Throughout the second season of Drag Race España, Juriji Der Klee has given us the best Untucked moments of the whole season. She garnered a devoted audience with her sassiness and captivated the judges with her amazing looks and polished aesthetic.
Born in Madrid, Juriji moved to Brussels at the age of five, where she grew up. She has worked in Paris for the last few years, where she used to sing in fashion shows. Juriji currently performs at the historic cabaret travesti Madame Arthur, in the city-of-lights.
“Since I couldn’t see the footage, I thought I would appear screaming hysterically. It’s very funny because I watch now, and I come out super calm. I was not aware that I was that sassy”, Juriji tells us about the wrangle in Untucked.
Despite having a waspish tongue, Juriji was the eighth queen to leave the competition after facing the Roast. We also talked about the growing participation of trans artists in Drag Race, the recently announced Belgium version of the show and how she thinks that growing up in another country has influenced her game.
Go ahead and read the whole interview with the first female contestant of Drag Race España.
Hi Juriji, congrats on your amazing journey on Drag Race España! It has been more and more common to cast trans artists on Drag Race, at last! I’d like to know your thoughts on that?
I hope that means opening the doors for all kinds of people to do drag. The beauty of drag is to create an alter-ego the way you want and tell the stories your way. It doesn’t matter if you are a cis person, trans, queer or not. Drag is a way of expression for everyone, and I think it’s great to have this diversity in how each one interprets their drag. I loved seeing Victoria Scone on Drag Race UK. For me, drag is about expressing yourself artistically, and is all about inclusion and diversity.
Drag Race Belgique has just been announced. What can we expect from Belgium queens?
As I have worked a lot in Paris, I usually compare both scenes. Parisian queens are more into beauty, perfect makeup and they are very polished, but on stage they are quite stiff. The Brussels drag scene is more trashy, rough and has good vibes. What I like about Belgian culture is that we really have a sense of self-deprecating humour, we are not scared of making fun of ourselves. In the first episode of Drag Race, for example, when we had to do the Symbol of Your City runway, my proposal was the Venus mussels which looked like a giant vagina from the sea. Belgium’s culture is really surrealistic, and I think that look reflects that vibe. I’m really excited for Drag Race Belgique.
What was going through your mind during elimination?
It’s funny because when you are invited to Drag Race you know you are going to be locked alone, having no contact with anyone. I know it’s a reality show and a competition, but there are some things that you sort of see coming. That day, before the maxi-challenge, I already knew I was going to leave. That moment talking about my grandmother, you know? But for me the program is not about the elimination, it’s about the whole experience. I’m so happy that I had the chance to show my work on this huge platform. I’ve shown all my looks. And while I was there, I realised that I love puddings, even in spite of my lactose intolerance. They want to sell that there is a lot of competition between us, but I don’t need to be in a competition to have the motivation to create something. There was a lot of sisterhood, actually.
What is the status of your relationship with Marina?
The reason why we argued will never be disclosed. It’s something that we have to manage, so we signed a sort of confidentiality agreement. We have quite different ways of managing stress. I have told her that it was nothing personal, but I think she took it personally. There was a misunderstanding, and we exploded, which is normal under the circumstances we were in. We both would have reacted in a very different way outside the contest, I think. What is not known about these Untucked moments with Marina and Sethlas, is that afterwards I have been crying a lot. I felt guilty, because I’m not a conflictive person. Since I couldn’t see the footage, I thought I was screaming hysterically. It’s very funny because I watch it now and I come out super calm. I was not aware that I was that sassy. But also I think it’s important to know when to put limits and to speak out. I don’t know if it’s shady, but I’m happy to at least have allowed myself to express myself.
What is your favourite moment of your time on Drag Race?
I loved the pudding moment with Supremme, she’s so amazing. I was surprised that she was so into it, because I’m not sure RuPaul would do that. Also, I love all the runways. The Snatch Game was very particular, it’s very different being there from watching it.
Do you think that, having grown up in another country was a disadvantage in the competition?
I prefer to see it as a chance to stand out. It could be a disadvantage, but I chose to see it as an opportunity. At my entrance, everybody was like, ‘Who’s this girl?’, ‘Who does she think she is to not say hello?’ One day, when I have no chains, I’ll tell in a book why I did not salute anybody. There’s a reason and it’s very funny. Also, being from another country made people more aware of me, because they saw me as an alien. They didn’t know what I was capable of. In the workroom I used to hear that I was too much on my own, very calm, but that is also a cultural thing. I grew up in Brussels and have worked for several years in Paris, and both cities are very different from the Spanish way of socialising. In the end I exceeded expectations, the producers said to me that they loved my confessionals. The only thing I might consider a problem is the fact that I’m trilingual, so when I’m talking, my brain mixes the three different languages. It’s very difficult to start and finish a sentence using just one language, and in some challenges this could be a problem.
You are one of the contestants who have had the most support from the viewers. Did you expect this reaction?
The most beautiful thing about this experience is that I have always doubted myself a lot. I had a difficult childhood and have experienced things as a trans person that are very hard. So, you inadvertently have a self-esteem that is not good, and you have a tendency to see things negatively. Cheesy alert here: I have made peace with a lot of things. Seeing myself on the screen and being able to think, ‘I’m proud of myself…’ All the love I received from the viewers has helped me. I started when I was 18, I’m about to be 32. I didn’t expect anything after so many years working and not getting the recognition I was looking for, so it’s been a very nice surprise.
If you had another chance, what would you do differently?
I think you should never regret anything. I have worked on other audiovisual projects but I have never been recorded 24 hours a day in a reality show, under such pressure. All that influences the way you react. But even in Untucked, I suffered a lot through it. I watch it now, and I have to be honest: it’s great TV content.
Who would you like to see snatch the crown?
I’m #TeamVenedita. A bearded woman is what we need to revolutionise the drag aesthetic today. What I love about Venedita is that she is a bearded woman, but you always forget, because she integrates it very well into her character and I love this ambiguity, bearded and ultra-feminine. I think that Drag Race should show what’s next, the future of drag.
So, what’s next for Juriji?
This week, I released my newest video clip/fashion film, XIXI. It’s a tribute to my entrance quote, “No me toques el chichi porque todavía no me lo han puesto.” In the refrain I sing, “Veni Vidi Vici/Cómeme el chichi.” It’s just the perfect song after my Drag Race experience. Also, Choriza May makes a cameo. Before just being a drag, I am a singer. I am trained in lyrical singing, and I also love electro music. This is why after being on Drag Race, it’s a great time to restart creating music. I released an EP in 2013, but from now on I’d like to make kind of an opera-techno type of music.
Drag Race España S2 continues every Sunday on Atres Premium in Spain and exclusively on WOW Presents Plus everywhere else. Subscribe via: https://uk.wowpresentsplus.com