She likes long walks on the beach, big dicks and fried chicken. Yep, it’s your momm – Jujubee. It’s Jujubee.
The season two contestant and All Stars 1 finalist is a motherfuckingtucking legend on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and rightly so.
With five lip-syncs under her belt – all of which she emerged triumphant – Jujubee boasts the honour of being the most successful lip-syncer in the show’s HERstory, and a queen who truly embodies C.U.N.T.
Ahead of her debut appearance at DragWorld UK later this month, the fan-favourite performer caught up with Gay Times and spoke about her status as a lip-sync assassin, her sobriety and the opulence that is… Bebe Zahara Benet.
And for the Juju stans out there wondering if she’d ever return as a competitor, you’re in luck…
Do you still like long walks on the beach, big dicks and fried chicken?
I will never not like it. Of course I do. I mean, who doesn’t?
This month, you’re coming to DragWorld in the UK. What can we expect from Jujubee?
Oh my gosh, well, expect me to be on time! One of my character defects is being late, but I’m going to be on time! Honestly, I’m just gonna bring love, light and positivity and I’m thinking of doing some things with Bebe Zahara Benet. I kind of expect us to be conjoined.
I spoke to Bebe on the phone recently, and she is more hilarious and regal than I ever could’ve imagined.
Oh, she’s so funny! DragWorld will be really interesting and really fun, and light-hearted. We have so much fun together.
Are you excited to come to the UK?
Of course! I can’t even put my finger on it, but there’s just this incredible energy that the fans in the UK have. You guys are so polite and so intense at the same time. It’s crazy! If we were in a burning building, you guys would be like, ‘Oh no, after you, thanks!’ I would be running my ass out of the building, but you guys are so frickin nice.
What do you think is the biggest difference between UK and US fans?
Oh gosh, I mean, the accent? I think you guys sound a little bit more fancy, but I’ve learned a few things from watching RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10. I had no idea your accent was the made up one, and ours was the original! Who knew?
There was a lot of debate over that, but I had no bloody clue.
Dya know what? I’m gonna believe Monét X Change, because I’m just gonna have to. That’s my sister!
I’m with you there. Monét seems very informed.
Oh yeah, she takes in information like a sponge doesn’t she?
Like a sponge.
See what I did there?
I see what you did there. So, tell me about the most bizarre encounter you’ve had with a fan.
Oh my gosh. Oh, I can remember this. I had a meet and greet. This was years ago and I was just getting used to doing meet and greets, because it was such a new thing for me. This person believed that they were speaking to me the night before on the phone. And I was like, ‘Honey that wasn’t me’. And they were like, ‘Yeah, I met you on this chat site’. And I was like, ‘What chat site?’ and they named it and I was like, ‘I don’t even know what that is! You were talking to this person for how long?’ He said, ‘I was talking to you for hours last night and I was so excited to meet you’. I was like, ‘I’m really happy to meet you but that wasn’t me’. He then got angry and left, so that was the most bizarre thing I’ve ever experienced. It was catfishing! And who want to pretend to be me out of everybody? I would wanna be like, Beyonce or… Bebe.
Yeah, I would be Bebe. What’s the most bizarre encounter you’ve had with another Drag Race queen?
I do try to remember everybody’s names… and it becomes really difficult. It becomes so hard because there’s so many of us. What is there, like almost 150 of us?
There’s a lot of us. You know what’s funny? I’m gonna bring Bebe back. This is a funny thing, because right after her season, she met me and she asked me to be her drag daughter. I was like, ‘What are you even saying Bebe? You high-end drag queen you!’ She was like (in Bebe’s signature regal tone), ‘I want you to be my drag daughter’. I was like, ‘Nah I’m cool!’ And of course years later, we call each other and we laugh and we joke so much. But that was bizarre. That was just her being her.
Is she always that opulent?
Oh yes, that’s Bebe honey! Oh yes! The voice in my head is Bebe Zahara Benet’s voice. My day is literally narrated by her, because to me, it’s just like she’s in the moment and she’s feeling herself, and she’s just so… She’s just the queen of everything. She’s the queen of the universe.
