RuPaul’s Drag Race was a charity case last night, arranging its eight remaining queens in a supergroup (a la USA for Africa) and forcing everyone to croon a bombastic ballad called “Can I Get An Amen?” Queens like Ivy Winters and Jinkx Monsoon proved they could’ve sung right alongside Cyndi Lauper and Kim Carnes, but other queens felt short — especially Jade Jolie, a.k.a. Josh Green of Gainesville, FL, who seemed to shrink next to the stronger singers in the competition. Eventually Jade faced off in a tough lip-sync against Coco Montrese, but Coco’s explosive connection to the Pointer Sisters classic “I’m So Excited” kept her in the game. That meant Jade Jolie sashayed away, back to the adorable land of Lite Brite-colored wigs from whence she came.
We caught up with Jade Jolie to discuss her fights with Alyssa and Roxxy Andrews, the terror of public singing, and being perhaps the nerdiest queen in the competition.
AfterElton: Sometimes certain challenges just aren’t suited to a particular queen’s skill set. What was it about the singing challenge that sank you?
Jade Jolie: First of all, watching that was mortifying. [Laughs.] I thought to myself, “I can’t help but laugh!” When I joke around, I always sing. I’ll just sing random things. I didn’t think I sounded that bad! But when I actually tried to sing, it was a whole different story. I was really excited to be with Jinkx and Ivy not just because I just love them, but because I knew both of them were talented singers. I thought, well, this will work perfectly! I thought, they’ll sound good, and I’ll be quietly tone deaf and try to sink in with them. But I stuck out like a sore fish. I wasn’t intimidated, but you can tell I was a little in my head that day. I brought that up on Untucked. I should’ve had more fun with it. Instead of just letting loose like I normally would, I was actually trying to be a real singer. Clearly that was not the case!
AE: Ivy and Jinkx seemed to be purposely alienating to you. Do you think that was part of your undoing?
JJ: It kinda is! Not so much a part of my undoing, but I didn’t realize that Ivy felt that way. When you see the confessionals, it does make you wonder about things. I was very positive going into the challenge. You could tell that Ivy wanted to work with Jinkx, and I was trying to get ideas across, but I felt like — it’s not that I wasn’t being paid attention to, but I felt like they were on a roll. I almost felt like a third wheel. I don’t know why that was. I have to say, in every challenge I felt underestimated. I tried to put my all into it, but I guess this is how the cookie crumbles.
AE: There was that shocking moment on the runway once where Alyssa named you out of nowhere as a queen who should be eliminated, even though you weren’t up for elimination that day. Do you think that tainted you in the eyes of the judges?
JJ: Yeah. A lot of people have underestimated me since the beginning. Thing is, I’m a thick-skinned person. I feel like being in drag you have to be, if you’re going to survive. I’m cute and bubbles, but I know how to hang with the best. It’s very tiring, though, you never know how much work goes into it until you’re there. Eighteen hour days! Not that I would’ve traded it for anything, but after awhile, after being underestimated so much, I think I almost started underestimating myself. You know what I mean? I was doing well in challenges, I was overcoming stuff, and then I would still — there was never any acknowledgement. I felt a little defeated, and I think it showed that day. I was kind of my own demise.
AE: I always thought you deserved more credit for pulling off so many different looks. Did you feel your versatility went uncredited?
JJ: I do. I would’ve loved some acknowledgement for that fact. Some of the girls, they have a style, and they stuck with that a lot, and you can tell they stuck with that a lot. Now, I do love unicorns and rainbows, and trust me that is me to the core, but I do have many sides, and I feel drag is many sides. So every week I try to do something different. I never ever got feedback as far as trying different things or entirely different looks, but I think it is very important to be diverse as a female illusionist or a drag performer. So I agree with you! [Laughs.]
AE: There were some nasty arguments among the queens this season. Did you have any lasting hurt feelings throughout the season?
JJ: With all the queens, especially with Roxxy, [the editing] can make things look so much more dramatic than it was. Because at the end of my argument with Roxxy, we made up. We got to the core of it. We made an attempt to get to know each other, and after that day, we were wonderful. I actually really enjoyed getting to know her. The only person who left a bad taste in my mouth with was, initially, Alyssa. In all honesty, it hurt my feelings more than anything. I’m somebody who gives anyone the benefit of the doubt. If you want to be friends with me, I’ll be friends with you. The moment we got there initially, she warmed up to me incredibly quickly, and I’d never met her. She just seemed awesome. She wanted to be next to me, and we were little buddies in the workroom. We were great until she actually called me out on the runway, which was a huge shock to me. You would never do that as a friend! If you really felt I was so mopey, wouldn’t you just ask me or come to me? I thought it was pretty ridiculous that they wanted me gone. I felt their sole reason was, “She keeps the morale down.” Like, “She does great in challenges, but the morale…” Well, I’m not anyone’s morale officer. [Laughs.] I’m not there to keep everyone’s morale up! I avoid conflict; I don’t like conflict. I’ll be argumentative if I have to be, but sometimes I’ll just be reserved and quiet. I feel like they took that as being mopey, but I’m not going to always be in the corner laughing at everyone’s jokes. Sometimes you’ve got to focus on yourself, but people took that to mean I was being mopey, or whatever they said.
AE: Last night’s lip-sync was excellent. You and Coco were both fierce and eye-catching. Did you think you were going home?
JJ: I didn’t know. It was 50/50. I’ve known Coco and have been friends with her for a long time, and one thing I’ve always prided Coco on — and I live for her — is she’s an amazing lip-syncer. I knew it was not going to be easy. It was going to be a fight. I lip-synced for my life, but at least if I had to go home, it was [thanks to] my sister. At least it’s somebody I know is an amazing lip-syncer, you know? She was amazing.
AE: Some have argued that the judges place too much emphasis on fishiness now. Would you say that’s true?
JJ: I feel like if anything, being fishy is kind of a hindrance. People put you in a box instantly. My dress style is very strange; I appeal to certain people. I know I can be pretty and fishy, but I’m not pageant-y. I also like funny and Adventure Time-y kind of stuff, but I’m not a full camp queen.
AE: If I’m not mistaken, you wore an Adventure Time hat last week. Are you nerdier than we realize?
JJ: Oh, absolutely! Me and my brother? We grew up on cartoons, video games — literally, I was watching Adventure Time last night. I’m super nerdy. I love cosplay. I actually wish I’d brought more of that to the show so people could see that. I love costumes, Mortal Kombat costumes, bringing those people to life — even characters people don’t even know, unless you are a nerd for Final Fantasy and things like that.
AE: Mortal Kombat, eh? Do you dress as Sonja Blade or Mileena?
JJ: Well, Jade.
AE: Oh, of course! What planet am I on?
JJ: [Laughs.] She’s always been my favorite. I named myself for her! I always have to give her tribute. I also love Kitana, but I could do without the sticks.
AE: Lastly, who are you rooting for now?
JJ: I love all my sisters, but if you were forcing me to make one decision –
AE: And I am.
JJ: I just love both of my sisters — Coco and Jinkx. But if you were forcing me to make one decision, I just love Jinkx so much. She is genuinely a sweetheart, and her personality just shines. She has a heart of gold, and I feel like that’s what a drag superstar should be. She’s humble, sweet, and amazing. And talented! And it’s new. She’s something we haven’t heard before. So I’d be proud if she were the next drag superstar.