Miss Vanjie is feeling the heat of the competition in EW’s exclusive sneak peek at tonight’s all-new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
The returning competitor — who originally sashayed away at the end of season 10’s first episode and went on to become an internet phenomenon — breaks down in the Werk Room as she measures the weight of her iconic status against her season 11 output thus far.
“It’s important for me to do well in this challenge because I’ve been close, but I haven’t been able to hit the home run,” Vanjie tells fellow competitors A’Keria Chanel Davenport and Silky Nutmeg Ganache as they prepare runway looks for the main stage. “I want to do one for Mama Ru, because she brought me back. I feel like I’ve been letting her down a little bit.”
“Lately I feel like I haven’t been improving. We’re halfway through the competition and I haven’t even won a mini challenge,” she continues through tears. “I feel like it’s a lot of expectations from a lot of people.”
Upon entering the Drag Race fray for the second time, Vanjie had built up a memorable legacy, with her backwards-sashay out of season 10 became an instant meme and catapulted her to instant fame among the show’s fanbase. To date, she’s yet to triumph with a challenge victory, though she has won positive critiques for her boundary-pushing fashions and eccentric personality in the acting challenges.
Still, as Vanjie says, “I need to do something, because I want people to know I’m not just here to kiki and hang out. We all came to perform our best. I need to step it up because I’ve been safe!”
See if she rises to the top when RuPaul’s Drag Race returns Thursday at 9:00 p.m. ET on VH1.