She came back to Drag Race, and there’s rumours that Manila and Latrice have returned for All Stars 4. I have to ask, would you ever return?
In a heartbeat. Of course. I mean, who wouldn’t want to? The whole idea of competing on RuPaul’s Drag Race to me, is the opportunity to show my version of the art to everybody out there who is interested in seeing it. And the platform is so beautiful, and honestly, being in a room with RuPaul is pretty spiritual. She’s such a spiritual goddess.
What is she like in person?
I can’t even describe. I’ve always idolised Ru, and looking up to her spiritually was already something that I’ve always held close to me. But being there and having to look up to her – because she’s so fucking tall – was such a… she has such a grand presence, and nothing can compare to Ru.
I think I’d just burst into tears if I ever saw her in person.
Well I cried inside, but I just didn’t wanna show it. I cried so much anyway, so I was saving tears in the end.
We saw that in Untucked! There were some rumours that there was a drink limit placed on queens after season two. Is that true?
Ya know what? I’m gonna leave you to ask Pandora about that, because she’ll tell you! She was there! I think Pandora was the one who spilled the T on that. That bitch. Here’s the thing. I’m gonna say that the silver lining with that, is that it helped all the other girls to not be as much of a mess as I was. So I’m gonna be like Bebe and take credit for it and say, ‘You’re welcome’. I think they owe me royalties.
Queens can only have one drink in Untucked now, I think?
Yeah, they’re probably mad because they can’t get another drink and hating on me the whole time. They’re like, ‘That bitch’. You know, it was my fault. I let myself have more than I should’ve. I actually don’t drink anymore. I’m all clear and queer.
That’s amazing. How has that affected your drag career?
Well it’s helped me navigate life in itself. It’s just so much easier for me, because I have full control of everything and when I feel things, I know that these feelings will pass. And I don’t have to pacify it by using or drinking, and I’m very mindful. I meditate every single day.
How long have you been sober for?
I stopped drinking last June. June 12th of 2017. That’s why I’ve been a bit more phit.
I have to say, your recent looks are killer. I saw your recent one where you looked very dominatrix, much like your lewk in the Nasty lip-sync against Manila.
Oh thank you! Thank you thank you.
I think I like dominatrix Juju the best.
Yeah she’s kinda bad. Bad Juju. There’s good Juju and there’s bad Juju. That’s the bad one.
Back to Nasty, did you notice they recycled your lip-sync song for season 10?
Yeah, I noticed that! I was like, ‘Wait a minute’.
They’ve done it two years in a row now. First it was Stronger by Britney, then Nasty.
Right? Do you know what though? Britney and Janet are just queens. They’re queens in their own right, so I appreciate that. But like, let me have my songs girl. They better not bring back Black Velvet, because I’ll just be like, ‘Gosh, what do I even have anymore?’
No one can touch your Black Velvet performance. Did you know that you hold the record for most lip-sync wins on the show, with five?
Well, I’m very happy about that. But that other part of me says, ‘Well, you had to be in the bottom in order to lip-sync’. They’re doing it so differently now, where people in the top have to lip-sync against each other, and the process is kicking the girls off, and I don’t know how I’d handle all that.
What’s the secret to a perfect lip-sync?
Being in the moment. Listening to it and understanding what the story is, because with art, there’s a story behind everything, and music is another type of art. It’s just exuding emotion and energy. It really is lip-syncing for your life. That’s really the only way to describe it. In my mind, every time I lip-sync, I was just like, ‘If you don’t make this, you’re gonna die, and you don’t wanna die’.
I think that’s why there’s some criticism towards the All Stars format, because queens might not have tried as hard as they could, seeing as how they were safe.
Right… But they were up to win like $10,000 or something right, or a $1000. Girl, I would lip-sync for my legacy for $15, okay? And a bag of chips.
Is there any queen you’d be scared to lip-sync against?
