Give RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6 icon Jiggly Caliente a Marvel movie, dammit
The beloved queen, trans trailblazer, and Pose actress talks to EW about her future after returning for another shot at the crown.
Manifest it, speak it into existence: Jiggly as Jubilee, Jiggly as Jubilee, Jiggly as Jubilee...
From Saint-Tropez to Sanitation (Worker) Tropez, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6 icon Jiggly Caliente has made her mark on two seasons of the Emmy-winning reality show, but she's ready for her next venture on the big screen: In an X-Men movie as the famous comic book heroine capable of blasting pyrotechnics from her hands.
"I'm in a different point in my career where I want to be an established actress and be taken seriously in my craft," Caliente — known for playfully spewing fire from her hilariously shady mouth — tells EW after her elimination from All Stars 6. The second episode of the reality competition saw the season 4 alum, Pose star, and trans trailblazer fall victim to a sewing challenge that tasked the queens with making looks inspired by the color blue. "I want to earn my place as an actress in this industry, so if I have to audition my way, I'll continue to do that," she shares.
Read on for EW's full conversation with Caliente, in which she discusses grappling with another design challenge, how she feels about her good friend Ginger Minj casting a vote for her to leave the competition, and representing trans women alongside Kylie Sonique Love on drag's foremost stage.
How are you feeling about going home so early? We're all sad to see you go!
I wish I would've lasted longer, but [they] said let's make these bitches sew! That's the one thing I can't do! [Laughs].
Oh, yes, I'm sure it was a conspiracy from the start! Do you have any vacations planned to Saint-Tropez to take your mind off this?
Oh, hell no! When we got the promo theme, everybody was like, "Saint-Tropez!" I can't ever get away from this! It's all in good fun, it's all beautiful, I'm a good sport with everything from Drag Race!
RuPaul's outfit on the runway this episode seemed deliberately chosen with those colors. Did you take that color palette as a tribute to your boat look?
Oh! I didn't even realize that; I was too busy crying! [Laughs]. If you look at RuPaul's eyes, I feel like she didn't want to say ["sashay away"]. It looked like it hurt her to say!
You're so beloved. It was great seeing you back on All Stars, you came into this as a new woman with fresh perspective who's accomplished so much over the last 10 years. On this episode, you told Ru that you wished you would've fixed certain things about yourself before you went on TV. I was also at a show in New York two years ago, and I remember you telling the audience that you were conflicted and didn't know if you ever wanted to go back. What fueled those initial hesitations, and what ultimately changed?
It was timing! A couple of years ago, seeing my friends not completely happy with how their return to All Stars [played out in the fandom], and I didn't know if it was for me, so I feel like I'm in a different point in my career where I want to be an established actress and be taken seriously in my craft. There's a stigma with reality TV personalities who want to be actors, and that's why, when I auditioned for Pose, I didn't audition as Jiggly Caliente, I auditioned as Bianca! I didn't want people to box me in as a reality star. I wanted people to give me a fair shot. That was my initial hesitance, but the pandemic hit and Pose was like, "We're taking a hiatus!" When I got the call from All Stars, I couldn't possibly turn it down. I'm in a different space in life. It just felt like it was time for me to do this and compete in a whole different mindset, the right mindset to actually compete — and I got my teeth fixed! [Laughs].
What did it meant to you to see, at the highest level of mainstream drag, to have two trans women on the same season?
It felt so good, because this is two different types of trans bodies: a brown woman and a white woman, at different stages of our transition. We've lived our lives as women for so long, but we're completely different. It's different to compete when you feel like you're in your right body and right mind. It's so important because there are a lot of trans people who do drag, so it's nice that the world gets to see that. And Kylie has so many different styles, it's beautiful to be able to showcase that and for the world to see…. And of course the confidence is going to be there. I came in looking expensive!
When Jiggly has the coin, she kills it.
My walk-in outfit was Ryan Murphy money! [Laughs]. Residuals, bitch!
