The Boston-based fan favorite — who previously competed in Drag Race Season 2 (2010), All Stars (2012) and All Stars 5 (2020), along with appearances on multiple Drag Race-adjacent shows, including the long-forgotten Drag U — got off to a rocky start, especially on the runway, with the judges (and fans like myself) wondering when the real Jujubee was finally going to show up.
A strong Snatch Game performance as Cher (short for “Cher-cuterie”) in Episode 4 marked a positive turning point in the competition for Jujubee, but the fans proved much harder to win over than the judges. In fact, Jujubee isn’t sure that she ever fully rebounded from Episode 3, which ended with Pangina saving her in favor of eliminating Jimbo.
“Everybody wanted me to be eliminated that night, they wanted me to go,” Jujubee tells TVLine. “I don’t think the fans really want me to win this. To some of them, I’ve taken space that they feel belongs to other queens who they love.”
But no matter how ugly things got on social media, the seasoned queen took it all in stride, wisely getting in on the jokes rather than letting them tear her down.
“Their feelings aren’t my problem,” she says of her more vocal online haters. “I’m not responsible for how someone else feels, only for how I respond, and the soul in me just wants to spread love. I’ve gone through a lot of stuff in my life that told me I probably belong somewhere else — dead, you know? — and I’ve managed to not be dead. I’ve managed to survive a lot of s–t, and the reason I’m Good Juju is because that’s who I am and what I do. The fans are very passionate, and I think all of us have been really uncomfortable in this pandemic. The easiest target is a happy, sassy, successful drag queen on a television show.”
Speaking of the pandemic, Jujubee says it’s important to remember that the timing of this unique season created certain limitations: “My fashions really weren’t up to me, it was up to the people making them.”
And even if she wasn’t always bringing it on the runway, she feels that she added value in other areas. “I still brought light to the competition,” she says. “I believe that I am one of the storytellers in there and probably a guiding light for some of the queens that didn’t feel so comfortable.”
As for giving Janey Jacké the chop last week, Jujubee admits, “It was tough to eliminate her while wearing her earrings,” but it’s all part of the game.
“Yes, she saved me once, but she also tried to eliminate me,” Jujubee says. “I was looking specifically at how Janey did in that challenge. The opportunity was there for her to sing or rap, and she chose to challenge herself. And I couldn’t eliminate myself, right? I don’t think they have Wite-Out here in the UK.”
So, what’s Jujubee’s parting message to the naysayers ahead of the first-ever Drag Race UK vs. the World finale?
“I hope that the people who are hurt right now and spewing hate understand that they can change that energy,” she says. “You can’t get rid of energy, and you can’t create it, but you can change it. And that’s up to you.”
Which queen do you expect to win UK vs. the World, and which queen do you want to win against all odds? Weigh in via the polls below, then drop a comment with your thoughts ahead of the finale.