I think we can all agree that Jujubee is one of RuPaul’s Drag Race’s most iconic and memorable queens of all time. Juju first appeared on Drag Race in 2010 as a contestant on Season 2, during which she placed third. And then she came back in 2012 for All Stars 1, during which she had one of the show’s most-talked about lip syncs ever when she was forced to go up against her Season 2 sister and All Stars teammate Raven.
In the years since, Juju has continued being a part of the Drag Race family, appearing on RuPaul’s Drag U, as well as having a cameo on All Stars 2 and cohosting various web series like Fashion Photo RuView. She is also one of the stars of TLC’s makeover show Dragnificent! (where she appears alongside her fellow Ru girls BeBe Zahara Benet, Alexis Michelle, and Thorgy Thor). Of course, she recently came back to the Werk Room to compete on All Stars 5. And in celebration of AS5‘s highly anticipated Snatch Game episode airing this week, Juju spoke with BuzzFeed about everything from her favorite Snatch Game performances in the show’s herstory to which one of her fellow castmates she has a crush on.
BuzzFeed: Juju, I guess I need to start with the big question that’s on everybody’s minds: How are your cats treating you in quarantine?
Jujubee: I knew you’re gonna ask about my cats. They are fantastic! Priss is on the bed, and Mister likes the closet for some reason. So you know, we hang out, they’re with me, but they’re also like distancing. If that makes any sense? Because they’re cats and they don’t really care.
Sounds like they’re also just sort of judging you.
JB: Oh, absolutely! And I think that’s why I love them so much, because I am never gonna fully get their love. And I think that there’s this like, desperate attempt to be like, “Who loves me?” I need their love, and I’m never gonna get it. Because really it’s a sick relationship…but with that being said, you should really get a cat [laughs]!
You’re of course Drag Race royalty. And I think when people think of the show, you’re always one of the first queens they think of. You got very, very far into the competition in both Season 2 and All Stars 1. Was there any hesitation returning back to the Werk Room for you?
JB: Yes and no. Yes, I was hesitant because when you leave on a high note, you want to just kind of stay on that high note, right? And then there’s always that chance of coming back and not doing as well as I did the other seasons. But then the “no hesitation” is the excited part of me. I was/am a completely different person from who I was during those seasons. You know, my mind was completely different, and I just live a new way of life. And my approach to the competition was strictly like: “This is a competition and I’m gonna get to where I need to get!” I’ve also become very competitive [laughs].
Obviously your original season — Season 2 — was the very first season of Drag Race that did Snatch Game. And it has become such a big staple of the show and arguably the most-anticipated episode of each season. When you and your fellow queens did it originally, did you have any idea what it was gonna be about? Or did you just go in being like, “I guess we’re gonna do this weird sketch thing?”
JB: I mean, how are you asking me that? Did you see my Kimora [Lee Simmons] and how terrible that was! I had no clue what we were doing! And I literally thought that it was a look-alike challenge, when really it’s a comedy challenge — that was the mistake that I made. I feel like a lot of queens go in thinking, Oh my gosh, who do I look like? Let’s do that. Right? Instead of, How can I make RuPaul laugh? And that’s really the whole point of Snatch Game. You’ve got to snatch the bitch’s wig and make her laugh. That’s all that it is.
Speaking of making Ru laugh, this segues into my next question: Who are your top three queens that have just slayed it?
JB: Okay, okay, I already, I have them! My first one is from Season 2, my sister Pandora Boxx — but I call her THEE Pandora Box, even though she only goes by Pandora Boxx, because she’s that incredible! She did Carol Channing, which was so hilarious. I was there, so I got to experience how funny it was and she stayed in character the entire time. I think Pandora Boxx is a really funny lady and people need to get into that.
