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The GoPride.com Interview

Jujubee

by Joseph Erbentraut
Though Jujubee may not have won the top prize in the most recent season of RuPaul's Drag Race, the Boston-based diva emerged from the series a clear fan favorite. Known for her dead-on lip synching, snappy wit and all-around star quality, Juju was even nominated for a NewNowNext Award for "Most Addictive Reality Star" and has a calendar booked with shows, appearances and jetsetting from coast-to-coast.

In Chicago, we've been lucky to be graced by Juju not once but twice this month. Coming off an appearance at Hydrate, she's set to perform Thursday at Berlin Nightclub to kick off Pride Weekend. And if you just can't bear a Friday morning hangover, she'll also be featured among the cast on RuPaul's Drag U, premiering July 19 on LOGO.

ChicagoPride.com was able to snag a few minutes to chat with everyone's favorite Drag Racer on her new life as a reality starlet, even gaining some packing advice along the way.

JE: (Joe Erbentraut) Jujubee! How are you doing? Where are you right now?

J: (Jujubee) I'm just about to jump in the pool in Fort Lauderdale before I have to fly home! Jessica, Morgan and myself were here to do Pride, including the parade and a show after and it was so fun. I got to meet some great people here.

JE: And you've got more people ahead of you for your next appearance in Chicago at Berlin this week. This city loves you, you were already here just a few weeks back as well.

J: And it was so great the first time I was there. Everyone was so nice. I met some cool people and I really hope to see them again. I think this time won't be quite as hot, but I'll come prepared with towels this time. And hopefully it won't rain this time!

JE: What has it been like since Drag Race aired? Is it every bit as crazy as you imagined?

J: I didn't know what to expect at all from the show, but I'm taking it as it comes and just doing it. It's been a complete flip of my life and I never expected anything like this to ever happen to me. I mean, I've always wanted it but I'm just going to ride with it and see how far it takes me.

JE: Do you spend much time at home in Boston these days? Catch any chances to catch your breath between shows?

J: When I am home, I try to do everything that's just normal like what I used to do. I try to just clean and be me. And then I have to think about business, but it's what I love to do. I do spend most of my time at home packing. And petting my cat.

JE: You must practically be a pro at packing by now.

J: I was horrible at first but I know exactly what to pack now, the exact amount it can weigh. I'm not paying that extra fee they're charging now. That's some bullshit right there.

JE: Do you have any packing or travel tips for any novice drag queens embarking on a trip out there?

J: This is what I do: All the heavy stuff that's not liquid or cream is carried on, and the jewelry, too. That's the heaviest thing. And, of course, get to the airport on time. I missed my flight last time.

JE: What is it like for you watching the Drag Race footage now? Do you feel it showcased your strengths as a queen? Do you have any regrets from the experience?

J: I hate watching myself on the show, but I wouldn't change any part of myself personally. I did what I wanted to do. Everybody wants to win, but at the end, only one person can and it was OK with me. It was great to make the top three and be in the RuPaul video. In my mind, I wasn't competing in a competition with anyone, but I was competing with myself and I'm happy with the outcome.

JE: Did you have a favorite challenge from the show?

J: Every single challenge was completely different and I had a lot of fun doing it, but ironically, the most fun I had was the "golden girls" challenge, creating my drag mother. I enjoyed that one because I got to interact with someone who knew so much gay history from way before my time. There were a lot of similarities in our stories, in terms of feelings and the mental side, but you couldn't even say you were gay back then. You would have been killed to sent to a crazy house. The education I got from the experience was the best part of that challenge.

JE: It's good for any drag queen to know their community's history. You've lead the way, especially in terms of visibility, from Stonewall through to today in the Pride parades.

J: Yeah, it's cool. We're like the drag queen Statues of Liberty.

JE: Totally! So, you also have RuPaul's Drag U coming up next month on LOGO, in the same time slot, Monday evenings, as Drag Race. What was that experience like for you?

J: Drag U was awesome and it's going to be amazing to watch, too. It was a completely different experience to be on the other side as one of the professors. We take these women who are downbeat and have lost their minds or whatever - they've faced issues - and we help pull out their energy they've lost. We teach them a lot of things and it's pretty fierce. I can't say much more but you'll have to watch.

JE: Beyond that, what other projects do you have coming up? Do you have any particular goals for where you'd like your newfound celebrity to take you?

J: The company I work with, Chris Harris Presents, has gotten me all these bookings and set me up so well. I'm booking through October right now, so I'm a busy bee. I've always wanted to be on Broadway and be in a movie or record an album. I love anything artistic like that. It's my passion. I'm looking forward to making music right now. I think that's my main focus.

JE: Do you have any songs already written or being recorded?

J: We have some thing sin the works. There's more information on jujubeeonline.com... I have to get all my little plugs in. As Madonna said, self-promotion is the best kind of promotion!

JE: I think that was Madonna. Or was it Obama?

J: Same difference!

JE: You're hilarious. What can audiences expect from seeing you live and how does it compare to what we saw on Drag Race?

J: I met a few people yesterday who saw me perform who said they saw a completely different side of who they thought Jujubee was. I would never have chosen all the songs I lipsynched in the show for myself, but it was fun. Now, audiences can get a look at how I perform and what I like to do. I love my slow jams.

JE: Okay, one last question for you before we let you go: What's your ultimate slow jam?

J: If I had to pick one? I've got to give it to Toni Braxton and "Another Sad Love Song" because that video is hot.

JE: Thank you, Juju!

Jujubee will be at Berlin Nightclub on Thurday, June 24 at 10 p.m.
 
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