For the third week on the trot, a strong contender for the Drag Race UK vs the World crown has exited the competition. With two maxi-challenge wins under her belt, as well as a “coveted” gold RuPeter Badge, Drag Race Holland runner-up Janey Jacké was destined – we repeat, destined – for a spot in that final four.
Sadly, the sole representative of Dutch drag was given the boot on this week’s episode after the top five contestants – also comprising of Baga Chipz, Blu Hydrangea, Jujubee and Mo Heart – wrote, recorded and performed their own version of RuPaul’s “smash hit” London, whilst paying tribute to their hometowns. Alongside Baga and Blu, Janey faced elimination and, despite boasting more challenge wins than the rest of her sisters, was chopped by Juju.
Although Janey isn’t “sour” about her elimination, as we saw from her graceful exit, the star has her thoughts on why the long-running fan-favourite chose to send her home. “I saved her once and I chose her lipstick once, so she could be like, ‘She chose my lipstick the last time, I’m just gonna cut her out,'” Janey tells GAY TIMES, before explaining how her formidable lip-sync skills led to her downfall.
“I think it’s also about looking at what’s coming – the same views that Blu had. ‘I wanna win this competition. We’re gonna have lip-syncs in the finale and I can win easier against Baga than I can do against Janey. Janey is a strong lip-syncer, strong dancer, so if I get rid of her right now, then I have a bigger shot at winning this competition.'”
We caught up with Janey after her exit to discuss her “beautiful and distressing” experience on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs the World, why she loved seeing her sisters ‘talk shit’ about her in their confessionals and who she wants to be crowned the first ever ‘Queen of the Mothertucking World.’
Janey, your arm movements during that Vengaboys lip-sync was pure art.
[Deploys aforementioned arm movements] It became one of those moments, right? I think it’s one of the greatest lip-syncs of the season, it’s so fun seeing everybody doing it online.
You didn’t even win the lip-sync, but it’s become a meme, it’s gone viral. I sometimes just do it in the kitchen…
It’s not even the original choreography, but they just have to adapt it now. They have to be like, ‘This is it.’
This is all I want to see you do on stage.
That’s the thing! I was doing shows, doing this whole choreography moment, all these fun things, and I saw people looking at me the whole time and I was like, ‘Ya’ll just want me to do this, right?’ They went, ‘Yeah basically.’
It’s a bloody good arm workout. I can only do it for a couple seconds and then I’m absolutely knackered.
Oh my god, my arm has been hurting for like two days. It’s crazy.
Let’s talk about your elimination. You took it so well. It was one of the most graceful exits I’ve ever seen on the show. What was going through your mind at the time?
I remember Snatch Game, the previous episode, I was so not proud of myself and I was really ready to go home. Obviously, we had that really shocking elimination with Blu Hydrangea and Pangina, so I was just really grateful to be there, period. Then, I realised the girls were playing the game. I felt very happy, satisfied and proud of myself. There are moments when I look back at the show when I can tell, because I did two seasons so shortly after each other, that I was so focused on being professional and impressing everybody. I was like, ‘Janey, just let the fuck go and have a good time!’ But at that moment, I was so proud and grateful and satisfied with my journey and my accomplishments on the show – and so proud of my sisters for doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Not bitter at all. Not angry at all. Just grateful.
You did incredibly well this season with two maxi-challenge wins, more than any of the top four. How long did it take you to come to terms with your exit?
I think you just have to accept the fact that you’re not gonna win the season, which is apparently a reoccurring theme for me! Jujubee taught me, she said, ‘When you don’t win a season or something you’ve prepared for so long, it just means there’s no ending to your story, and there will be so much more than just that.’ So, it wasn’t hard coming to terms with my elimination. Like I said, I just take every moment as it is and as it comes, and the whole adventure in total was such a beautiful experience for me that I still look back at with so much joy and happiness and pride. No bitterness, no sourness at all. I know the fans love it when you’re sour and crazy about it, but I was just really satisfied.
If Jujubee’s taught us anything, it’s that, even after your second time competing, it’s not the end of your Drag Race journey. You can come back a third, fourth, fifth, sixth time…
Right? You can keep on coming back! Although I have to tell everybody: just give me a couple years! Let me just breathe a little bit before I come back again.