But the design challenge has constantly been your downfall. When you put a look together on your own, you're golden. But your baked potato look and your Saint-Tropez boat look are both so iconic in this fandom for other reasons! Do you still have either of those?
It's the manual making of it that I'm nowhere near as involved with…. So, the Baked Potato Couture, I had to be cut out of that. Jaremi and Dida [Ritz] had to cut me out of that because I hot glued it to my undergarments. When Michelle [Visage] was saying it was falling apart, I was like, no, because my bare ass would be hanging out [if it was]. For Saint-Tropez, I gave away the bathing suit and the wrap to another queen because it doesn't fit me anymore. I've lost 50 pounds since season 4! And the boat was left at Drag Race. Yeah, no. F--- that boat and f--- Willam's boat because that boat was ugly! [Laughs].
From the trailer for this season, we clearly see a RuDemption runway is coming. Now that we know you're not continuing, without spoiling future episodes, I'm curious if you'd ever planned a RuDemption of that look on your own, for Instagram, maybe?
Even if that isn't a runway, I would've made it a point to [do] to let people know! Yes, there will be something like that shown on Instagram!
On this episode, you were in the bottom with Yara Sofia. On episode 1, Yara said in a confessional that her strategy was to vote off the strongest players — a strategy that led to Morgan McMichaels' elimination on All Stars 3. Did she say this to anyone publicly among the group or did you not know that during filming?
No, I don't think she told any of us. But, to be honest, Yara only spoke to Serena [ChaCha]![Laughs].
If you'd known that information before voting, would you have used it to sway the vote?
I can't fight dirty! That's the one thing about Drag Race: You can't fight dirty, because the fans will see it. I had my fate sealed as soon as we were in the bottom. I knew I was going home. She won the week before! Track record plays a huge part in Drag Race, you can't send home somebody who's been doing well. Granted, when Naomi [Smalls] pulled that [on All Stars 4], that takes major balls to play the game! I want to play fairly because I wanted to know that I earned this, bitch!
You got emotional talking to Ra'Jah O'Hara about keeping you. Why did being in the bottom on this particular challenge get you so emotional, and how did it feel then knowing that both the group and Ra'Jah didn't necessarily listen to those pleas and sent you home? Is it hard not to take the votes personally?
No, not personally, because they have to play the game fairly. The fact is that it might've been Yara's third time on the show, but Yara won the week before. It's my Achilles heel, it just felt like either way I was at the losing end of the situation. Unless it was a lip-sync [between us]. If Yara had to lip-sync against me to a Janet Jackson song, the outcome would be completely different. She wouldn't have had a prayer in hell!
I know Ginger Minj is a dear friend, but she voted for you with the group. What conversations did you and Ginger have about that moment? Was that tough for you or did you understand it was just part of the game?
Ginger is a very fair player. She's not that kind of girl to be calculated and shady. That's not her. I f---ed with her for a while about it. And the bitch owes me a trip to Disney because of it! I understand that the game has to be played fairly. There's no bad blood between us. But I am using that to get a free trip.
Milk it! I'm also curious, after the show, since you told Ru that because of Drag Race, Ryan Murphy knows your name: Are you working with him on anything else coming up, like American Horror Story?
I would love to audition! I want to earn my place as an actress in this industry, so if I have to audition my way, I'll continue to do that. If it's a call, sure. I won't turn that down, but I want to earn it. I want to be known as a legitimate actress. I want to pursue that more. Not just Ryan Murphy, I want to be in a Marvel movie!
Who would you want to play in the MCU?
I would love to play Jubilee in X-Men. I would be awesome as Jubilee!
Subscribe to EW's BINGE podcast for full recaps of all 13 seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race, featuring exclusive interviews with the season 13 top four, Jaida Essence Hall, Trixie Mattel, Katya, Peppermint, Bianca Del Rio, Bob the Drag Queen, Sasha Velour, and more.