By Christopher Rudolph
Poor Jan. Much like the notably neglected middle child of The Brady Bunch with whom she shares a name, Jan Sport of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 12 was mostly overlooked from week to week while her sisters stole the spotlight. Even her successful performance in “Madonna: The Unauthorized Rusical” wasn’t enough to impress the judges: Jan, as she was mononymously known on the show, used her musical theater training from the Boston Conservatory to burn up the main stage with her on-point portrayal of an early-career Madonna. But it was finally her scattered infomercial that put her in the bottom on Friday (April 17), when she was ultimately sent packing after lip-syncing for her life against Widow Von’Du.
Ru might not have been feeling the “Jantasy,” but it was a different story online. Dressed as a pink flight attendant to honor a recognizable look worn by judge Michelle Visage for Episode 7’s runway challenge “Night of 1,000 Michelles," Jan’s exaggerated expressions were soon transformed into innumerable memes, and fans felt that she was so consistently robbed that the hashtag #JusticeForJan was trending on Twitter after the Rusical aired.
MTV News spoke with Jan, who explained why she didn’t think this was her season, whether or not she agreed with the judges’ Rusical ruling, and why she felt “misunderstood” by America.
MTV News: Hi Jan! How are you doing? Are you feeling the “Jantasy”?
Jan Sport: Babe, I am feeling the “Jantasy” more than ever today.
MTV News: Why don't you think the judges were feeling it?
Jan Sport: I couldn't tell you. I really, really don't know. I just think that it wasn't my time this season, unfortunately. But you know what? I'm proud of what I did. And looking back at it now, only minor details would I have changed because I'm just so proud of everything that I did.
MTV News: How did you feel about your face becoming a meme after you didn’t win the Rusical challenge?
Jan Sport: I was like, "I think some people will be upset about this." But I had no idea that it would be of that magnitude. It was beyond my wildest dreams. We were trending. It was crazy. It was nuts.
MTV News: Just as a viewer, the infomercial seems like one of the hardest challenges. Is that how it is in real life?
Jan Sport: Totally. I think that the hardest part about it, and where I really tripped up, was I didn't really look at the whole body of work. Everything was very larger than life and very energetic. But I didn't take a moment to realize that it had to have more peaks and valleys because everything you do is segmented. And so I was like, "Okay, energy, energy, energy, energy," the whole way through. And we didn't get those peaks and valleys to make the comical moments pop. Jackie [Cox] was like, "If you had watched that back one time, I know you — you would have changed so much about it.”. And I would have been fine. But you don't have that mirror in front of you and you don't get to see that. So it definitely is a tricky, tricky challenge.
MTV News: Do you think Bob Harper's direction was ultimately helpful?
Jan Sport: Looking back at it now, I do think that it was helpful. Bob said that I was coming off intense in the beginning, and I thought that he meant me as a person. Because I was kind of manic, going back and forth trying to make everything happen in the time allotted. But now I realize after watching it, I was like, "Oh, he didn't mean me as a person. He meant my commercial and how I was selling everything was coming off as intense." And so I think that he was a good director. I just wish that I was a little more receptive to it.
MTV News: You said in Untucked that you were feeling horrible after the runway. It seemed like you were feeling defeated. Was that true?
Jan Sport: Totally. I mean, I did not think that I did a bad job until I watched it back, and I was the second one critiqued. And so I was like, "Mine wasn't the best, but I don't know if it will be the worst." But then as we're going down the line, and I'm noticing that a lot of the girls are doing well, I was starting to get more and more worried. And then I think that me not winning the challenge last week, it left me very defeated and very sad. Not winning the Rusical was very disappointing to me. And it definitely made me question my talent and it made me question my place in the competition.
MTV News: What advice did your drag mother and Season 9 queen Alexis Michelle have for you before you went on the show?
Jan Sport: She just said to be kind to other people, to just be myself, and to really stick it to them and show them the incredible performer that she believes that I am.
MTV News: Your Bernadette Peters Snatch Game impersonation was so good. What's your favorite Bernadette role?
Jan Sport: Oh, I love Bernadette in Into the Woods. It's what introduced me to musical theater. I absolutely fell in love with her then and there. But one of the performances that always gets me is her singing “Not a Day Goes By” in London. That performance is one of the most beautiful, raw performances I've ever seen in my life. And if I ever need a good cry, or if I ever need to be inspired, I'd go and watch that video.
MTV News: I've been loving Jan's Jukebox. Where did that idea for that come from?
Jan Sport: I have to be honest with you: It came from me not winning those challenges. My idea was that if I made it to the top four, I wanted to create almost a visual album that gave a glimpse of what my time on the show was. Not a backstage tour, but kind of just seeing my thought process through it all. Obviously that didn't happen, but I said, "The next best thing would be for me to do something for the lip syncs." I'm a singer. I feel like maybe America misunderstood what I do, but I want them to see what I do, and I want them to know that this is my life. I want to be a recording artist. I want to sing and I want to entertain people.
MTV News: Do you think it was stressful or helpful to have other New York girls there?
Jan Sport: It was helpful because I think that, when you're in that pressure cooker of a situation without a lifeline and your normal support system, it can become pretty daunting and kind of scary. And so anytime you're worried or stressed or struggling, you can rely on those people that you know. Brita is one of those people who is in my immediate circle of friends. The fact that I got to go on that show with her and to have her as a sister to bounce things off of was such a gift. It was also part of my kryptonite, but I do think that there were moments where I was doubting myself, or she was doubting herself, or I felt good, and she felt good, and we would boost each other up. So I think that it's ultimately a good thing
MTV News: You loved hitting that giant shade button backstage on Untucked. Are you going to get one of those for your apartment?
Jan Sport: Oh, babe, I have one right here on my desk!
MTV News: You are such a New York nightlife staple. How do you feel about what's happening to New York right now?
Jan Sport: It's very sad to see everything that's going on. I think that springtime in New York is one of the most fun times because a lot of the bars are slow during the winter months. I was looking forward to doing shows and seeing my local girls back here. But it's so sad to see what's happening to the city at large, but I feel for the folks of nightlife especially because we are freelancers, and we don't have benefits, and health insurance, and any of the good that comes from having a normal nine-to-five job. I’m trying to do my best to give back to the bars that I grew up in. Because I do have this platform and I am making more money because I have this job security from Drag Race. So I just try to give back when I can.
MTV News: You mentioned how maybe this wasn’t your time for Drag Race, but what do you think about returning for an All Stars season?
Jan Sport: I would absolutely love that. I think that the fans want more, I want more, and I think I have more to prove to the judges. So I would love to come back for All Stars.