A drag star on the rise, Jaé’s got some exciting shows for us this week! [Cover photo: Trade Photography]
Thotyssey: Hello Jaé, thanks for chatting today! So July is almost over already… how did the month treat you?
Jaé: Hey! The month has been great… between work and drag, I’ve been enjoying the summer a lot!
If I may ask, what’s your day job?
Currently I’m working as a guest experience manager at one of the observatories here in the city.
Gorgeous! How long have you been a New Yorker now, and where are you from originally?
Born and raised in Queens, New York. I’m a native New Yorker, baby!
Same! Where did your interest in drag and performing come from?
It all started from me being inspired by the divas, legends such as Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Beyoncé… the list goes on. They inspire me. I’ve always wanted to be a performer, but I never knew how I wanted to get into it. Then I found love in drag–the perfect way to live my showgirl fantasy. I love the stage, I love performing. The nightlife scene is what’s really grown my love for drag; watching drag queens performing in the bars and clubs, I was so inspired and I knew that’s exactly what I wanted to do. I love the scene and this community so much.
Does “Jaé” come from your birth name, or somewhere else?
Jaé was a nickname I made for myself when I was in high school, then into adulthood it grew into the name I used for my alter ego. And now it’s my drag name! I know it’s different to go by simply one name as a drag entertainer, but it’s also a bold choice. There’s legends like Cher, Prince and Madonna who only go by one name. When a person has reached the point of fame or infamy at which they are recognized by just one name, they become mononymous. That’s the goal I want for Jaé.
You are well known as a strong and respected competitor in the weekly competition circuit. Is that an environment you enjoy?
I’ve been doing drag for a little over a year now, and I have so much appreciation for these competition shows because in each of them I have gained so many connections and opportunities. I always say I don’t do these competition shows to win, I do them for the love of drag and to share my art. But also, as much as I do enjoy doing these shows, my goal is to grow. I don’t want to be in the competition world forever. I’m always striving to aim higher.
How might you describe your drag at this stage, as far as the looks and numbers you like to serve?
My signature is always glamour! I love anything that shines, I love big hair, I love serving beauty and glam. That’s my style of drag. When it comes to my numbers, I branch out from time to time… but I’m a old school diva at heart. A disco queen! I love music from the 70s and 80s. If not disco, I love performing to Beyoncé. I’m a part of the Hive: she’s my number one inspiration. I’d do a Beyoncé number anytime, anywhere in a heartbeat. Those are my go-to’s.
Speaking of Beyoncé and retro sounds, her newest album Renaissance is ready to drop! We’ve all heard the first single “Break My Soul,” which people can’t stop talking about regarding it’s OG House beat. What are your thoughts on the single, and do you think Renaissance will be a Bevy of Bops?
“Break My Soul” is a club banger!! Listening to that song is such a vibe; I’m so ready for this new album. Beyoncé’s switching up her sound for this new era… there’s definitely gonna be major hits on this album!
You can expect an amazing group of talent drag entertainers turning it out to many of Beyoncé’s most iconic songs, including hits by Destiny’s Child. This event is more than just a listening party… it’s a celebration! It’s an amazing venue, and I’m excited to be a part of this show with the queens and to channel my inner Sasha Fierce!
So fun! What else is coming up for you?
You can always catch me twirling around these streets, and keep following me for updates on where I’ll be! Gearing back to competitions, Wednesday I’ll be performing at Polish the Queen at Playhouse Bar, showtime at 9pm.
Also, this Saturday I’ll be doing a drag brunch along with Myster E. Mel Kiki at The Wilson NYC: “The Wilson Fill-Up,” hosted by Ginger Ladd. 11-3pm. This will be my second time doing a brunch with Ginger Ladd, and she’s such a joy to work with; I was a part of her Rockaway Pride brunch in Rockaway Beach this past June.
Have great shows! Okay, lastly… who do you want to see win Drag Race All Stars 7?
Indeed! Thanks, Jaé!