If you haven't seen the latest Drag Race episode, don't read any further.
Spoiler Alert: if you haven't seen the latest episode of Drag Race, don't read any further.
Ru Paul’s Drag Race season nine has been fraught with controversy and criticism from fans. First Mama Ru not being in drag on the first episode, the switch from Logo to VH1 and finally upcoming guest host Wendy Williams, serving as a judge and critic.
But when it comes down to it, the biggest criticism and the one that counts the most comes from Ru Paul herself, and this week she sent home Chicago native Jaymes Mansfield after she earnestly tried, but failed at a gymnastic challenge.
San Diego Gay and Lesbian News caught up with the funny queen after her elimination to discuss where she thinks she went wrong, her critiques and tea on the other queens.
How are you Jaymes? I thought you were amazing this season.
So did I. So did I.
How do you feel you did?
I feel like I was far too talented and they had to get me out of there. Just to keep it fair.
One of the judges said you were only giving 20-percent of yourself, do you think that’s true?
Well, I could say the same thing about them. [she laughs] No…what I have to say about criticism is that opinion is the lowest form of human knowledge.
It takes nothing to have a critique on somebody you just click that dislike button, and that’s how you feel. You take it with a grain of salt and move on.
During the Cheerleader challenge you struggled a bit are you a physical person?
When I auditioned for the show they did not tell me that I applied for American Ninja Warriors. So by the time I got there it I was like, ‘well, I guess I’m a cheerleader now’ and you figure out what you can do and try and try.
I just couldn’t get past that damn rolling log.
You did pretty well. Your white look was wonderful. The judges said Kimora’s look was sort of a hodgepodge of ideas. And do you think “Love Shack” was a good song to lip sync to?
It’s really one of those lip syncs you need three people for. They should have given me “Rock Lobster” I could have really nailed that one.
Michelle Visage “Air head shtick.” Audition video showed more of that they said. What were you going for?
Here’s the thing...and here’s the thing that kinda gets lost with people that are so used to a standardized form of drag: When you’re a character, people seem to kinda lose that like, you don’t tell Pee Wee Herman or Elvira, 'Okay you can drop it now,' you got them for that reason.
Were you stunned to be in the television spotlight all of a sudden?
I will say this: You know I came from a YouTubing background where you’re ‘on’ all the time, and I’m always on in the character voice. My private life as a guy is very, very private. So one thing I knew that would happen is that either my shyness would shine through or, you know, I could rise to the occasion and act as I do at work; where you have to turn on that personality to sell somebody some make-up.
It’s a high stakes competition, and we all think certain things when we go into it, imagining this is how it’s going to play out, this is how I’m going to do it. And the minute you get there, that pre-planning could be completely shot. Because you don’t know what they’re going to throw at you.
What were you expecting on Drag Race?
Um. I’d say I was expecting to build a showcase of more of my actual raw talent. My ability to create things, and my ability to shine through comedy and acting. I wasn’t expecting to show off my abilities to tumble and cartwheel. That’s a very small sect of what drag queens are capable of doing.
Who do you think is one to watch out for this season in your personal opinion?
I will say -- and I’ll just go from my own bias -- being a drag historian, I’d say look out for the girls like Peppermint and Charlie Hides because they’ve got that experience. And if you know their history, then you know what they are capable of.
I’ll say this too, I cannot speak higher of Peppermint, she’s got the goods and one thing I hate the most about her is that she’s absolutely as nice as they say she is. When I got there I was seethingly angry about how nice she was and how she stood up to that reputation. I was expecting my illusion to be shattered.
Did you know any of the contestants personally beforehand?
The only one I had known through passing is Shea Couleé. She’s in Chicago so close to me. I’ve seen her through passing, but now I’ve gotten closer which is a nice experience being on the show with her.
When you do your shows, you’re pretty much your own brand. You keep to yourself most of the time. You make your own costumes, choreography, and when you get to the venue you just do your show.
Am I correct in assuming that takes up a lot of your time?
That’s correct. I pre-plan everything I have a bit where I walk out with a puppet. I walk around the audience that entire night before I go on stage because your selling that performance when you get there. You want to build anticipation.
Do you consider yourself a comedy writer?
I do. As a YouTuber you have to do everything. We don’t have a team behind us you have to learn how to do it all.
When are you coming to San Diego?
Whenever they ask me to. I come when the calling is there. I have my ears to the air, hoping to hear something.
What’s next for you?
There’s going to be a whole lot more on my YouTube channel. That’s what I will really update constantly with new content from tutorials and drag queen history. You will always be able to catch me on tour.
I will be touring a lot as well as I’m working on a one-woman show as well.
Is the one-woman show going to be on your YouTube channel, or Video on Demand?
I will say this, it’s going to be a gift to my audience and leave it at that. Gifts can mean anything from you know, I give it away for free, or it might be on some kind of platform, but it might be more towards the first option.
Come to San Diego soon.
Like I said, my ear’s to the wind, if enough people scream enough…
Thank you Jaymes.
Timothy Rawles is Community Editor of SDGLN. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @reporter66 on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.