On Point With: Jenn D’Role

Part of the venerable tradition of SUNY Purchase drag queens coming to slay NYC’s nightlife, this lovely showstopper also happens to be the admin of one of “RuPaul’s Drag Race’s” largest social media fan communities. Fresh from DragCon and ready to turn it out at two of Brooklyn’s hottest kikis, it’s Jenn D’Role!

Thotyssey: Whattup Jenn! Thanks for talking to us tonight! 

Jenn D’Role: Hey Jim! Thank you for having me, gurl!

So I heard that for Maxxx Pleasure’s show Guilty Pleasures at Gold Sounds the other night, you and Maxx did a duet from RENT. Is that your guiltiest pleasure?

Hahaha! Not my guiltiest! But! People are shamed for loving showtunes, and showtunes get a bad wrap sometimes for being “corny.” I think that I wanted to live that Broadway fantasy, and knew it was a bit rock-n-roll–and Maxxx had the perfect vibe for that number.

It must’ve been epic! So uh, were you a fan of anything about the royal wedding that just happened?

Royal what!? Royal who? Hahaha! No I’m glad that there’s a brown woman of royalty out there. We are overdue for that representation.

That’s true! It’s all just escapism I guess, considering all that is going on. What are your thoughts on the state of this country today? Has everyone lost their damn mind?

I think the word of the year here is Empathy. I think a lot of people in the country are lacking that human trait. Also communication is big, too! If we just understood and talked more, I think we could truly overcome our differences. But with that said, the state of the union is a reflection of what our society is.

Sad but true!

 So, a more fun subject: DragCon! Tell us what you did there, and how it went.

Ahhh! DragCon was a dream! So, I am the admin of the RuPauls Drag Race Fan Group, which is one of the largest groups on Facebook.The team at Facebook hit me up with an opportunity to represent the group on panels and interviews at DragCon, as well as work the Facebook booth and Interview some queens live.

That must’ve been an amazing opportunity! But I think it was Miz Cracker who recently made a wise-ass comment about Facebook’s presence at DragCon, considering that they still won’t let so many queens use their drag names on their accounts.

I mean, she isn’t wrong! But also, Facebook has been trying to fix that. Its a big company, and I’m sure the process is not an easy one.

I bet! And no one can deny that Facebook’s been essential to drag’s success, both for the local queens and the Drag Race girls.

As an obvious superfan of the show, was Drag Race your first exposure to drag?

Actually VH1’s The RuPaul Show was my first exposure to drag! As a young child, I always knew about Ru. But Drag Race was definitely that big reintroduction to drag back in ‘09. Talk about memories, bitch!

I loved her first show, too! So you created this hugely popular group for Drag Race fans on Facebook. There are countless outlets for Drag Race fandom, how did you get yours to be so essential?

I think it became so essential because it was the first. I started it back in 2011– Season 3 of Drag Race–way before it took off with audiences today. Also,  myself and the other admins really try our best to keep the group a positive place to talk all things Drag Race, and really share the love and experience.

I appreciate the intensity of the fandom, but I imagine that the insanely hostile negativity that often comes from these trolls must be like a 9 to 5 day job for an admin to manage.

WELL! It can be tough. But I have great help from my fellow admins, and for the most part people follow the guidelines we have set for the group.

Regarding the show’s current season: don’t you think that the Drag Race editors are presenting the narrative that Eureka is going to be the winner?

Well, I’m not sure how they do the editing. I do know that Ru has talked about how they try and edit the gurls to look the best possible on what the girls have given them. I will say, however, I think Eureka is a really strong competitor.

I feel that Monet’s amazing talent and energy was totally overshadowed by this Eureka star treatment.

I agree that Monet had been coming up short… and that’s my baby! So I feel you on that.

What cstmembers of the show, past and present, did you get to meet at the Con?

I interviewed Jiggly, Sharon, Trinity, India and Phoenix, to name a few. And I got to meet and chat with Morgan, Bebe, Peppermint and Naomi Smalls. They were all great gals!

You live in New Rochelle… is that where you’re from?

I’m actually not! It’s just where I can afford an apartment at the moment. I was originally born in Miami-Dade County. Then I was raised in upstate New York–about a two hour drive from the city, in a super poor county.

What did you do there?

There was not much to do as a poor Latino child. I really took an interest in cinema and music. It was the only thing that really kept me alive back in those early days.

I hear that. Did you / do you want to pursue that as a livelihood?

I mean, that would be a dream! And being a performer is where I feel my most authentic. So I would say I am already living my life as a performer, among other things.

When did you begin performing as Jenn?

About two summers ago, actually. Before that, I went by another name… but let’s not talk about that!

Lol, we won’t force it out of you!

Did you ever perform in Westchester?

Yes! I went to school at Purchase, and was really a staple in the small drag scene we had.

Oh, you were a Purchase queen! Quite a few NYC performers came through there… did you know any back then?

Just my fave girl, Miz Jade!

We love her!

I met her when she came back as an alumni; she saw me my first time in drag. I’m hoping she doesn’t remember!

How did you find yourself performing in BK shows with Horrorchata and company?

Well, I used to do a karaoke bar gig back in Red Hook, and one night I made my way to Macri Park with a friend in drags. I met the DJ–who just so happened to be DJ Ickarus–and I asked to perform. He let me know Miz Jade was in the house and I told him I knew her, and then she let me perform that night.

From there, Ickarus invited me to perform at the first Tanlines [patio party / show at the Rosemont] last year, and I there got the chance to meet Hannah Lou and then Horrorchata. I made quite the impression, and from then on we became really good friends!

How would you describe your brand of drag to the uninitiated?

My aesthetic is very disco, superhero, alien, 80’s, 90’s, early 2000s hip hop latina. If that makes sense, haha

Absolutely! Do you get to perform a lot of Latin numbers, usually?

YASS! I’m the resident girl at YAS MAMA, Horrorchata’s monthly QPOC party at C’mon Everybody! It’s really helped me get more in touch with my Cuban roots.

How did that Night of 1000 Selenas edition of YM go, two months ago?

PERFECTO! it was a true dream to pay tribute to the one and only Selena,  alongside mis hermanas (my sisters) Lady Quesa’dilla and Horrorchata.

And the next Yas Mama, June 2nd, will be the Pride edition! What’s in store for us then?

Well you’ll just have to come through and see, babayy!

You mentioned the monthly party Tanlines earlier. That was the Rosemont’s seasonal outdoor patio party with live entertainment that became this huge thing. It basically outgrew the space, and this Saturday it debuts as a monthly event in its new, much larger venue: The Knockdown Center in Maspeth, the home of Bushwig! This should be Everything! 

Yes, that’s correct! We also have some great vendors and unique Items coming through. Also, the amazing La Favi will be making her second appearance on the BK scene. I performed alongside her last year, when she first came through! And we have some great BK babes Like ZenobiaCrystal MeshJacquée Kennedée and Untitled Queen! We are looking forward to a great turn out! Def what we need for that good summer vibe!

Looking forward to it! Anything else to mention?

I’d love to plug that Yas Mama might move to a daytime event for Pride month. As well as, stay tuned for future work with Facebook and DragCon NYC!

Okay last question: should Miss Vanjie win Miss Congeniality this season?

IS THAT EVEN A QUESTION!? Miss Vvaaaaaannnjjiieee for the win!

Thanks, Jenn!

Jenn D’Role usually performs for the party Yas Mama on first Saturdays (10pm) at C’Mon Everybody. Check Thotyssey’s calendar for all her scheduled appearances, and follow Jenn on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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