Jan's RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6 Jantasy is now a Jandetta of pep: 'Get into it or get out!'
Jan tells EW what she's learned from her AS6 critiques and why she's not going to give up on her attitude because of trolls online: "I'm proud of what I'm doing."
If Denali weaponized a BFA, Jan detonated an MFA of excellence across RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6 — but, prior to her unprecedented elimination after a shocking tie vote from the group tipped the power into challenge winner Trinity K. Bonet's hands — not everyone was feeling the Jantasy. And in the wake of an admittedly unexpected wave of face-cracking criticism from fans, the season 12 alum only feels reinvigorated to keep spreading a message of positivity across all that she does, whether you like it or not.
"You have to go through those growing pains and critiques to grow," Jan tells EW of the feedback she's gotten this season, her time on which came to an end Thursday after she landed in the bottom against Pandora Boxx. The judges gave a lukewarm response to both queens' sets during the fan-favorite girl group challenge — which came after the panel repeatedly suggested that Jan tone down her "110 percent" attitude this season. "The critiques I got from the judges, I understand. Ross gave me some great critiques about the peaks and valleys and using my perkiness and peppiness as something that's wonderful and magnetic about me, but to have those levels and those layers will be important. Hearing that alone has changed what I do when I'm on stage, in interviews, and filming things; that helps me a lot. I don't regret what I did because it will help me grow into the future…. To hear [critiques] weren't fun, but it's something I'm appreciative of."
Below, Jan further reflects on what she's learned (and changed) since filming AS6, how she feels about Bonet telling her to dig in her stiletto heels and commit to that peppy attitude, how she really feels about the trolls online, and whether or not her iconic grandmother is writing another letter to RuPaul to set the Emmy-winning host straight for sending her beloved grandchild packing yet again. Read ahead for the full interview, and tune in to the next new episode of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6 Thursday on Paramount+.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Hello Jan! I have to start by asking: Usually, queens are sort of like,"I don't like being eliminated, but it makes sense," but does this elimination make sense to you, all these months later?
JAN: The elimination is valid! While I did have a win, this was my third time in the bottom. Pandora had been doing a good job up until now. I understand why it happened. It wasn't a shock to me. Watching back, it very much seemed like it was my time.
It looked like, in the moment, it took a toll on you. Has processing it made it easier for you to deal with it?
Totally. Leaving, I felt so much better about my run on All Stars 6 than I did about season 12. I think other people have a different opinion on that, but I don't. I'm really happy with what I did. It's sad, you don't want to go or leave the competition, especially on a challenge you think you could excel in, but it's life.
Especially given the reaction online, there's a noticeable difference in how you were received on season 12 to now. What was that like, personally, coming off of a warm reception on season 12 to what you're navigating now?
It's weird. It happened overnight! The response after the first two episodes was great, people were like, "She did great in the talent show and the ball!" Then, episode 3 happened, and people were upset that I wasn't up for elimination when nobody put my name down. As Silky and a lot of the girls said, you should vote how you want to vote because it's your vote. If people wanted to do that, they would've put my name down. But nobody did. Even though people were upset about that, the fact of the matter is that's how it happened. That's what the consensus was in the room. It was strange that that was the beginning of the end for me. Even weirder, I won the challenge the week after and it didn't feel like a celebration for me.... it wasn't fun for me to experience, but I learned a lot from it: The opinions from the people I care about and respect, they care about me and love me and are proud of me; that's all I need.
If you had to go out in a fitting Jan way, though, doing it in a shocking tie was the perfect fanfare for you, because it was such a spectacle. We have to talk about the stuff that led here: You kept getting the "over the top" critique, and you did say this episode that you 'didn't know which notes to hit,' and it seemed like getting that specific critique earlier led to you trying to play to or please all facets — because you know how the show works and what works on the show, it seemed like you were trying to play to the judges, to the other queens, and give the audience something they'd enjoy all at the same time. Is that an accurate critique, and what, in hindsight, do you think you would've done to combat letting that overwhelm you?
I don't think I would've done anything differently. You have to go through those growing pains and critiques to grow. I've only been doing this for five years. I did a regular season and All Stars. It's early on in my career. The critiques I got from the judges, I understand. Ross gave me some great critiques about the peaks and valleys and using my perkiness and peppiness as something that's wonderful and magnetic about me, but to have those levels and those layers will be important. Hearing that alone has changed what I do when I'm on stage, in interviews, and filming things; that helps me a lot. I don't regret what I did because it will help me grow into the future…. To hear [critiques] weren't fun, but it's something I'm appreciative of.
Speaking of authenticity: These vocals, we have to clarify: You did sing live in the talent show, right? I want to make sure we get your story on that moment from my elimination interview with Silky.
Yes, I sang live in the talent show! I had an in-ear piece, which I wouldn't have had if I didn't sing live. You can see me absolutely going for it. I was for sure singing live.