You deserve a goddamn break Janey Jacké.
Babes. Babes, I do. It’s not easy! A lot of people forget how tough it is doing this show. We do it for the entertainment of other people, and sometimes they forget that. We do it for the audience, not just for ourselves – especially when they go into crazy comments and stuff. Guys, we do it to entertain you. This is part of your entertainment, just be happy we’re doing it.
I was quite surprised that Juju gave you the chop. Upon reflection, why do you think she sent you home?
You can look at it from so many different sides. I saved her once and I chose her lipstick once, so she could be like, ‘She chose my lipstick the last time, I’m just gonna cut her out.’ I think, really, that it’s also about looking at what’s coming – the same views that Blu had. ‘I wanna win this competition. We’re gonna have lip-syncs in the finale and I can win easier against Baga than I can do against Janey. Janey is a strong lip-syncer, strong dancer, so if I get rid of her right now, then I have a bigger shot at winning this competition.’
If you got to the top four and you just did this [deploys arm movements once again] in every lip-sync, you would have had that crown.
Period. I’m gonna call Ru right now and be like, ‘Baby, I made that season with the whole floppy arm thing, just give me another badge!’
Mo really underestimated you in the competition, which confused me because you annihilated Holland season one – runner up, two maxi-challenges. Why do you think this was? Did she even watch your season?
She never watched my season. I know for a fact. They didn’t air it, but I had to introduce myself on day one. She did not know my name, which was like… Okay, that’s how we started off. It’s fine. ‘I look up to you. To me, you’re a legend. There are so many fun things about you, I know all of your catchphrases.’ She had no idea, which was okay. So, she underestimated me. But when I won episode two and I got into the top again, she also told me, ‘Babe that’s the only way to do it, going from the bottom to the top.’ It’s hard proving yourself to all of these people when they have no clue who you are. At the same time, I took home a badge, I was in the top two times, she was in the top once… No badge in the finale. Should I care what she thinks? I don’t think so. It’s fine. I’m happy that she melted a little bit around me, but at the same time if you’re not interested then I can’t help you girl.
Never underestimate Janey Jacké.
But also never underestimate the Dutch! I know we’re a tiny little ass country, but we have some strong fierce ass people living there and all over the world. Not just television, but in music. A lot of talent, especially in drag, and we’re here for it babe.
Holland season one is, in my opinion, one of the strongest seasons in Drag Race herstory. There’s so much incredible talent. In your personal experience, has being on UK vs the World introduced Drag Race Holland to more viewers?
I think that, because of me, they are starting to get interested in watching Drag Race Holland. It won’t be easy, obviously, because of the translation but I think they are really interested now in finding out about Dutch culture and the Dutch queens, and embracing that language barrier.
You were the last country standing other than US and UK, and you were the only Dutch queen on the series. So, how did it feel being the sole representative of Holland?
It put a little bit of a pressure there, to be the sole representative of a country. But at the same time, I knew I was gonna make my country so proud. Today, I know how proud my country is of me and how supportive they are. It puts a little bit of pressure there, but it wasn’t scary and I knew I was going to make them proud regardless of what I was doing. It is harder when you walk into a room where… And this is really what Pangina and I felt the first day, when you’re the sole representative of a country, and there are so many other queens from different countries. They have allies, they have friends, they have people to talk to. That’s why me and Pangina bonded so well in the beginning. We were like, ‘We’re on our own, let’s support each other a little bit.’ Obviously, that saved my ass. Thank god! I was just really hoping to make them proud and I did, and that’s all you can hope for.
It didn’t feel like yours and Pangina’s relationship, the relationship we see on social media, was properly reflected on the show…
Jonathan Bailey is mine. She can just… fuck off.
It’s so sad to see how a man has torn you apart.