JB: For my second choice, I have to say I loved Bob the Drag Queen as Uzo Aduba’s “Crazy Eyes” from Orange Is the New Black in Season 8. She slayed that game, made me laugh, and then she turned into Carol Channing [laughs]! And that killed me because I was like, “This is such a creative instance and an example of what you should do during the Snatch Game!” Because the game comes down to let’s just give it all you got. And Bob clearly did the right thing because she won that season.
Then my next favorite was and is always Bianca Del Rio as Judge Judy, during Season 6, because that was hilarious. It made Ru laugh, but it also made everybody else laugh too. So it was clear that Bianca was the queen. And I thought it was a super smart choice of her. I don’t know… Do you know who Cheri Oteri is from Saturday Night Live?
Yes, of course!
JB: It kind of reminded me of like, Bianca Del Rio playing Cheri Oteri playing Judge Judy, and I thought that that was really funny. I just laughed my ass off! So those are my three picks.
It’s funny you bring that up ’cause now that I think about it, Bianca did play Judge Judy in way that was more a parody of a parody.
JB: And the result was fantastic. I think that Bianca is super smart about that, because she was just like, “Let’s just go for it!” She commits and then she goes all the way.
Is there someone who you think has given an underrated Snatch Game performance? For example, I know for myself, I always say that I really, really loved Aja’s Crystal LaBeija on All Stars 3, because I thought it was super smart and so well done.
JB: Oh yes!!! That was so good!
It was so good! And I feel like there’s a lot of queens who come in and do these really great performances, but then they get sort of overshadowed by another queen who was a little bit better during it — like in Aja’s case where she was overshadowed by BenDeLaCreme’s Paul Lynde. Is there a performance that you think a queen gave that deserves a little more credit?
JB: I mean, did you see Sonique’s Lady Gaga during Season 2?
JB: Do you think she deserves a little bit more credit? [Laughs]
JB: I know, I know, I know. All kidding aside, I have say I loved Phi Phi O’Hara on All Stars 2, when she did Theresa Caputo the Long Island Medium — it was just hilarious. The thing is she was up against Katya as Björk and then also Alaska’s Mae West. But I remember being there — because I was there with Shangela doing a thing — and Phi Phi was somebody who stuck out to me because she stayed in that like Long Island/New York lady character the whole time, even when the cameras weren’t on. It was just fantastic for me to watch her like that.
And you were actually a judge on that Snatch Game.
JB: Yes! I was there half the time and the other half was Shangela. I love how whimsical Drag Race can be. So yeah, we shared screen time during that Snatch Game and it was fun.
So a few months ago, I got to play RuPaul’s Drag Race quarantine houses with Trixie Mattel, and now I wanted to play it with you. Okay, so I’m going to list two houses, and you tell me which one you’d want to be in.
JB: Oh great. Got it.
So here’s House One: House One has Miz Cracker, BenDeLaCreme sending herself home every week, Latrice Royale reading you every moment, extra special guest judge Ricky Martin, a busted Interior Illusions Lounge with only Wet N Wild makeup, the ghost of Santino Rice, and Shangela and Mimi Imfurst fighting. So, that’s House One.
JB: Okay, okay…that’s a tough one.
House Two has: Tammie Brown, Valentina living out her telenovela fantasy, Tatianna — but as Britney Spears the entire time — extra special guest judge Nicki Minaj, the Werk Room filled with Anastasia Beverly Hills cosmetics but no mirrors, the Season 1 filter, and a lip sync against Raven.
JB: Oh! So it’s no mirrors but a Season 1 filter. Hmmmm…you know what I’m really down for? I have a big crush on Miz Cracker. So I’m going to choose House One, because I love being near Miz Cracker. She’s the cutest little twink ever!
Alright, Juju, any final words for everyone quarantined at home?
JB: Yes! My very first EP, Good Juju: Vol 1. is out now and you can stream it on all the streaming sites. And, also, most importantly: Be nice! Wash your hands! Wear a mask! And speak up for your rights, the rights of others, and spread love!!!
You can watch Jujubee play the Snatch Game on RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5, this Friday, July 3, on VH1 at 8 p.m.