I fell in love with Jujubee all over again in Season 2. She was essentially the shining star among the cast, and I'm a little shocked she didn't steal the crown. (If Season 2's winner had been selected by popular appeal, surely she would have!) In any case, Jujubee was kind enough to answer my interview questions after I had thoroughly gushed about how great she is.
CHAD: First, let me say that I had a ton of fun re-watching Season 2. It was such a great cast of queens with the perfect blend of ego, drama, and talent. But frankly, you really stood out as the heart and soul of the season—both with your humor in the workroom and your impeccable performances onstage. What were your favorite experiences on set that we didn’t see on screen?
JUJUBEE: Rupaul’s Drag Race Season Two is the BEST EVER! Just ask us! Haha. There was so much that happened that you guys didn’t get to see onscreen, and a lot of those moments will forever be with me. So many precious and special moments happened. Believe it or not, we all had a wonderful time competing against one another. Sure, there was drama and arguments, but all that only happened because each of us had passion and something to fight for. We wanted that title!
JUJUBEE: The friendships that were created on set will always be close to my heart. No matter what, I am connected to every single sister I met there. We will always have each other’s backs. Raven and I became really good friends, and that was more apparent on RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. Pandora, Tatianna and I were always around each other. We’d help one another all the time, because that’s what sisters do. Jessica Wild is someone I adore and see whenever we both are in town (Boston) at the same time. Not many people know this, but Mystique and I had our morning coffee together before our pickup. It’s moments like that I will always cherish. It’s funny to think that our lives were changed just by being chosen by RuPaul! THANK YOU, RU!
CHAD: I can’t help but think of you and Raven as inseparable, and it’s hard to imagine a time when you weren’t friends. So I was surprised to see that you two didn’t seem to get really close during Season 2 until it was nearly over! What brought you two together?
JUJUBEE: It does seem that way doesn't it? We were always friendly and helped one another. There was just way too much footage to cram into 43 minutes of television. Our moments together were very special and humorous, but it wasn't our time to be seen. We definitely got to know one another more and became closer as the season went on. I knew from day one that Raven and I were going to be friends. It was either that, or we’d be mortal enemies. Hahaha.
CHAD: You’re inarguably one of the most beloved Drag Race queens—everyone lights up when they hear your name, and you’ve gone on to do the All-Stars season, Drag U, and a ton of other projects. What do you credit for that longevity? Your winning personality? The best manager in the business?
JUJUBEE: I have to credit the fans and supporters of RuPaul’s Drag Race and me. I feel so blessed to be able to perform around the world and do what I love. I have to pinch myself at times. I’m happy that drag is now a part of so many lives. I’m not sure what the attraction people have for me is; perhaps my ‘matter of fact’ ways? I definitely have to credit my manager/fiancé for working so hard for me. He’s a retired navyman, so he puts me into work mode when I have to be. He always makes sure I’m on time, and I’m thankful for that.
CHAD: Your jokes during the reading mini-challenge were legendary, and they established it as a mainstay for all subsequent seasons. Did you really come up with all those reads on the spot? Were you given any time to prepare?
JUJUBEE: I will never have reads as good as I did during that challenge. I knew of some of those jokes prior to the competition but had no idea I would need to use them on the girls. I was a nervous wreck, but I had to win SOMETHING! (That was the only challenge I won…EVER!) There wasn’t time to prepare, but when it came time to do it, we turned it out!
CHAD: In the “Rocker Chick” episode, they really built you up as the one to beat, but then things went awry. Was it a case of nerves? And how many Absolut cocktails did you drink after that, girl?
JUJUBEE: I was definitely super nervous. The nerves didn’t hit me until right before I walked onto the runway. I was an obvious wreck and there was no turning back. I can’t believe I screwed up Ru’s song in front of Ru! That’s a SIN! After that, I had everyone’s cocktail!
CHAD: You always seemed to crack up Ru in the workroom, but she was tough on you during the runway critiques, as if she thought you were coasting on your personality. What did she mean when she told you to “turn up the fire?”
JUJUBEE: Ru believed in me more than I did. I see that now, and it has inspired me to do better. It was interesting for me because my first lip sync was towards the end of the competition. There were three altogether during season 2, and by the time I had a moment to recover, the competition was OVER! I wouldn’t change it for the world, though. My experience on RuPaul’s Drag Race is worth more to me than anyone could understand. I feel truly blessed and am honored to call myself a Drag Race Alum!
[Chad's note: I made some minor edits to the interview for grammar and clarity]
I had so much fun drawing Jujubee that I even featured her on the cover of my book collecting Season 2, 20 QUEENS! It's now available to pre-order on Etsy! I should have the final books by December 1st, so they'll make a fabulous holiday gift for any loved ones who like looking at cartoon drag queens.
And I've already made prints of all my new Jujubee art, so you can buy them today!