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The Interview: Jan Sport

The Interview: Jan Sport 31

Hi there Jan! Its nice to finally get to sit down and talk with you. How are you doing today?

Hey Chiffon! It’s great to finally sit down with you too! I’m doing GREAT! How are you?

Well my body is rejecting the idea of rolling in at 4:30 in the morning like I did the other night but other than that, I can’t complain. Besides, nobody listens anyway.

Laughs Well my body is rejecting the idea of me watching Golden Girls at 4:30 in the morning, but I’m glad we’re both living to see another day!

Oh god. Picture it! Chiffon’s timeline. 2017. Literally EVERYONE on my timeline is watching The Golden Girls on Hulu it seems!

It’s true! The queers need their vices! And now that Drag Race is off Hulu, we gotta fill the void and soak up all the Betty White we have!

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Photo by Jeff Mills Photography

As someone who wasn’t around when the show initially aired, why does The Golden Girls still resonate with you?

I think that as a younger generation queer, I think it’s very important to not be ignorant to the shows/ movies/ pop culture references that have seemed to have shaped not only characters in our own pop culture today, but helped shape the identities of folks in our community. Every now and again I will make a Facebook status asking what movies or series to watch that are before my time, and I always try to watch those with a close eye. They have stood the test of time for a reason, and I like to form my opinion on why that is!

Wow…I wasn’t expecting a pageant quality answer, All that was missing there was, “And world peace.”.

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Laughs I’m shocked I missed an opportunity for a Miss Congeniality reference! It’s one of my favorite movies of all time!

Mine too. In fact, all that snow last week made me wish it was the perfect date.

Ugh me too! But hey, April 25th is getting closer and closer. Hopefully Trump will be out of office by then. Then it could REALLY be the perfect date

I hope we can make it until April 25th without him destroying the world by then. Speaking of El Presidente Trump, how has his ascension influenced your drag?

I find that my drag performances are very niche. I have a pretty specific style that I like to follow, but one of the only mixes I have that isn’t sung or of Kris Jenner is a Trump mix. To be honest, I never thought that I would want to make a mix giving this many any more attention than he already has, but I think that bringing light to his insanity every chance that we can is important. I will say that I think overall, the community has strengthened so much since he was elected. Before he was elected I felt like the community got a little too comfortable in terms of being exclusionary, especially to femme gays, women, gays of color, and the trans/ non binary community. With Obama, we were on top of the world in a way. We didn’t have as many things to worry about, but now that a man and his cult followers who threatens our freedoms, has come into power, we need to stick together, and I think we have!

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Its funny. Obviously things are horrible and scary but much like you said, I think not only the LGBTQ community got comfortable, I think almost every did. If this nightmare accomplishes anything, it might shake the country and especially the media out of their doldrums. Either that, or I hope we all wind up in the same re-education camp if nothing else.

Oh you and I both baby. And you’re right, I do agree that everyone in general did get comfortable. This was kind of a wake up call to not take things for granted! I’ve seen a bunch of queens who have a bigger platform than I do, use it for love and acceptance and also being critical of Trump. I think it’s really awesome and important work that needs to be done!

I agree, I think now more than even, queens have a role to play in the resistance. I mean, we always have but now, the stakes are even higher. You talk about queens with a big platform, who are some of the more visible queens that you look up to?

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I think in our immediate NYC community, Marti Gould Cummings has done a tremendous job in being extremely vocal and active in getting people to be aware and resist. My mother, Alexis Michelle always has something to say at her shows that is informative and poignant about him, while in turn also brings us together and makes us thankful for having each other. She always spreads love and acceptance at her shows and that’s something I admire most about her. I also remember Judy Darling doing most of the Meryl Streep speech at her show Knockout when I was guesting there. The one about calling out Trump’s performance of mocking a disabled reporter. Something with that was just magnetizing and it will always stick with me.

Oh gosh, I know so many people have said it but for the life of me, I just don’t understand how this madness didn’t end right then and there…..his mocking the reporter, not Judy’s performance that is laughs

Laughs I got you. I agree. It baffles me. I can’t even dwell on it in anymore because the reality is that it’s here, it’s present, and we need to combat it as much as we can!

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Photo by James Avance Photography

For sure, let’s segue to something happier and  go back in time then, shall we? Where are you from originally?

Let’s! I was born and raised in New Jersey and am still living here… for now….

Oh…..New Jersey? Um…I think I need to go.

Laughs It’s not as bad as people like to think it is! I love it here!

I mean….I guess its okay awkward laugh So what was your first exposure to drag that you remember growing up in….shudder New Jersey?

To be honest, I really didn’t know anything about drag queens until I got to college in Boston. That’s where I learned everything I know now. My boyfriend at the time got me into Drag Race when season 6 was just airing and I never looked back!

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What were you studying in college? braces for “musical theatre”

I studied Musical Theatre at the Boston Conservatory!

OF COURSE YOU WERE!!! Seriously, basically every single New York City queen I have ever interviewed studied musical theatre! I KNEW your answer before you said it Laughs

Laughs If you couldn’t tell by all of the material I like to sing, you know now!

Actually I forgot who it was but one of them studied play writing. That’s the biggest variance I’ve had. Actually, I think it was Erika Klash now that I let it percolate for a moment. So what attracted you to drag after your initial exposure?

After my initial exposure it all kind of came together for me. I had always been infatuated with makeup, I loved the performance element of it, and I just admired the transformation so much. As I got into RPDR, I also started to get more into queens who weren’t on the show and fell in love with those. Queens like Coco Peru, Lady Bunny, those queens. And it showed me that drag isn’t always this or that, but can be done in anyway that you choose to perform gender, and I thought that was really cool.

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Its a cliche question but how did you settle on the name Jan Sport? And did you wear your Jansport with one strap or two straps?

Well I had a couple of names that I tossed around. Jan Sport was always one of the favorites just because I thought it was clever and funny. My other one was Dewey Decimal, which I used for a project when I was in college, and then another one was Kiki Tzaziki which I came up with while I was on a cruise ship job in Greece! But Jan Sport was definitely the one that resonated with me and everyone else the most! And most of the time, one strap. I’m a cool mom!

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Laughs Good gurl! Speaking of moms, how did your spectacular Kris Jenner illusion come about?

It’s a pretty funny story! It all really happened on accident. When I first started to dabble in doing makeup on my own, a friend of mine said that I should paint like Kris Jenner! So i decided to do that! When I went to go paint, I turned on the show because truth be told I had never watched the show. I put on a random season and started at the first episode of that season, season 9 to be exact. and as I was finishing up painting, the third episode of that season started playing and it was called “All That Jazz”. the episode was full of Kris Jenner trying to get in Chicago on Broadway. and the material was just so good, I said “I have to do something with this!” and so i did! I performed it for my first time doing drag in NYC in a competition and I ended up winning against some really great competitors!

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Thanks to those drag surveys going around this week, several people have already said that you might do the best Kris in the business. Having seen you do it at the 2016 Glam Awards with several other queens, I would be hard pressed to argue that sentiment. What is it like performing in front of a packed house full of your peers and NYC drag royalty.

Well thank you! I appreciate it! The GLAM Awards were pretty amazing. I have to say, I had only being doing drag for four months at that point, and to be able to perform in front of all of those people and get the feedback I got was incredible. It just lit a fire in me to keep working hard and to follow this through. I never thought I’d be doing drag as much as I do, but I have to be grateful for it and keep working hard at it. I believe that one door always opens another and how I happened upon theatre led me to Boston, and Boston led me to my then boyfriend, and he led me to drag, and drag is going to lead me to something else. I have to keep following it and see where it takes me!

Where do you see it leading you? Do you have any goals set for yourself, a drag bucket list so to speak?

I definitely have big goals set for it. It’s all starting small but my short term goals are having my own shows, writing my own cabaret, and recording an album. My long term goals are to be on Drag Race, and to bridge the gap into having drag become a part of mainstream culture. I want to be on the radio, I want to be in movies, I want to be on Broadway. not just as Jan Sport but also as my boy self. I want to be out in the world as Jan and Charlie and show everyone that gender is performative.

Gee, is that all?

For now!

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In the meantime, how do you feel about some lightning round questions?

Lets do it!

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Must have makeup item?

Beauty Blender!

Drag role model?

Alexis Michelle!

4am post drag food craving?

Wawa mac and cheese

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Best part of drag?

Performing songs that I normally would never get to do as a boy

Worst part of drag?

brow coverage

Most surprising thing about you people might not know?

me and my dad were born on the same day and the same hour!

If not for drag, what would you be doing?

Musical theatre, which I am still pursuing!

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Guilty pleasure?

Keeping Up with the Kardashians. I know everyone hates it but I genuinely love it! Laughs

Death row last meal?

A hung top

Last movie to make you cry?

Laughs Inside Out!

Netflix binge recommendation?

Stranger Things!

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Last one, most embarrassing song on your phone?

I have the entire Glee discography on my phone

So until all those items on your ambitious bucket list come true, where can people see you in the meantime?

You can Keep up with Jan Sport on Instagram @jansportnyc and you can catch me at The Green Room in the Yotel on April 8th at 9pm for my one woman show “I Am Kris” ! I guest all around NYC a couple times a week as well! I always post about it on my Instagram!

Well thank you so much for you time today Jan! I’m looking forward to seeing your career unfold. Do you have any final words of wisdom for our readers before you get back to watching more Golden Girls?

Thank YOU Chiffon! This has been so wonderful! And on the note of Golden Girls, educate yourself with queer history!!

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Written By

(she/her) Despite being a drag journalist for over a decade, Chiffon only recently realized that she missed a golden opportunity back then to change her drag name to Rhoda Story.

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