Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve & Talent are what it takes to make it on RuPaul’s Drag Race, but Canadian queen Jimbo has once again, changed the game entirely. Adding in a hearty dose of “clowning” to his RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 8 run, Jimbo kept the judges and audience in stitches with his larger than life runway creations and beyond hilarious interpretation of characters like Shirley Temple (his Snatch Game is a virtual master class). As Jimbo gets ready to headline a world tour and a brand new show on WOW Presents Plus, I sat down with the newest addition to the Drag Race Hall of Fame. We discussed everything from his path to the crown to how being a clown has shaped his drag style.
Michael Cook: Condragulations! You are the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 8!
Jimbo: I am over the moon, it’s an acid dream. I am in that Hall of Fame now!
MC: We first got to fall in love with you on Season One of Canada’s Drag Race and then even more on UK vs The World. Joining the cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 8 as a bit of a surprise, you have now conquered some amazing competitors. Does it feel like the amazing accomplishment that it is?
J: It does, it is literally my wildest dream come true. As a fan of drag and a fan of Drag Race, I saw the Hall of Fame, I saw those queens, and I dreamed about one day being in there; I used to think “what are the chances”? My community, we used to watch the show and they would say “Jimbo, if you could get on this show you have what it takes, you would win”. Everyone really believed in me and pushed me forward and I just had so much support from so many designers, artists, my partner, and a huge community of people that have gotten me to this point. It’s amazing, it feels like a celebration for me and my fans and my community all around the world.
MC: This season of All Stars had it’s own dose of drama, but you seemed, for the most part, to stay out of the fray. Was that by design?
J: I am definitely a distractible person. It is hard not to get sucked into it. Being on the other two competition series, it really helped me understand what to prioritize in those moments. I was really there to have the best time, nothing was going to get me down. I was there to be compassionate and try to give as much as I could to the other competitors about the process.
It really is a sisterhood; after the pandemic and after everything I think there has been a shift in terms of a perspective about competition. I think its okay to strive for the best an be comfortable enough to help people along the way; and that is what I tried to do.
MC: Bringing a Canadian perspective of drag into the United States drag scene, what do you think are the largest and starkest differences in the drag scenes between the North and here?
J: I think the best is that the beauty of drag is is that we are more alike than different. What is resounding to me is that as I am traveling around, I am seeing a lot of the same people who want to be loved, to be seen, and just want a space to be free and be celebrated for their uniqueness. I think that is what I have found going around; a great global community and we all need to realize that there is a lot more alike between us all.
MC: You are the type pf performer that we never know what is going to do on stage. You harken back to a late 90’s style of drag, very underground and irreverent. Where does so much of your inspiration come from?
J: Well I went to clown school, and so clowning is an art form that informs my understanding between the audience and the performer. Clowning is really at the root of all of my performances.
Clowning is all about going with your worst idea and having the best time in the moment. That is what I try to do, I try to surprise myself. I try to ask, What is going to make me laugh, what is going to spark interest, what is sparking my interest right now? And staying curious; that is what is really important to me, staying curious.
MC: So in a way, your signature large bust is your own aesthetic, like clowns have their own signature aesthetics?
J: Clowns are all about more, more, bigger bigger. I think its all about big ideas and I like things big. Sometimes I have big breasts, sometimes I have a big bootie, sometimes I have a big titty booty (laughs)!
MC: You expressed frustration not winning a lip sync this year, performance after performance. When you finally snagged a win, was it truly such a sense of satisfaction that you felt?
J: Totally. I am a perfectionist and my brain is trying to figure stuff out always. Coming back and being on the main stage and performing for Ru and having it not go the way that I wanted it to go when it goes so well in so many other instances…I travel the world and my shows are full and sold out. I have incredible shows and performances and for some reason, it was just not translating to these shows with Ru.
I had to really think about what it was that really was not lining up and it was that I really needed to create something in that moment that was thoughtful and specific between the song, my performance and my point of view. Once I understood that, I didn’t have to just be up there in a pretty dress. I kept trying to be beautiful and dance and I could lip sync, but I couldn’t do the dance part. Once I realized that I was going to squeeze in my own sense of humor and my own intention into the whole thing, it all clicked.
MC: We never thought that your brilliant interpretation of Shirley Temple would be on anyone’s 2023 Bingo card, This summer though, we have been seeing Shirley Temple doing “Padam Padam” all over the world!
J: Yes, its been wild. Tap dancing all over!
MC: It was just announced that you are getting your own WOW Presents Plus show, Jimbo Presents: It’s My Special Show! It looks to be a bit of a hybrid between The Carol Burnett Show and Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, is that fair to say?
J: Yes, very that. A little talk show, I have some celebrity guests and we are going to be playing games and it’s just gonna be really fun. I will be doing a little bit with my drag personas and characters and that’s really fun. I also have my own solo tour coming out, where I tour around America and Canada with Murray and Peter Presents. It’s called Jimbo’s Drag Circus. I also have a cruise that I am doing with Heidi (N. Closet), Kandy (Muse) and Jessica (Wild); so if you need a vacation, it’s February 10th through the 17th, we will be cruising around the Caribbean!
MC: Your partner Brady truly is your biggest supporter and your biggest cheerleader. What is it like to have someone like Brady in your corner constantly?
J: Drag takes a village. Brady is so incredible, drag is so exhausting. It’s really our little business. We have our own little store and brand, House of Jimbo where we we make merch and we want to have our own fashion line. We work with factories and create out own clothing. We’re working away and it is really exciting, working is one of my love languages. I love getting into it with somebody and producing, having a mission and being successful; I think it is all really exciting.
Brady has been instrumental in my whole journey. He has believed in me and he has worked alongside me night and day. It just feels like a win for both of us, it is everything to have his support. He is there for all of the places I can’t reach and the things that I can’t do; he is amazing. He starts where I end…
MC: Our culture is so polarizing and so volatile at times. How do you inspire people to push back on the rhetoric that is coming towards us that feels overwhelming at times?
J: My mom always used to tell me, “You know Jimbo, people are going to try to stop you, people are going to tell you that it can’t be done; don’t listen to them. You need to follow your heart, follow your truth, follow your own voice. Persevere. Fight for your space and fight to be seen”. That is the work that has been done by generations before, queer people have been fighting, POC people have been fighting, people of all different marginalized communities have been fighting and that is what we will continue to do. What we need to do is continue to listen, be compassionate, and more forward with love.
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