Interview: Drag Race season 13 queen Joey Jay on runway confusion with Carson and being a new kind of sex symbol
The run of Season 13’s self-proclaimed “filler queen” may have come to an early end, but not before Joey Jay was able to act as representation for basic bitches everywhere.
The Arizona-based queen won over cast members (Kandy Muse, in particular) and fans alike with her looks and charm, but ultimately fell victim to the three-look mega Bag Ball, preceded by a moment of confused contention between Joey and judge Carson Kressley about what exactly Joey was, well, trying to say.
After an intense lip sync with LaLa Ri, Joey was sent packing. To hear Joey tell it, she knew her time in the sun was probably going to be brief, and she did her best to make the most of it.
Daniel Trainor and Sam Stone chatted with Joey about that moment with Carson, the lip sync with LaLa and the power that comes with being adored for exactly who you are.
Sam Stone: Hi, Joey. Thanks so much for being here with us.
Joey Jay: Hi, Daniel and Sam!
Stone: I have to start by thanking you for representing the Gay Ass Bitch community.
Joey: We are here and we are queer! And we are thriving.
Daniel Trainor: Let’s talk about the Bag Ball. It seemed like a lot of girls were helping each other, while you did your own thing. Some of the girls couldn’t sew, which always shocks me a little bit on this show. What are your thoughts on the camaraderie in the Werk Room and the fact that some of your competitors needed assistance?
Joey: I don’t think you have to know how to sew to do Drag Race. Kameron Michaels is a really great example of that. Kameron Michaels doesn’t sew. Jujubee doesn’t sew. And they’re legends. It definitely helps, but if you want to play that game, go ahead and play that game. I know how to use a sewing machine. I mean, I made that 15-foot tongue I wore. I don’t just know how to sew leotards and bodysuits. We didn’t have time for all of us to share the sewing machines, so I was confident that I could use safety pins and hot glue. Actually, I am really proud of that garment. It was completely rhinestoned. It was the only one that was rhinestoned. The judges might not have liked it, but that’s okay because they don’t have to wear it. As long as I felt good in it, I didn’t care.
Stone: When you were performing that lip sync and LaLa’s dress was falling apart, what were you thinking?
Joey: LaLa is one of the best entertainers in the industry. I’ve seen videos of her when she does Beyonce and it’s so fucking epic. I knew that LaLa and I were going to be in the bottom. I know I’m a fierce lip syncer, but I knew that LaLa had a lot to offer. I knew there was a very good chance that I wasn’t going to win the lip sync. There’s only one winner, somebody has to go home every week. My strategy was about making moments. Filler queen! I ran up to Utica before and I said “I put money in my purse.” She was like “What?” and I said “You’ll see!” I threw the money in the air because I might be going home, but I’m going to be the lip sync that you look up on YouTube.
Trainor: Speaking of moments, there was this confusion on the runway between you and Carson about the IV bag and Poison Ivy distinction. Can you explain what you were thinking during that exchange?
Joey: (laughs) So, the name of the challenge was Mixed Bag. You had to come up with a pun that’s part of the phrase, like IV bag. Poison Ivy does not have the word “bag” in it.
Trainor: That is famously true.
Joey: I got what he was saying, but I was trying to go that route. I wanted to have ivy and I wanted to have my IV bag and I wanted to have my wet hair. I wanted this poison-esque long, red nail creepy nurse kind of feel. My arm was infected with veins! I had blue and green track marks. So yeah, poison-esque. When he was like “Why didn’t you do Poison IV Bag?,” it’s like because that’s not a thing, baby.
Stone: What was it like being the apple of Kandy Muse’s eye?
Joey: It was an honor and it continues to be an honor. I adore Kandy so much. Kandy, I have to tell you, I didn’t know what to expect at first when she called me out while we were standing around the table. It wasn’t until when I watched the episode and she said how much she loved me and loved how feminine I was. When someone embraces you for the thing that you have been picked on for your whole life, it feels so good. The fact that we’re taking a really feminine boy who likes to wear women’s clothing and high ponytails and make-up, and we’re putting that on a pedestal and calling it “trade,” rather than a cis-white, 200-pound, muscled hypermasculine man, it’s so cool to me. It’s so beautiful. It just shows that our community is progressing in a much more open-minded direction.
Trainor: Could you ever have anticipated what a sex symbol you have become?
Joey: No! No, never. It’s so crazy to me. I’ve always been told that I’m cute or handsome, and I’m so grateful for that. Thank you, Mom! But I don’t walk out of the house like “I am so fucking hot.” No, that’s not me. I’m not my type. I don’t see myself dating a little gay boy drag queen. But if y’all want to, I will take it. I’m a Leo. I love attention. You could be an enemy, an ex or a rock. I will take the compliment.
Trainor: I would love to ask about doing drag in Arizona. What does performing there mean to you and how has it impacted your overall drag aesthetic?
Joey: The community here has really accepted me with open arms and embraced my drag. Phoenix is full of weirdos. If you do drag, you’re a weirdo. Some people might disagree. But you’re cross-dressing for sweaty dollars. Who wants to be normal? Who wants to be a basic bitch? I mean…I do. But you know. We have so much talent here. I’m so happy that they embraced me and that I was able to grow into what I am now. Now I’m using my platform to shine light on these entertainers who deserve it.
Trainor: If that’s what you’re able to do after being on Drag Race, it makes it all worth it. Congratulations on everything, Joey.
Joey: Thank you so much!
Photo Credits: Joey Jay via Instagram, Scott Kirby, VH1 via Tom and Lorenzo