Oh my gosh, I would be terrified to lip-sync against Latrice Royale, because Latrice is incredible. She’s such a talent. And another one would be Bebe. Terrified of her too.
You, Latrice and Trinity are often regarded as three of the best.
That’s fierce. Three girls of colour. Hello!
Reddit seem to agree. Do you ever scour websites like that?
I actually have never been on Reddit. I really hate to admit this, because I should know, but I’m really bad at technology. Like, I just don’t understand a lot of things. It took me years to figure out how to tweet. I signed up for a lot of these things, and I was like, ‘How does this work?’ I try not to read any of the comments, because – what did Madonna say? 100 people could say ‘I love you’ but if one person says something negative, that will be the thing you think about, and she’s absolutely right. I like to be centred.
Have you been reluctant to immerse yourself in social media because of how hateful a lot of the fans are now?
You know, I am very lucky because I’ve received maybe a handful, literally like five mean comments since the show. I’m very lucky in that, but I do understand that a lot of queens get that, especially on Twitter. The fans can be really mean, and I think that’s not really speaking of the person they’re pushing the negativity on, it’s really a reflection on how they feel. You never know what somebody’s going through. Maybe they’re just having a really miserable day, and they use this thing to push it onto a drag queen that they see on television that they think has this perfect life. I think we have to remind ourselves that everybody is just a person, behind all the makeup, lashes, and glamour. We’re all just people.
Lately, issues surrounding black queens with the fandom have become more apparent. Do you think white popular queens have a responsibility to speak up about it?
I definitely think that there is a responsibility with this kind of platform. But there’s also that part of me where – I’m gonna speak for me personally – I can only do and say and change and control me. I can give opinions about anything over and over again, but it’s really up to the audience and the queen to decide whether they or not they’re gonna say anything. I wouldn’t want anyone to come out and try and make a stop to something they don’t fully agree with or say from a real place. It’s a hard thing, and it’s so difficult for me to wrap my head around. Drag is supposed to be fun. That’s all that it’s supposed to be, and the reads and the cattiness are supposed to be cute little jokes and not vicious. But it’s just transitioned into something like that. Perhaps the people who are watching need to be a little more mindful.
Your season was one of the most shadiest and bitchiest, and these days it seems like queens are obsessed with how they’re perceived. Do you think queens are censoring themselves more now?
There could be. I do know that people are a little more cautious with any kind of appearance because, you know, we were on season two. We didn’t know. We had nothing to expect. We didn’t know that there would be any careers that would come out of it. I went in there with the mindset, ‘I want to win this competition against the best drag queens in the United States’. That was my thing. I didn’t go in thinking that I was gonna make t-shirts or sell products, or work in way that I’m doing now, and I’m very blessed and grateful for it. A lot of the girls who are competing now, they’re just being mindful of themselves, and I totally understand. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. It’s interesting because you could say sorry as many times as possible, but you can’t control how certain people feel, and some fans are real passionate. They feel a certain way, and they’ll go on a smear campaign because it’s fun to them.
Monique Heart said a lot of the fans that do spew hate are all 12-year-old boys and girls and 40-year-old men “living in their mother’s basement”.
It is. Okay, I just see it like this. Maybe the people who are spewing hate aren’t spreading love because maybe they’ve never felt like they were loved. And I think that combatting hate with love is probably the best medicine, and I try not to take anything personally when shit is brought my way, because maybe they’re going through something. As humans, I get it.
My last question for you, and I’ll end it on a light note: Where do you think RuPaul’s Drag Race can go from here?
Oh my gosh! I kind of feel like it’s just the beginning. The audience has watched it from season one, and they are die hard fanatics. Now, it’s almost like it’s reinvented so I feel like it’s just the beginning of it all. You get so many artists who want to compete, so I’m excited. I think it’s gonna last for a really long time.
Me too. And I can’t wait to see you on a future All Stars.
Hey, let’s cross our fingers…
Jujubee will appear at DragWorld in London from 18 – 19 August. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.