Always unpredictable but always welcome, Jimbo added a much needed degree of both hilarious levity and standout talent on the inaugural season of UK vs. The World. While her competitors were debating which Drag Race superstar they would pick off first, this Canada’s Drag Race alumni was coming up with madcap and inventive runway looks and letting the world fall in love with her own version of being a “clown”. I sat down to chat with Jimbo post elimination and we talked about everything from those interesting eliminations, being part of this once in a lifetime global cast of icons, and what made a little boy who loved sparkle decide entertain the masses with his own distinct brand of hilarity.
Michael Cook: What did it feel like to be considered a “global superstar” and be competing against literal RuPaul’s Drag Race legends on UK vs The World?
Jimbo: It was so, so cool. Just entering into my wildest dream come true. I am a huge fan of drag, of Drag Race, and of all of the girls on this show. It was so amazing to be counted as one amongst them, to be handpicked by my icon, the legend RuPaul herself, and to be brought to a foreign county to compete is what is truly the “Olympics of Drag”. I am not a sporty person-although I am friends with one Olympian, Tom Daley-but this is my Olympics. I may not have won gold, but I certainly feel like gold right now.
MC: As a performer, Jimbo is truly larger than life and in many ways, you are like walking animation of sorts. Did you feel that that was something that threatened your competitors? You are definitely wonderfully unpredictable, which is part of what makes Jimbo so magical…
J:I hope that it helped inspire them to be a little bit more free and a little bit more sharing. That is what it is, clowning is about taking those emotions in that particular moment and sharing them with your audience. That is really what I did, really be present in the moment and existed in what was happening, and try to share that. The clown is really about bigger and more; it is really about taking those feelings and emotions that you are feeling in that time, amping it up and sharing it with your audience. I really hope that the girls and future girls really take advantage of the fact that it is a television show, and it is all of those things, but it is also a lot of fun and it is supposed to be entertaining. So wipe that frown upside down, shake your tits, and have a good time. Because people want to see you having the best time.
MC: Your season of Canada’s Drag Race was the first, and the eliminations were the more traditional way of seeing girls leave the competition. Was it shocking for your second Drag Race run to be now eliminating Drag Race icons with the now-famed All Stars rules?
J: I do think that getting the there competitors to eliminate each other it provides a lot of drama internally. I do think though, that it is a little bit distracting from the actual experience on the show and the ability to really show your best self. A lot of the time you are backpedaling and dealing with the social aspects of what comes from doing that to each other. Whereas in a typical competition, there are the judges and the judges are the ones making the decisions based on your actual work in the competition. I would have loved a little more weight on the judges critiques and a little bit less on the social experiments. I definitely do see the entertainment in pitting drag queens against each other in a high stakes competition though, and I just wish that the girls had a little bit more of a sense of humor about the whole scenario, rather than taking it so seriously.
I feel like they tried to make it sound like I was a total bad guy/villain for pulling one of two lipsticks. There are only two choices and someone was going to be pissed either way. I just think that it came from their inexperience and the fact that none of them were pulling lipsticks, so they had no idea what the pressure feels like. Of course, it is easy for them to say “Oh I would have done this or X,Y, & Z” because Jujubee is still in the room. But these shady hoes, if Jujubee had gone home, they would have all come forward about why Jujubee should have gone home and all that. I just wish that they just more of a sense of humor, but it made for some really funny tv. It made me sweat and when the clown is put into the shit, it really is a gift. You really just try to make people laugh and I tried to make it as comedic as possible, the fact that I tried to vote off Jujubee.
MC: Jimbo, you are becoming one of the truest “thirst traps” of the season, as this is many fans’ first exposure to you, both in and out of drag. What does that feel like be getting so much attention suddenly?
J: Oh my God, I didn’t know that! That is so amazing; life is happening so fast and I don’t always get time to really look back and to really absorb it all. I think what really helps me stay grounded is that I am focused on my art, being in the moment, and being present with the people that I am around wherever I am. I am just so grateful to hear that and so grateful for the love. That really just fuels me to keep trying to make people laugh, touring around the world, meeting my fans, spreading love and getting to know everybody. My greatest dream is to have friends around the world and that now that dream has come true, and I am just so grateful.
MC: Now that you are a “global phenomenon” what is next for Jimbo?
J: I would love to be on some sort of sketch comedy show. I have been trying to get my own show going, The House of Jimbo, which I am still working on. I would love to be on tv shows, I would love to be on theater, and I would love to just perform as many places for as many people as possible. I have an album coming up, I am working on my live music, and I am working on a record deal. I am also a designer, so I am working on my own clothing brand. I am just a businesswoman, so I am just trying to take advantage of this platform out there and get my art out there in as many ways as possible.
MC: Performers like you seem to gain influence from so many different people and aspects of the world. What is the one thing that you saw that you looked at that made you say “I want to do that”?
J: I think that really, as a young boy, having so many things inside me that were different than what I was told were acceptable as a young boy. All the things that I loved that were sparkly, shiny, and glittery or girly. Seeing RuPaul and then knowing that RuPaul was a man; that tripped me right out. That this person was somehow able to live their life but also to enjoy all of these beautiful and feminine things that I was taught at the time were not for me. I remember at the time that being a huge turning point. I didn’t necessarily know that’s what I wanted for me, but I remember seeing that person be celebrated and successful, and having a part and a place in entertainment. I just wanted that for myself to; I wanted to love the things that I loved, and to be celebrated for those things. As opposed to growing up, the things that I loved I was taught were bad. If I loved it, it was usually taken away and I was told that I was being girly or a little f*g or all of those horrible things.
Being a clown really taught me that the world and the audience are really on your side. Those people that tried to hold you down or put you away didn’t realize that you were actually a seed. And I have grown into a beautiful tree full of self-expression and self love and my dream is to just continue to do that and to inspire other people to realize that they are seeds too. If you are pushed down and thumbed down, you can grow and you can become an amazing version of yourself.
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