Season 12 of "RuPaul’s Drag Race" not being too far in the past, seeing Jan head back to "RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 6" might be a surprise to some.
This effervescent and talented New York City performer returned with pipes to spare and something to prove. While her All Stars 6 journey has concluded, Jan is more than ready to let the fans worldwide continue to feel the Jantasy. I sat down with Jan to chat about her controversial elimination, what it was like returning to Drag Race so soon after her own season, and if we can expect some more music from this vocally charged ingenue.
Michael Cook: Your "All Stars 6" return was somewhat close to your original Season 11 appearance in terms of timeframe. What was it like to return to the competition?
Jan: You know, it was crazy to go back. I was so excited to get the opportunity to go; in the entertainment industry, nothing is guaranteed. To be able to have the guaranteed work and some things that I want to do, being back on tv and showing off my drag, that was the reason that I went back, and I was happy about it. As far as my run on the show, there were definitely a lot of ups and downs, and definitely a lot of drama. When I look back on it, I did really well in most of the challenges and I am proud of that. I am happy with the work that I did. I am someone that likes to swing the bat, I am not just going to let the ball pass me by. Whether or not I am always hitting or missing, I am happy to be swinging.
MC: You are a thoughtful and hardworking performer. You have been accused though, of being very intense. Have you made peace with that saboteur now post-All Stars?
J: I have made peace with that for myself; whether or not everyone else gets to see it or not. I realize that I am a very polarizing drag queen and performer; you either really like me and you get it or you really don't like me and you don't get it, and that is fine either way. I have come to terms with myself and who I am as a performer. I have the respect, love and support from the people that I look up to and care about. As long as I have that from the people that surround me, that is all I care about. And that starts with me and me loving what I do. Even though some of the critiques were not easy to swallow, they were learning curves and are things that are going to help me grow.
MC: Your reaction to not winning the Madonna Ru-sical challenge is an absolute viral sensation, but many felt that you definitely should have won that challenge. Do you think that you have gotten your Ru-demption from that challenge this time around?
J: Yes! I am happy to be part of the season where that was a big theme for everyone, redemption. A lot of people got to come back and redeem things that they were lacking or things that they did not win in their original season. It was nice to be part of a season that was driven by coming back and having something to prove.
MC: Casting on All Stars always proves to be a controversial part of the Drag Race process, and everyone is vocal about the favorites that they want to see return. Is there anyone that you were shocked to not see when you walked into that workroom?
J: I really was looking forward to seeing maybe Asia O' Hara, I think she is so talented. I really wanted to see Peppermint, I think she is an incredible entertainer and I wanted to see her too.
MC: The lip sync during your elimination was filled with surprises; is the process as emotionally exhausting as it looks like it can be?
J: You know at that point, it was my third time there. I was pretty resigned to the fact that it was going to be drama and dramatics regardless. I had made peace with myself with whether I was going to stay or whether I was going to go. How it happened is the penultimate of how my season went; drama, lots of ups and downs, lots of twists, and lots of curves. Of course it happened that way, and of course it was dramatic. That's me, baby!
MC: You have been releasing music and your new video for "(Put Your) Gay Hands Up" is like a gay pride celebration every time we watch it; it was such a production and a true event! What made you want to release such a large full-scale production?
J: You know, me and my friends Nick Laughlin who really wrote and came up with the melody and our producer SIX FOOT FIVE, Nick was the one from October of 2019 who had this idea. He said it was going to be so good, everyone will love it, and that we needed to do it. In 2020, we were thinking about doing it and knew that the song would even be good the year after. We wanted to wait until COVID had started to clear up so we could all enjoy it and dance to it. I think the song is very much a representation of what I like to do in the community; I like to make people dance, I like to make people feel good and to have legends like Peppermint and Alaska, along with working with Nick and Six Foot Five, I am so lucky that people received it so positively and are dancing and smiling. I think we can all use a little bit of love in this world; things have been a little intense and I am just happy to do that and celebrate the queer community.
MC: Can we expect more music from Jan?
J: Definitely, definitely more music coming. Yes, that will not be in short supply; many projects I am working on!
MC: Now that we are all slowly emerging into life, what do you think you have taken from the past two years? Your life has truly changed becoming a "RuPaul's Drag Race" favorite.
J: I think what I am taking from it is to enjoy the ride a little bit more. Love what I do and I won my Ru-sical challenge on my five-year anniversary of doing drag, so I am very much a person that thinks the signs will come to you and things will align how they are supposed to. Getting signs from the universe that you are on the right track and all that. It has been intense, especially this All-Stars season. I think what I can take from this is that I love to do this. I feel that I am in the right place at the right time and I should keep on the path that I am going on and to just trust myself. It has gotten me to the places that I have gotten in five years, and my resume is shaping up to be something that I am really proud of. As long as I am proud of that, that is what matters. I will ignore any of the doubts that I have and stick to my wits and embracing the love that I have for it more than the feeling that I need to be successful. The success will come as long as I am enjoying myself.
Check out the other interviews at All Stars 6 homepage.