After nine weeks of chomping on sandwiches and stomping down the runway in her self-proclaimed “slutty” drag clown couture, Jimbo sadly sashayed away from Canada’s Drag Race in fourth place last week, leaving her hardcore stans (and there are many) with a resounding, “WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?” and “FUCK YOU!”
In the penultimate episode, the Ontario-born costume designer left the judges – including guest panellist Michelle Visage – with cold feet over her winter-inspired ball challenge looks, and although it was her first time competing in a lip-sync smackdown, she was unable to conquer over Rita Baga for a spot in the final. “I feel like such a winner,” Jimbo tells GAY TIMES. “I’ve won in so many other ways, just being on the show, being seen, being celebrated and the opportunity to connect to so many people and share my story. Those are all incredible wins that are irreplaceable. There’s lots of crowns out there. Mine’s in the mail right now!”
One day I’ll win something, somewhere!
Thanks to her quick wit, unconventional approach to comedy and penchant for Cock Destroyer-esque breastplates, Jimbo has soared over her competitors to become the most popular Canada’s Drag Race queen on Instagram, with over 200,000 followers (as of writing). Here, we chat with the star about her controversial elimination, being catapulted into the pop culture zeitgeist during a global pandemic and the recent social media controversy that forced Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman to deactivate his Twitter.
Jimbo, that exit was iconic.
Thank you! Yes. You know, that’s a lifelong dream, and rarely do you ever have the need to fall to your knees and scream like that. That was pretty much the only time in my life that it’s actually made sense. It came over me and yeah, it just happened in that way!
Do you think you deserved to be in the bottom this week?
Erm, absolutely not! Definitely not. But I guess no one really deserves anything. It’s all just twists of fate and you know, some powers-that-be somewhere said, ‘You’re not ready yet!’ One day I’ll win something, somewhere!
Like you said, everyone’s a winner in the multiverse!
Yeah, exactly. I feel like such a winner. I’ve won in so many other ways, just being on the show, being seen, being celebrated and the opportunity to connect to so many people and share my story. Those are all incredible wins that are irreplaceable. There’s lots of crowns out there. Mine’s in the mail right now.
Do you think things would have gone differently if you weren’t concerned about your head piece in the lip sync?
Definitely, yeah. That whole look I felt very proud of. I just wish that I had hemmed my dress, not worn those boots and not made such a huge giant crown. There were certain forces on my side for sure… up to a point. That’s just life, I guess. You head down a road and you get to the end of the road, and there’s a cliff, and then you hop off of it and that’s the end of that.
What a look to sashay away on though? It was Jimbo meets White Walker.
Thank you! I wanted to reference my promo look. I wanted to reference the Queen of the North and because that character and that vibe hadn’t really been brought into the competition. It’s just kind of ironic that it’s the look and vibe I go home in, which is the look and vibe I was introduced to the world in! It’s a weird, full circle thing and I felt so beautiful. I was so proud of what I made and at the end of the day, I should have hid a different costume underneath there so I could have ripped it all off and sprung out and done a crazy little show.
I wish I could have been cuter. I wish I could have been kinder and more pageant-like and said, ‘Oh yes, thank you Rita for that thoughtful comment.’ Instead, I was a hideous bitch and tried to kill her.
What was it like to be critiqued by Michelle Visage?
That was really out of body. At many points in the competition, you’re trying your hardest to be on the show and in the show and at the same time your brain is like, ‘Oh my god, you’re on Drag Race. Oh my god, look at all this stuff.’ It was the same with Michelle. Part of you is a fangirl and you’re like, ‘There’s the legend and the icon!’ and then also like, ‘Don’t love her too much because you have to be on your game!’ So, it was really hard to walk down that runway and see her and not think, ‘HOLY SHIT! THAT’S MICHELLE VISAGE!’
You’ve given us some really iconic moments this season, including that back-and-forth with Rita Baga in the werkroom over your shade of makeup. Please… tell me what was going through your head at the time?
