Drag

Drag Race royalty Jujubee on risking her legacy for UK vs The World: ‘It was nerve-wracking’

Gary Grimes February 1, 2022
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Jujubee. (BBC)

At this stage, is it even a season of Drag Race if Jujubee’s not involved?

There were more than a few raised eyebrows around the world when it was recently announced that the three-time finalist would be coming back once again for the upcoming BBC Three spin-off RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs The World.

However, for Jujubee the decision was obvious: “If Ru calls you, you answer and you do exactly what she wants you to do!”

Ahead of the upcoming series, the Drag Race legend admitted she definitely felt the pressure to match her previous successes as she embarked on her fourth stint on the show.

“It was pretty fresh, for me, I just came off of All Stars season five where I thought I did such a great job on that competition,” she told PinkNews. “I was there in the finale with Shea and Miz Cracker, two queens that I’ve always looked up to, so now in this competition I just knew that there was going to be a lot of pressure on me.

I had to relieve that and just kind of see this competition as its own thing.”

 

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As with any queen who dares to return to the show that made them, there’s always the risk they might spoil their legacy by not living up to previous incarnations of themselves, but Jujubee explained that she has learned to push fears like that aside in order to focus on the game at hand.

“I used to have that fear, but that fear was in me because I would let other people’s opinions about my art, or whatever I did, really affect me. Now I live in a world where I’m so happy with me, and my art is always evolving.

I am a drag queen but I’m also a singer-songwriter. We’re all so multifaceted, we all have different sides to us and this competition now just allows us to show that little extra that maybe the audience has never seen before,” said Jujubee, who also famously featured in the drag-themed makeover shows RuPaul’s Drag U and Dragnificent, and more recently, the singing show Queen of the Universe.

With so much experience under her belt, you might think a star like Jujubee has a significant advantage over some of her fellow Drag Race UK vs The World competitors, but the Boston native says that’s not always the case.

“You think you do! I felt like I was in a place where I was like ‘OK I’ve done this before, I know exactly what I’m doing’, but when you’re actually in the competition, it’s almost like it’s your first time in drag. It was literally like I was walking for cheesecake honey, I was like ‘What am I doing?’

“When this competition came in I thought I was prepared, but I was probably the most nervous that I’ve ever been in any Drag Race setting.”

Nerves or no nerves, the presence of such a heavyweight in the competition certainly made an impact on the other competing queens who have followed Jujubee’s Drag Race journey over the years.

“This show is a chance for me to not only compete, but meet my idols,” said fellow competitor and host of Drag Race Thailand, Pangina Heals. “For example, Jujubee. I’ve looked up to her ever since she walked into the workroom on her first season, however many seasons she did.

“I just adore her so it was great to see the humanity of each of these queens. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”

Jujubee explained that she felt pressure to step her game up for this series particularly due to the pandemic which forced her to lay low for long periods of time.

It’s just nerve-wracking, you know, we’ve all just gone through a couple years of being stagnant, and my drag, for me, felt a little complacent. When I got the call, I rushed to make it a good Juju again!”

I think this is probably the hardest competition that I’ve done so far… which will probably manifest me doing more competitions because I just said that.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs The World starts at 9pm Tuesday (1 February) on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer, with new episodes airing every Tuesday.

More: Jujubee, RuPaul's Drag Race

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