June Jambalaya reveals her original wedding dress idea — and why she held her Drag Race bouquet high
Stick a zebra print in her runway repertoire, because this Jambalaya is, sadly, cooked.
She's a nice lady, but we will see June Jambalaya at the reunion, as the conceptual performance artist (and the Real Housewife of RuPaul's Drag Race) heads back to her mansion (or the Pork Chop Loading Dock, depending on how you look at it) after becoming the first gal to officially exit season 14 on Friday's episode.
After the judges jabbed her animal-inspired wedding dress — which she debuted as part of the fan-favorite ball challenge — as too unpolished to match the California native's natural, glamorous essence, June lost everything (and we mean everything) on the Main Stage during an intense lip-sync against Maddy Morphosis, in which June threw her wig to the gods, her shoes off her feet, and her outfit far across the set as she let the Holy Spirit of Kylie Minogue take over her body.
Still, even though she's gone, Miss June shines on, with a track record outside the show that includes Beyoncé-level choreography (in a freaking desert), and an on-set legacy she firmly secured thanks to her brief (yet endlessly memorable) confessionals. Following her untimely exit, June spoke to EW about her original plan for wedding dress couture, the major breakdown we didn't see, and the mild dispute over the way she held her leafy bouquet on the runway. Read the full conversation below, before RuPaul's Drag Race continues Friday at 8 p.m. on VH1.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I'm so sorry to see you go, but, first out is always iconic. How are you feeling now that you're an official member of the Pork Chop Loading Dock?
JUNE JAMBALAYA: Before I left, I [knew that if] I did't make it to Snatch Game, I need to be the first out, because then I'm with Shangela and Vanjie! I'm with the hard-working girls that have something to prove.
Have you redecorated the Loading Dock with your expensive Housewives taste yet?
I haven't seen it yet, but when I finally get to go in there, we can switch the wallpaper and get some incense going!
Let's talk about this season, it was a memorable but short time, and after episode 1 you struck a chord with a lot of people by discussing your self-confidence and the struggle to get there. How has seeing yourself on national TV influenced that journey of self-confidence for you?
A lot stemmed from me growing up dancing and going to school for dancing, I've spent the majority of my life in front of a mirror and how to position my body and how things should look. That's always warped my perception of myself. I went into this without a lot of experience in drag, it's only been two-and-a-half years. I thought, was I enough to complete in the Olympics with these heavyweights? I was like, yeah, my headpiece came down, but I still gave a solid talent. Yeah, my hem could've been longer in my jumpsuit, but did you catch me in the lip-sync? I look at the positives, and this has shined a light on me knowing that I'm doing what I'm meant to do.
You were immediately loved by so many, and I enjoyed seeing your reactions to Daya Betty and Orion Story re-entering the competition as well as your reaction to the candy bar twist. You were all told not to peek at the bars to see if the golden wrapper was underneath, but, did you try to peek while you had it?
I thought the gag of the gag was that none of us had the golden ticket, so I didn't even peek! Just some extra calories, I'll eat this chocolate later! I was never really focused on the chocolate bar. It was A) if you're in the bottom, perform your way out of it, or B) don't get in the bottom so you never have to see that bar.
Ok, Miss June following the rules! It was funny, you did tell Orion that you were disappointed to see the other queens come back! I was like, yes, June is bringing the Real Housewives honesty. Was that genuine and did it maybe cause some tension in the room, or was it strategy to play a bit of a psychological game?
I completely broke down after the first lip-sync. Yes, I know I can perform, but I don't want to end someone else's dream at the expense of my own. It bothered me! Seeing her come back, it was like, I just went through all these damn emotions for no reason! We're starting all over. [Laughs] And it was the ball, and Orion is a seamstress, so it probably wouldn't go the same way because she's stronger than me at that.
The ball challenge is always a struggle, but it didn't seem like you did poorly, I loved your first zebra look, I thought it looked luxurious, and the wedding look wasn't bad, it just seemed like the judges felt it was "busy." They pointed out that you were holding the leaf in front of you…
My whole thing was, if I'm getting married, I'm holding a bouquet! Where else am I supposed to hold it?
