Versed in both the glossy Broadway school of drag as an Ultimate Drag Pageant alum as well as a more experimental form care of recent Brooklyn and digital shows, pagan drag warrior and trans / non-binary advocate Jupiter Doll has a little something for everyone this holiday month.
Thotyssey: Jupiter, hello and Happy Holidays! Did you survive the first snowpocalypse of the season?
Jupiter Doll: Happy holidays to you too! I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of snow we got; I definitely missed it.
I see some venues, still burdened by the city’s no-indoor service lockdown policy, are continuing outdoor shows with heat lamps. This seems both totally nutty and (sadly) entirely necessary. Would you give a snowy outdoor show a twirl this season?
I think that with [infection] numbers even worse now than they were earlier in the year, something like that would be a little outside my comfort zone. But I give major props to the performers who are doing shows like that to survive! It’s a tough time to be an artist right now.
So tell us a bit of your story, if you will… where are you from originally, and what were your earliest creative interests?
I was born in Pennsylvania, but I moved around for a lot of my childhood; I’ve lived in several states across the country, and also Canada! Ever since I was really young I remember drawing all the time, and I was always listening to music. I did theatre, choir, and band in high school, too–so a passion for music, visual art, and performance all pushed me toward drag.
How has your gender identity informed your drag aesthetic?
Doing feminine drag as a non-binary, transmasculine person is really liberating to me, personally! It allows me to play with my expression and femininity without feeling dysphoric or uncomfortable in that feminine energy. I also think I navigate toward telling stories that we don’t often hear in drag spaces–whether that’s with a look, lyrics, or music genre.
I understand that you met your drag mother Charlotte Harlot through shared interests on social media.
Yes! We met through our artwork, so it feels great to be creating art together and collaborating constantly now.
I could be wrong, but I think “Doll” in a drag name is a sort of signifier that a performer is trans or non-binary. Is it annoying when cis queens put that in their name, whether they’re aware of its implication or not?
Well, it wasn’t originally meant to signify that when we chose it. Generally the term “the dolls” specifically is the term that refers to trans women, and the historical weight of the word has been watered down over time and through erasure. So that’s the part that can feel strange coming from cis people, since it conflates trans women and drag queens when the two aren’t mutually exclusive. I think someone with Doll in their name probably just has good taste!
So what brought you to this city, and where did you first perform as Jupiter here?
I came to NYC to work as a nanny for my aunt when she adopted her son. I believe I first performed at an open set at the Liberty during DragCon Weekend in 2019. But my first booked performance was at the West End, at Lagoona Bloo’s weekly show.
You actually wound up competing in a cycle of The Ultimate Drag Pageant there! What was that experience like?
It was incredible, honestly. I’ve never really been someone who enjoys competition settings, but UDP was a totally different vibe; everyone was so supportive, and the love was so real. My UDP sisters are absolutely incredible and that bar really was a second home to me, so I’m heartbroken to see it go.
Yes, it’s a terrible loss! Hopefully the owner will reestablish a new home base on the other end of all this.
I think lots of people discovered you and your drag family–Charlotte and your own then-daughter Lucia Fuchsia–when you were all giving the “Girls Gone Viral” outdoor shows at 3 Dollar Bill and Now & Then over the summer. Were those Brooklyn audiences very different from the UDP audience experience?
I do think it was a different crowd! It seems to me like Brooklyn audiences are a little more receptive to weirder, more diverse drag styles. I’m not saying Manhattan hates punks, just that the atmosphere there is a little more geared toward the Broadway-type performers in my experience. Personally I enjoy both scenes, and I’m glad I’ve gotten to experience both!
And now here we are, in the era of digital drag! You and a number of former West End queens will be appearing in “One Last Time: The Queens,” presented by the shuttered venue’s event producer Peter Dunn on Monday (December 21st, 9pm)!
I’m so excited! Peter is an amazing friend that I connected really deeply with during UDP, so it’s going to feel very full-circle. The lineup is incredible–and is pretty much entirely my friends, too, since I was at The West End so much and got to know most of the performers who worked there. It feels super bittersweet.
Then the following day, that other side of your drag repertoire will be present for “The Slay Before Christmas” produced Amanda Massacre! This night will be all about Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Yes, the entire show is a tribute to the movie! We all picked or were assigned songs, so it’s going to be really fun. I actually had to film three different clips for my number, so I hope to see a good turnout!
Anything else coming up for you?
I’m definitely focused on creating more looks! The process of moving in a pandemic was tough, and this year has been rough for everyone, so my motivation has been low. But now I’m finding myself more than ready to start creating again, and doing drag that I’m happy showing off.
By the way, RuPaul’s Drag Race has traditionally been known for a regressive approach to gender casting. But they are breaking the mold this season care of GottMik, a trans male contestant doing femme drag! That’s a pretty extraordinary development, right?
It’s definitely great to see a trans man on the show! I hope we get to see more trans contestants in the future, and more people who don’t identify as male at all; Drag Race had been pretty notorious in its idea that drag is just for men.
Lastly… do you have a favorite holiday song?
Oh man, that’s a tough one. My dad collects Christmas music, so I’ve pretty much heard every single one. I’ll go for “Bring The Torch, Jeanette, Isabella,” which is an old French folk song! I celebrate Yule as a Pagan witch, and that song always feels like the holidays to me.
Blessed Yule, Jupiter!