Jujubee headlines 2013 Vanderbilt Lambda Drag Show
She may not have gotten the title but Jujubee, season two fan favorite from RuPaul's Drag Race, is a winner in everyone's books. Not only did the queen snatch second runner-up during her season, but she was also invited back as a guest professor on the Logo hit RuPaul's Drag U and worked her way into the finals of RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race, where she once again took second runner-up. The pint-sized powerhouse performs at Vanderbilt University's Lambda show on October 17 (free and open to the public) before taking the stage at Play Dance Bar. O&AN caught up with Jujubee and chatted about, southern hospitality, life after RuPaul and life after SCOTUS for her and her fiancé.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with Out & About before your LAMBDA show at Vanderbilt University. Have you performed in Nashville often or spent much time in the South?
Thank you so much for having me! This is my second time performing for Vanderbilt and I love it here! The students and people in Nashville have such great energy! Their excitement makes me so happy. I've been to the south many times with work and I have to say that southern hospitality is like no other! Don't even get me started on the food.
Jujubee, your appearances on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 2 and Drag Race All-Stars must have brought you lots of opportunities like this benefit to support causes you believe in. Has your celebrity changed the ways you look at giving back to the world?
I am so thankful for the opportunities RuPaul, World of Wonder and Logo have given me. It has been an incredible time. I feel so blessed that I get to do what I love. I believe in giving back no matter what situation one is in. I am very passionate about performing and life itself. Being able to pay it forward in any way is definitely something I find fulfilling.
One of the things I love to ask former Drag Racer’s about is how they responded to the isolation while in Ru’s “captivity” while shooting the show. Drag is such a collaborative art for most performers, I’ve often heard being stuck without friends, phone, Internet or even much contact amongst contestants is an unexpected challenge. You’ve done it twice now. What has that been like for you?
I was more mentally prepared for RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars. Before competing for RuPaul's Drag Race Season 2, I didn't know what to expect. Being without any contact with my family, friends and my now, fiancé was very difficult. I kept myself focused on the prize and challenges. As contestants, we collectively worked so hard. Although we were naturally against each other there was a bond between us. Who else gets a chance to live out their dreams in front of the world? It was magic! I did miss my little buddy, Mister the most! He's my cat.
You are on the road nearly constantly and traveling all around the world. How have your experiences seeing a vast range of other artists and exposure to new cultures changed your performance style or approach to the character of Jujubee?
I think that Jujubee as a character is always evolving. Drag is such an open concept that anything is possible. Experiencing life in different parts of the world has let me be curious about everything, including my drag. I am still changing and growing as a human being. I could never let myself be so ignorant as to not be open to change for the better.
This past year has seen historical advances in LGBT causes. Since the first brick was thrown at Stonewall through the AIDS crisis and still today, drag queens have been an integral part of bringing awareness to and raising funds for the progression of equality. How have you personally and professionally experienced the slow move toward acceptance and civil rights for the community?
Every human being wants to be accepted and be treated fairly. As an American, I set forth to show people that everyone should have the right to be themselves. As a human being, I don't see a difference in color or gender roles.
Living in Boston, Massachusetts, I am lucky to be able to step outside my door a see the world as it is. There are so many different types of people from all over the world living amongst one another civilly.
As a Drag Queen, I'm looked at a little differently even within our own gay community. My voice is a little louder when I'm in drag. I don't why it is this way, but it is and I won't stop. I will fight for human rights and equality until we can all say that we feel whole. Right now, I am engaged to my fiancé Chris. We've been together for almost 8 years. He served 20 years in the Navy and loves America as much as I do. When we finally get married, I unfortunately won't be recognized as his spouse because we are a same-sex couple (according to the Office of Veteran's Affairs) That means I wouldn't be able to fall under his health insurance. Even though DOMA was finally struck down, there is something else to fight for. It seems almost endless, but we can't give up. I will always fight for my LGBTQ brothers and sisters.
photo credit: Jose A Guzman Colon Photography