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The enthusiastic and sporty RuPaul's Drag Race contestant sashayed away this week after failing to deliver a "Jantasy" during a marketing challenge. Jan had tried to sell a miracle spray -- but her sustained high energy and unfocused pitch were a turn-off for the judges.
And despite a show of acrobatics during the lips-ynch, it was Widow Von Du who prevailed to channel the spirit of Chaka Khan in front of the diva herself.
Below, Jan discusses the elimination, her friendship with fellow contestant Brita, homophobia in the sports world, and more.
The Advocate: You were heartbroken when Brita was eliminated -- you were friends from New York. Can you share a story of how she has mentored or supported you in the past?
Jan: The first time that I ever performed in drag, I was in a competition with Brita. I was very nervous because it was my first time performing in drag. I didn't even know what I was doing the first time. I was performing as a Kris Jenner impersonator. We had a sound check, and I hit my high notes, and Brita was in the crowd cheering. Afterward, she said, "You're so talented. I can tell you're nervous, and you shouldn't be. I think you're so wonderful and special." To have someone do that and make you feel better, in just the first two minutes of meeting them, speaks volumes.
Some of the queens thought you were upset mainly because you didn't win the Rusical challenge. What would you say to the doubters?
I would say that they're correct. I definitely think I was upset that Brita went home, but I was also trying not to show that I was upset about the challenge. I didn't want the queens to see a weakness. It was easier to blame it on Brita leaving because I didn't want the fact I was upset about the challenge to show.
Do you still believe you should have won that challenge?
I think after watching it, Gigi was wonderful. I wish it was a double win.
The judges were unsure of your "Sure, Jan" spray. Why was this the product you chose and how would you have modified it if you could turn back time?
I chose it because I thought it'd be instantly recognizable. When I got announced as Jan, it was the number 1 meme. I thought, Let me play into this and give the kids what I think they'll want. I wish I had made it more simple and more cohesive in the challenge.
How do you feel about your own elimination?
I did not think it was my time to go and I was sad, but there's always All-Stars.
It's rare to see a sports-loving drag performer. What message do you hope your story sends to closeted athletes?
That we in the queer community are loving and accepting. We look up to people in the straight-dominated fields to be beacons of hope for those going through it. I want to say that the community will lift them up to be their authentic self.
You were a RuPaul's Drag Race mega-fan. How has being on the show changed your perception of it?
It made me appreciate the process more. The experience is a one-of-a-kind situation that you don't know unless you're there. You really get to see the ins and outs. It gives me a deep respect for those queens who have been a part of it.
New York is currently the epicenter of the health crisis. How are you coping right now?
I'm just trying to put a smile on people's faces. I have this platform and want to use it for good. I just try to put a smile on these fans' faces.
What message would you like to send to fellow New Yorkers -- or anyone else who has been impacted by this virus?
Just know that you're not alone in your feeling of being alone and scared. We're all in this together and we'll get through it together.
What's next for you?
Original music is next. And continuing on with Jan's Jukebox.
RuPaul's Drag Race airs Fridays at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific on VH1. Watch Jan's Jukebox below.