Yeah! That's what I thought!
Me being the southern Christian I aim to be, I just didn't say anything or give any backtalk. In my mind was, "Where else was the bouquet supposed to go? Between my asscheeks?" I'm a jungle bride, I made my bouquet out of the jungle of Mother Earth.
I know things change in the moment in the ball. Was there ever something else or another plan you had for the wedding dress that you maybe didn't get to do?
They had hoop skirts, and I was going to do a crop top and a big hoop skirt, but when I put the hoop on it stopped at my calves. The issue on the first episode was the hemline, so I didn't want to do that. I was going to do the hoop skirt with the leopard and then have another leopard as the tube top with a bow behind me and a train.
Did you purposely design the dress you did wear to be easily removed in pieces for a lip-sync?
Yeah! I crossed it, I knew a tube dress would suffice, and I draped some fabric around. I was the only bride that had a train, I just want to point that out. None of these brides had a train. I wanted it to be where I could just pull the fabric off and just be in the dress if needed. I had a feeling, because everyone was pretty solid in what they were doing.
On its own, when it was just hugging your form, it looked good.
A little tube sundress is a little Housewives of Atlanta!
The critique came up again about polish, which you received on the first episode. I don't necessarily think it's something I would've noticed unless the judges pointed it out. Is that something you've heard before outside the competition, and why did it strike such a nerve that you broke down in front of the mirror in Untucked?
I haven't [heard it]. I spend the money on my drag! She's wearing good hair. Even in ready-to-wear, she's not always off-the-rack. She revealed herself in Christopher John Rogers. There are always things I need to work on, but I thought I'd be more creative like a Violet, Aquaria, or Gigi. It really struck a nerve because I work as a personal shopper and closet organizer and stylist, so to hear those details warped my mind a little bit. I know that what I do in photoshoots is different on TV because you see me at every angle.
It's important to distinguish between being able to perform in a pressure cooker and taste, because you are a stylist, you have the natural taste.
For sure. From the moment I walked in, the wheels never stopped spinning…. During this whole experience, I never checked in with myself. How do you feel? What's going on? Are you present in the moment? Is this really what you need to represent your drag?
Let's go to this lip-sync because you gave us a show. It might've been a chaotic show, but it was a show. And the look of that stage when you were done was priceless. Was this performance, of you just letting your dress slide down and kicking off your shoes, a comment on the "polish" critique?
I just told myself, girl, have fun and don't care. You've already made it. You're here. Don't try to be polished to the level that tries to appease…. Just do you, and be that southern, ratchet, fun person. I wanted to become that little boy in the room at 15 years old…. I remember thinking, if it's me against Maddy, I said, okay, her dress is so tight, she won't be able to move. Let me just Tasmanian Devil!
It seemed like some queens off-stage in the back — even Orion — were trying to pump you up and cheer you on, could you hear anything they said?
Yeah! I saw Jasmine pointing at me, and Daya, when I walked around I could see Orion. I honestly think everyone got a grasp of my personality and who I am. They were all so equally kind to me. They could all see how badly I wanted it.
When you unwrapped the chocolate bar and saw it wasn't golden, what ran through your mind
I never expected it to be the golden ticket. I knew from that moment that after Ru said chassé away, that it was my time.
Wait, did you just give me a Laganja and say 'chassé?'
Sashay, chassé, walk away, bitch! [Laughs]
People will remember your time on this show. What's next for you, June?
There's going to be a lot of content coming out, and some surprises. From the moment I was eliminated, I went home, licked my wounds, and then I decided to do something that you guys haven't seen from a girl on the show before.
What can you tease?
In the words of Beyoncé: I'm Lemonade-ing [on] my Instagram and YouTube!
RuPaul's Drag Race airs Friday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on VH1.
Subscribe to EW's BINGE podcast for full recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race, including weekly season 14 recaps with the cast, adapted from our new Quick Drag series airing Fridays at 10:05 p.m. ET / 7:05 p.m. PT on the @EW Twitter account.
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