But, it’s Jonathan Bailey…
The thing with the show in general is, you feel so many things in so many hours in a day. There is an edit, and you have to put it in an hour – or hour and 15 minutes – so you’re gonna miss these moments. You’re gonna have moments where you’re like, ‘Oh my god, I wish they aired this,’ and that’s the same for me. I see myself in such a hard focus, being professional and wanting to step up my game and make everyone so proud. I was like, ‘Baby, sometimes you need to let it go. Have fun and smile a bit more.’ But I knew I had a great time with the girls and I know there are so many fun moments and giggles. Sometimes you just don’t get the edit, and the friendship between me and Pangina… It doesn’t matter if it’s in the show, it’s in our hearts. I know that we truly love each other, and we’re in touch all the time. That’s more important than just seeing it in the show.
This was your first time being judged by RuPaul and Michelle Visage. Did it live up to your expectations?
Oh yeah, 100 per cent. They asked me before I started doing the show, ‘Are you scared of Ru?’ and I said, ‘I think I should be more scared of Michelle!’ In fact, it’s a little bit true. Michelle is a little more in-depth and truthful about things, and Ru is honest but appreciates what you’re doing. He’ll tell you if he gets what you’re doing or not, and then he’ll just give you general advice of how to approach a situation, which is exactly what the challenges give you – the moments he’s been through in life and how you’re gonna deal with the same situations, meaning acting, singing, doing all of that. I loved it. I loved how I got Michelle to love the colour green… There we go.
That’s quite the achievement.
Right? That is an achievement. I think that’s why I was happy to go. I was just like, ‘You know what? That’s it. We’ve achieved that.’ It’s a lot of knowledge, it’s a lot of happiness and fun – and you get it for free. There are so many things that [RuPaul] says that puts a lightbulb in your head. And that is an amazing thing to take home from the show.
Each week, viewers have been gagged and gooped due to the twists and turns. It has been a controversial season because the eliminations have been… debatable. But, we didn’t live it. You lived it. So, what was it like watching all of this play out in front of you?
When you look back at something you’ve done you go, ‘What the fuck was I thinking?’ But, you have to look back at yourself to see that you’re growing. Filming the show and seeing it a year later, you’re going through it again. It’s beautiful and distressing at the same time – especially Pangina’s elimination. It was really intense in real life. It was one of those eliminations where it just switched. It clicked for us. We’re all human, we all have a dream and this purpose for being here. It just shatters in front of you, and it’s rough. What I loved the most about seeing the show back is the opinions of my sisters in their confessionals and the shit they talk about you behind your back. I loved that the most. I had the best time with it, it’s hilarious. I found out that I’m not Baga’s favourite drag queen? There we go!
Well, what can you do?
[Laughs] Good to know!
Other than Baga’s opinion about you, what surprised you the most in the confessionals?
Maybe the shady ways people were thinking or playing, the alliances that were made in conversations, especially the last elimination where Mo and Blu had an agreement going on that we don’t know shit about! I’m either in another conversation or just chilling on the couch. So, those moments are the fun parts. Also, just their jokes. We take the piss out of each other anyway, it’s great entertainment.
As we saw this episode, you aren’t a… vocalist. But, with some autotune, you can sound like a Grammy Award-winning superstar. So tell me, when is your debut album coming?!
My single is dropping on Friday! There we go. It’s a collaboration with a fabulous, international renowned DJ called Lady B, who is very famous in Holland as well. Our new single is called Turned Heads. I will send you the links and everything! But yeah, it was my first time. It was a shaky experience. Jade [Thirlwall] was really nice and shady, which I loved. It helped me develop that a little bit more, and now, I’m ready to show off what my vocals have been doing the last year. It’s a really good, classic house banger that everybody is going to love.
Other than the song, what’s next for Janey Jacké?
I will be touring a lot, meeting a lot of my fans – especially all over Europe, the UK and the US. Of course, we’re doing DragCon. I have so many fun projects coming out. The single that’s coming out on Friday will be part of an EP, so there’s going to be a lot more music from me as well. Just keep an eye on me. People are sleeping on me. You have no clue what’s coming…
Finally, who do you want to take home the crown?
Ahh… It’s hard to say, because I think that all four of them have something really special to offer this crown and something really inspiring, no matter what country they’re from. If I look back at previous seasons, journeys, growth and elevation, I think I would want Blu Hydrangea to bring this crown back to Ireland.
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs the World episode 5 is now available to stream on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer.