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The Interview

The Interview: Jolina Jasmine

The Interview

Hi there Jolina Jasmine! Happy New Year! How are you gurl?

Hello! I’m doing very well. Thank you for asking!

I’m really excited to talk with you. This is my first interview of the year. Did you have a nice New Year’s Eve?

Aww that’s exciting! Yes, I had an amazing New Years Eve, from what I remember at least. *Laughs* I spent the night ringing in the New Year at my hometown nightclub Paradise, here in New Jersey! I was surrounded with close friends, so it was amazing.

Sounds like a wonderful way to start 2019! For our readers outside the tri-state area, what is the drag scene in Jersey like?

The drag scene in New Jersey is very small. The distance between our two main nightclubs, Paradise and Feathers, is a little over an hour. The drag here is very eclectic. It’s mainly drag queens, however, we have some talented male performers and club kids coming onto the scene as well. Because our drag scene is so small, however, we all pretty much know each other and are a very close knit group.

Let’s hop in the Delorean and head back in a time a bit, shall we? Where does your origin story begin?

Let’s do it! Okay, so I started playing with makeup and trying out drag back around 2009. I was just going out in drag and getting a feel for it. Once I became comfortable with it, a year later, I did my first show. It was a competition on Long Island.

What was your first exposure to drag when you were growing up? Are you Jersey born and bred?

Yes, I’m Jersey born and raised. My first experience with drag was at a nightclub known as Deko. Deko was one of the hottest nightclubs in Jersey at the time. I was actually terrified of drag queens at first. I think it was because I was so young and didn’t quite understand the art behind it. Little did I know years later I would become one. *Laughs*

What gave you the push to start playing around with makeup and to try drag?

Growing up, I loved being on stage and in the spotlight. I would always do my plays at school and what not. I’m a Leo, so I guess that’s why. *laughs* I’ve always been super creative as well. I love drawing and creating outfits and then makeup came along. Once I started playing with makeup, I decided to try and bring my costumes to life. It eventually had a snowball effect and turned into a complete character.

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So where did Jolina Jasmine come from? How would you describe her to someone that has yet to see you perform?

I came up with Jolina Jasmine from my two idols: Angelina Jolie and Princess Jasmine! Jolina is an anagram of Angelina’s first and last name, and I got Jasmine because I’ve always loved the Disney Princess and the similarities in our ethnic backgrounds. When I first started coming out, all of my looks were inspired by her. I had Middle Eastern fabrics and big dark hair. Over time that changed a bit as I discovered new looks to play around with, but I think that specific image is Jolina Jasmine in a nutshell. As far as my style of drag goes, I would consider myself a fishy, high energy dance queen with a PhD in pageantry. I sometimes branch out into the pageant world, but I haven’t done so in a bit.

Oh! So let’s hit on the important issues then! What are your initial impressions on what you have seen from the upcoming live-action
Aladdin movie?

It looks TERRIBLE! I haven’t been that disappointed since I wet to Disney World a few years ago and saw they cut off all of Princess Jasmine’s hair. Absolutely tragic. Although, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed. To be honest, they should have asked me to play Jasmine. After all, I’m an actress darling.

Is it too late to get the online petition for that to happen?

It’s never too late! *laughs*

Have you done a full fledged Princess Jasmine look in drag yet? I can’t lie. I will be disappointed if you haven’t yet.

I’ve done Princess Jasmine looks, but I wasn’t fully committed to it. I’ve been working on this one costume for about three years. When I actually do a Princess Jasmine look, I really want to do her justice. All the way down to the details. I want to rival the Broadway costume, which you know has thousands of Swarovski’s crystals on it.

Just a little something to throw on when you’re headed to store?

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Yes. It’s just a little something to drop the kids off at soccer practice or just a casual stroll to the mailbox. You know, wave to the neighbors and let them know I’m a Princess. That sort of thing. *laughs*

Representation in media is a big talking point these days. What did you mean for you as kid to see characters like Aladdin and Jasmine on the big screen?

That was a huge thing for me. I definitely don’t think Middle Eastern representation in the media today is prominent enough, and what little bit we do have isn’t exactly the greatest. That’s one of the main reasons why I’m so attracted to Aladdin. It always makes me super happy when I get messages on my social media or at my shows from other Arab/Middle Eastern people who thank me for bringing that little bit of representation through my drag. I know how they feel because I’ve felt that way at one point also. So it makes me happy to know I’m making them happy.

Well we have reached to most dangerous part of the interview, THE LIGHTNING ROUND! Are you ready??

YES! I love living dangerously! Let’s do it!

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Must have makeup item?

False eyelashes. Lilly lashes to be exact.

4 AM post show food craving?

Halal food trucks.

The best part of drag?

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Being appreciated for my original art.

The worst part of drag?

The shade and drama.

Most surprising thing about you that people might not know?

I’m absolutely terrible at gay pop culture.

Queen you would pay to see?

Just about every major (non-Drag Race) NYC queen right now.

Guilty Pleasure?

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Binge watching Netflix with snacks.

Last movie to make you cry?

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Death Row last meal?

Filet mignon with Parmesan mashed potatoes and roasted haricot verts.

Netflix Binge recommendation?

RuPaul’s Drag Race of course.

Disney character you relate to the most?

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Aside from Aladdin, Maleficent.

Final question, most embarrassing song on your phone?

*Laughs* Probably my own song that I wrote called I Slay

Did you release that song?

I’ve performed it live once! But I haven’t released it yet.

Key word is yet?

Exactly! It needs a bit of fine tuning *laughs*

Well, I feel very confident in saying that you survived THE LIGHTNING ROUND without any issues so congrats!

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I can do this in my sleep! *laughs*That was so much fun!

So what else in on your proverbial drag bucket list to accomplish?

I want to perform for a huge crowd of over a thousand people. I want to release the final version of my song. And I want to finally visit the west coast. Drag Race would be amazing, as well! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can achieve all of those things.

Well until all of those things become reality, where can people find you?

You can find me on Instagram at @JolinaJasmine. My Twitter and Facebook are both @JolinaJasmine1. My YouTube page to see all my performances is also @JolinaJasmine. And I perform all throughout the East Coast, mainly in New Jersey and New York! Paradise is my official New Jersey home club. It’s is a nightclub with a hotel attached to it! There are six bars, three rooms, an outdoor pool area, and state of the art light and sound systems! The owner, Shep Pettibone, was one of Madonna‘s producers. He basically is the reason for the song Vogue and many of her other hits, as well as artists such as Janet Jackson and Tony Humphries.

You had me at six bars gurl!

*laughs* It’s honestly such a great time!!

Well my dear, I’m so glad we got talk tonight and I can’t wait to see what you do next. Before we head off and sample all six of those bars, do you have any final words of wisdom for the WERRRK .com universe?

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Always be nice to others. What you put out there will come back to you. 

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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