Given what people were saying about giving 110% and being over the top, I thought that gave extra poignance to what Trinity said after she revealed your lipstick, she encouraged you to keep it 110%. What did that mean to you to hear her say that, telling you to dig your heels in with that as you were leaving, and did you have any words with Trinity after filming ended about why she chose you?
I totally understood Trinity's decision. I have a lot of love and respect for her. I looked up to her on season 6. She's such an amazing performer. Everyone wants something different from me: Keep my energy and authenticity and keep being 110 percent myself, and then people are like, you know what, we don't want that all the time. I have to trust myself. I've come to terms with the fact that I'm a polarizing figure: People like me or they don't. That's fine. As long as I like myself, that's all I care about. I love that the people who do see it and do appreciate it, that's awesome. I think Trinity is one of those people. She's a big cheerleader for me, and I have nothing but love and respect reciprocated for her. I'm glad she sees the real stuff.
I was also so gagged at the reveal that your grandma wrote a letter to RuPaul after your elimination on season 12. She actually sent that?
There was a letter sent to World of Wonder's P.O. Box! She's hilarious. She's my biggest fan. She's always been just such an advocate for me as a performer and to express myself. I owe so much of my love for theater and exposure to music and the arts to her and my grandfather and my parents. She was upset, because she's an Italian woman from Brooklyn, bitch. So, she feels. She wanted me to win. She wanted to let that be known.
What did it say?
[Laughs] I think she was just upset about it and to bring me back on All Stars. I don't remember the exact verbiage. I actually would've loved a phone call, because that woman is very expressive and funny.
I stan your grandmother. Did she write another letter this season?
I don't know if she's writing another letter. I'll have to be in touch. Maybe we can make that video.
You also had some great moments this season, the talent show was superb, you gave multiple face cracks, were you leaning more into the face cracks knowing that was such a hit?
Honestly, no. I'm just an expressive person and I can't hide what's on my face. You can tell when I have an absolute frown on my face, it's not put on and can't be duplicated or imitated unless I'm really feeling it. I wasn't trying to force that. But there were many of those moments this season, for sure.
What was it like getting your first win this season? Did it feel like validation after weeks of being declared safe even though you did well in the challenges?
It was awesome and validating for me. I'd like to think I belong in the room, and if you're worth your salt, you have to prove it. Winning made me feel like I was on the right path to getting to where I needed to go. This psychological moment I was going through in the first two episodes, everyone was on my side feeling good about it, I do well in the challenge two weeks after, I've done really great in three of the four challenges we've had so far, I'm doing well in the competition. I was like, are ya'll watching the same competition I'm watching, because I'm doing really good!
Then we get to the runway, and you and Ginger Minj had a similar look. You turned it into the Night of 1000 J.Los that fans have been begging for. Take me back to the moment you and Ginger both realized you had almost the same look as inspiration.
We were thrilled! Ginger and I love camp, theater, and to really go for it in that world. When we had it together, it was like, of course. We got really close on set, and to see that we were in-sync again, I wasn't surprised or shocked. It was funny to be like, yeah, we're on the same page here, babe. I was all in. Sweetie, we had six construction workers in the ball, we'll be fine with two J.Los tonight.
After all of this, is there a message you want to impart on the fans? What would you say to them or stress to them about the way they treat all the queens on the show?
It's really not that serious! We're all having a good time, we're all there to make good TV, and we enjoy each other. I'm glad you have your opinions, you really don't need to tag us in any of them. We don't care! My favorite part about this whole experience, on some of my worst weeks when I was in the bottom, I was in front of crowds [at shows], people who are supportive of me and supportive of drag. That's where I live. That's where I thrive. To the fans who show up at the gigs, to the fans who are online being supportive, I love you and appreciate you. We need you now more than ever with all the hate that's going on. Keep sending love and support the cast members of the show. Just be nice! I'm such an advocate for positivity and kindness in a world that's horrible, and I get s--- for it. That's the reality, but I'm happy to be one of the people putting something positive in the world. I want to make people smile and bring people joy, and no one can take that away from me…. I love what I do and I'm going to keep doing it.
What's next for you? Has the Jantasy turned into a Jandetta?
I'm writing music right now, that's at the forefront of my mind, with myself and Stephanie's Child. We're hard at work with each other, we want to give music to ya'll. I'm doing more TV, doing more film. I was so worried about what was going to happen after the response I've been getting. Am I still booked at the club? Yes. Am I still getting paychecks and endorsement deals? Yes. That's what's important to me. Expect to see me doing the same shenanigans what I've been doing. Get into it, or get out!
A Star Is Born II starring Jan as Ally Maine?
Star of stage and screen! You'll just have to see. We're working, I'm proud of what I'm doing right now. We'll find out soon.
Maybe a Jennifer's Body sequel.
That's actually what I do want to do! The Jannifer's Body concert was a big success. I plan on doing a lot more with filming concerts and shows. I want to go more into the digital route, knowing I have a fanbase that doesn't live here or can access a club, so I want to do those things for them, too. Expect it all from me, doll.
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