My god, I was just exhausted and so frustrated. The funny thing about the competition is that every girl thinks she’s going to win. We’re all just so sure about what we’re doing and what we’re presenting and so, for me, my journey was like many other times in my life – not always understood. My journey hasn’t always been easy. It hasn’t been like, ‘Oh yes, we see you and we love you and everything you do is wonderful.’ It’s often the weirdo and the people that are strange and doing something new that are questioned and misunderstood. I was frustrated by not being seen in certain moments that I felt were really strong. Rita is such a strong competitor and someone I admire as well, so in that moment I was feeling so confused, exhausted and vulnerable. When she said, ‘Did you mean to look so old?’ it was like… there is no answer to that question! I’m not going to go, ‘Oh yeah, I did actually! All that time in the mirror, do I look 100 yet?’ I literally wanted to murder her! I was like, ‘What kind of question is that?’ Then on top of that I was like, ‘What the hell is on your goddamn head?’ That’s where that came from. I wish I could have been cuter. I wish I could have been kinder and more pageant-like and said, ‘Oh yes, thank you Rita for that thoughtful comment.’ Instead, I was a hideous bitch and tried to kill her.
But sometimes when you’re a “hideous bitch” on this show, it will live on forever. Take Aja’s Linda Evangelista speech, for example.
Exactly! I gave the children what they wanted.
When I spoke to Ilona and Lemon, they said the whole cast made a pact to watch out for each other on social media. Was this important for you all to do? To have a united front against the haters online?
Yes, definitely. The whole premise of the show is to introduce these queens that don’t know each other, and then you want us to get to know each other and have this experience together. There’s different tensions that arise and different dynamics, but at the end of the day, we’re all sisters and everything happens so quickly on the show. You don’t have a lot of time to dwell or really let it get that deep, so whenever there was a moment with another queen, it was very brief, and we always made up right after. We wanted to let the fans know that that’s where the story ends, and there’s a lot of love and joy – which is the most important thing to focus on. These little spits and spats, these are just drag queens being drag queens! It’s for the TV. It’s meant to make people laugh and show that we are in it to win it, that the stakes are high and that we take what we do very seriously. We want to celebrate love and we’re going to stick together and remind fans that we all just want to love each other. Let’s spread the love and focus on the positive.
When you were filming the show, did you expect the judging panel to receive a brunt of the backlash?
No. At the time when it was all happening, it definitely felt intense to be up there and to be critiqued and all of those things, but I never thought the fans would respond in the way that they did. It’s amazing that there’s so much passion, and the show has connected so deeply with so many people, but I don’t think any of us anticipated the level to which people would be writing their disagreements online and how they’re disappointed with the way the judging went. It’s been this really crazy pile on and I feel bad for the way it’s gone for some of the people on the show. This is their dream and it was exciting for them to share their love of drag, and it’s been hard for those who have received a lot of hate in the face of so much joy and love. I hope there’s enough messaging going out to the fans that people really take that to heart. These are real people with real feelings.
These little spits and spats, these are just drag queens being drag queens! It’s for the TV. It’s meant to make people laugh and show that we are in it to win it, that the stakes are high and that we take what we do very seriously.
You’ve become one of the most beloved contestants this series, and with that, comes a passionate fanbase. How did it feel for you to see fans battling in your corner, objecting to the judges’ critiques week after week?
Like I said, we all feel like we’re going to win. So, being on the stage in those looks… I didn’t walk on that stage in a losing look. I didn’t think beforehand, ‘I’m going to wear this loser outfit and kick myself down the drain.’ I really tried to win and every time I didn’t win, it was disappointing. Of course, you want your fans to see you, relate to you and say, ‘I see what you did. I see your intention. I want you to win and be celebrated.’ So of course, it was very surprising and amazing that all of the love and the attention and the resources and everything that I put into making my presentations were widely well-received. There was a lot of time and effort by so many people to make all of that happen, so for fans to resonate with my so many is a dream come true.
You’re currently the most followed queen on Canada’s Drag Race with 200,000 followers on Instagram. How are you dealing with this rise to fame, especially during a global pandemic?
Oh wow, I sure am. How does it feel? It feels like a dream come true, and it feels like it’s happening to someone else in a weird way, where there’s the online media world and then there’s the real world; and in years when the world is in a normal place, those two come together and you’ll have your online presence out in the world, meeting fans with that spirit and vibe that surrounds you in your actual day-to-day life. With the pandemic and not being able to travel or tour, it’s been the support of my local community, which has been absolutely incredible. I’ve got people coming to my house and my windows waving, yelling to me and asking for pictures. I’m stopped in the street all the time. It’s absolutely amazing and it’s a unique scenario. I can’t wait to be out in the world when the pandemic is over and to be meeting my fans, touring and performing.
Canada’s Drag Race airs every Thursday in Canada and the United States on Crave and WOW Presents Plus, and every Friday in the UK on BBC iPlayer.