Drag Race’s Janey Jacké agrees – UK vs The World eliminations were ‘rough’

This week on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs The World, it was semi-finals week. And the tension was nail-biting.

RuPaul, Michelle Visage and Graham Norton were joined by special celebrity guest judge and Little Mix star, Jade Thirlwall. For this week’s maxi challenge, the queens were set the task to write, record and perform their own version of RuPaul’s “London”, while paying homage to their own hometowns in their lyrics. And on the runway, the queens dazzled in looks inspired by the world of art and design.

After last week, when Blu Hydrangea sent fan favourite Pangina Heals packing, it was clear that absolutely no one was safe. Well, except for Mo Heart and Jujubee, who were declared the top two of the week. After winning a Eurovision-inspired lip-sync, Jujubee sent Holland’s Janey Jacké home.

We caught up with Janey to find out how she feels about all the drama from this tumultuous season…

PinkNews: Hi Janey! What was it like watching your exit back?

Janey Jacké: It’s always weird watching yourself back! But I felt very gracious, very grateful, very appreciative, very proud.

It feels like you really left on a high.

Not to discredit anybody’s exit or the emotional things that happened with Pangina or anyone else, but for me, I felt really proud of what I did in the competition, how far I got up until that point. I’m bringing home a badge and I was in the top twice. For me, it was so many things… it was my first introduction to Ru and Michelle, and I had a great connection with them. The girls that underestimated me, I really showed them, so for me there was just happiness all around.

Janey, Blu and Jujuebee in the Drag Race UK vs The World semi-final. (BBC)

What was it like getting the call to come back for this international All Stars?

I was very honoured to be invited twice to a first-time-around franchise: Drag Race Holland season one and then this. I was really hoping for the call, so when I got it, there was not a moment of doubt. It was a very short time after I filmed Drag Race Holland, but I just pushed myself further. So it was just very exciting all around.

Was it difficult being the only queen from Holland?

It was a little scary at times. I think that if you come in with other girls from your country or from your season, there might be alliances or at least  familiar faces in the room that you can rely on, or there’s a sister that can support you in moments where you need it. I really felt that other girls were underestimating me, so there was a double pressure.

Did you learn any fun British slang?

I’m specifically so interested in learning Geordie! But it’s so hard. They tried to get me to say something to Jade [Thirlwall], like “why-aye pet” and I still don’t know what it means. She was like: “What are you trying to do?” I was also very interested in the way Blu talks. I just love it so much. It’s just so pretty.

Were there any of the eliminations you were particularly shocked by?

I think the most shocking one was Pangina, because it was just that decision of: “I need to clear the way for me to win and that means I’m going to send the strongest girl home”. In the end, all of them are emotional. And all of them are rough. Lemon is such an amazing, beautiful queen, so for her to be eliminated in the first episode, it’s just really rough. But obviously I was really happy that I got to stay.

The Drag Race UK vs The World cast. (BBC)

Who are you backing to win the crown now you’re gone?

I’m definitely keeping an open mind because I think they have something really special. But I really think Blu Hydrangea is very inspiring, her story, and especially compared from season one up to now, her elevation. It’s the same with Mo, she has such a power – and I think we’re all just dying for Jujubee to finally win a crown. And Baga showed a little bit more of her personal side this week, and she has that amazing comedy that lifts up every room. So they all have something special there.

There was some chatter amongst fans online about alleged favouritism towards Baga Chipz, what’s your take on that?

Let me say this: I don’t think that Baga should have been safe in some moments where she should have definitely been in the bottom. Has there been favouritism for other challenges? We can never prove it. But I do think that, especially in the beginning, Baga was just not as strong. Her looks were not as strong. She was complaining a lot about the challenges. I would have put her in the bottom over being safe. If you want to call it favouritism, you call it favouritism.

Do you think you’d still be in the competition if it wasn’t for the All Stars format?

I definitely love performing and I’m a strong lip-syncer. I might have been a lip-sync assassin this season – but my Snatch Game wasn’t great, so I might have flopped there and been sent home. I was runner-up in [Drag Race Holland], so I think in the regular format I am a queen to watch.

Was it hard for you, pulling the looks together in the midst of a pandemic and lockdowns?

I have to say it was difficult. We filmed Drag Race Holland in August of 2020, which was a full lockdown, and then everything sort of started opening up a little bit. They started airing for about three weeks, but then there was a second full lockdown. So we were just at home, I wasn’t really working, I wasn’t really travelling or experiencing anything. Then when I got the call to do [Drag Race UK vs The World], it was a full lockdown again. Even when I went to stores to get fabrics, they would tell me; “Oh, we haven’t ordered new fabrics in a year, because there’s just no businesses shipping from China”. There were very limited options. I had to make a lot of compromises with looks because I did both of my seasons in full lockdown. It’s not an excuse, but I just want people to appreciate a little bit more, because it’s just not easy doing these things in a full lockdown situation.

Drag Race UK vs The World concludes with its grand finale Tuesday (8 March) on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer.