’m not perfect. I have done a lot of work on myself, when I look at my early twenties, that is the time to fuck up, make mistakes and learn from them. I agree with you, I feel like I have reached a pinnacle as a person, not just as a drag queen. I finally have come to a place where I am able to let the shit go. I don’t care what other people think. I spent my whole life as a little bit people pleaser I suppose, worried about what other people thought of me, worried about what they had to say, especially drag queens, They like to tell you that you’re useless, you’re not good enough, even through high school and stuff.
I am finally at a place where I don’t care; I’m good, I’m a great person and I just want to bring joy and laughter to the world. There is enough crap and there are enough ugly people without me being that person. I think I have finally come to a place where I am proud and happy with who I am and I am fully at peace with my previous life. In some ways, it has set me free; I am at that point where I can fly.
MC: There is truly something empowering to be at the place in your life where you can truly not care what people think.
SJ: One hundred percent. Like, I don’t care what you have to say, I didn’t ask for your opinion, but I didn’t ask for it. Thank you for telling me, but I don’t care what you think. I’m living my life, I only have one life, we all only have one life. There are so many people telling you along the way what you can and cannot do, and should and should not do, and it’s a load of crap. It’s my life and I get to choose how this turns out and live it the way that I want. It’s too bloody short and I could die tomorrow, you know? As long as I have done it the way that I want, then I have lived my life and that is all that matters to me.
MC: So many of the girls on Drag Race Down Under were newer queens, and you were a much more seasoned queen. Did you have the perspective that they had so much to learn?
SJ: No, not all all…I don’t know how I became like Ghandi, I really don’t (laughs). I think I am a really good people reader, I am great at it. It’s a skill, I don’t know how I got it, I think it’s from customer service to be fair. I am very in tune with other people and where they are in their journey. Look, I was twenty one as well, I’ve been there; I was her. The thing is, it becomes humbling in your journey of drag and I think that is the difference we are coming into with age groups. They are coming into it where it is post Drag Race. Their reference point of a famous drag queen is the Drag Race girls, it’s not RuPaul, Lily Savage, or Divine. Their time is different and I get that, but I come from a different time.
I say this all of the time, I do think we are losing an element of the culture of drag. There is a culture that has being lost through the process. Like having a drag mother. Same as the vogue houses, you have the mother and she teaches you everything and it’s not just about drag, it’s about life lessons. How to treat people, professionalism, what to do and not to do. Now you’ve got a whole bunch of queens who don’t have any of that guidance going into drag and that is why the look is so important. They don’t have the substance yet and they have not gained that skill; that is really what the difference is. I am really good at reading people so I can see where they are at in their journey, and to be honest, I think it was a little bit of an advantage. I could see where the cracks where going to come. If this has been eight years ago, would I have been ready, I don’t know. I think that my time working in childcare really is what made the difference for me in the past eight years, looking after those kids, it really did.
MC: What are your rose and thorn from your Drag Race Down Under experience?
SJ: Rose is definitely the Babz, 110% doing the girl group challenge with those two girls (Kween Kong & Hannah Conda) was just phenomenal. It was the first time when we felt completely comfortable and at peace and that we weren’t in a competition. We were just three girls making a routine, doing a show, having a good time. And we got out there and smashed it and it translated. Did we have nice outfits like the second group? No. Did they look more cohesive? Yeah they did. But what we had was chemistry and we gave you a show. So that is my rose, that and winning that is definitely a rose.
To be fair, there are no thorns. I know that sounds stupid, but I have nothing bad to say about the whole experience. The trials and tribulations are more learning opportunities and that is how I took it. I went into this to test myself, see where I am at, see what I could do and achieve, and I smashed it. Not in an arrogant way, but that was enough for me to know “babes you are good, you can do this”. It doesn’t matter what is thrown at me.
MC: Your first year after being crowned is a madcap year of opportunity and pinch-me moments. What do you want to accomplish with your newfound platform?
SJ: I want to meet the people. That is why I do this, I do it for the people. That is all I ever wanted to do was entertain; make people laugh, smile, have a good time and forget about their lives for a few minutes. The outpouring of love that I have received is honestly the most overwhelming part of this process. I never expected the one thing that I wanted to achieve from this process to actually happen; that people felt what I wanted to give. Moving forward, I want to do everything. I want to act, sing, bring some music out, but more than that I want to tour and meet the people and be able to share that love in real time, not through a screen. If I can go and do this for the rest of my life, that is the payoff for me. I finally get to live my dream.
From a kid, I wanted to be famous. It’s a running joke in my family, when I was fourteen I would say that I was going to be discovered by the time I was fourteen. Then fourteen came, then eighteen came, then thirty came (laughs). I’ve had some highlights before, but it wasn’t about getting famous; that is what you say when you’re fourteen. It’s about being respected and having people want to come see you; that is all that I’ve ever wanted. For that to come to fruition from the little boy in my bedroom at mom and dad’s dancing around..it just doesn’t happen to everybody. it just doesn’t.
MC: What would the Spankie who just won RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under tell the Spankie that walked into the competition on the first day?
SJ: I would tell her that her clothes never mattered,100 hundred percent. The thing is, I looked around that room the whole time, every time everyone got dressed. I had so many issues, it was just a nightmare for me. Living where I live I don’t have the resources or those people, I had one person make hardly any of it because they couldn’t deliver in time and I nearly pulled out. Literally a week and a half before, it was literally like, I could not go out there and embarrass myself like that, I just can’t. Something inside of me was like “you have to do this or you will never have the opportunity again. If you are embarassed you will sell it as much as you possibly fucking can”. When I went in, that was my biggest concern. I know these girls, not personally at the time, but I know this level and I know what they’re like. Look at Hannah and Kween, they’re so fucking finished. That for me has never been part of “me” at all. That kind of threw me off, not that you would see or know it because I was pretty good at hiding it, but every time I walked out on the runway, I thought I was going home. Every time I thought that I was in the bottom. And now,…I am just thrilled with how it turned out.
Follow Spankie Jackzon on Instagram