Credit: Courtesy of Bell Media
Canada’s Drag Race
13 min

After the Sashay: All the world loves a Jimbo

After leaving the competition, Jimbo the drag clown may yet have the last laugh

Fan-favourite Jimbo had to lip sync for her life wearing a restricting gown, a wonky crown and even wonkier lyrics. The result? Jimbo sashays away from the competition. It’s a sad end for a queen who brought inventiveness and craftsmanship with each outing, endearing her to countless fans—if not the judges, who never seemed to warm to the drag clown from Victoria, B.C., despite her win in Canada’s first-ever installment of “Snatch Game.”

Xtra talked to Jimbo about her fan popularity, her runway look inspirations and that Michelle Visage dig about her makeup.

What did you learn from your time on Canada’s Drag Race?

The most important takeaway for me is just that my art inspired so many people and resonated with so many people. That was a beautiful thing to know. I had a point of view and a style and a take on drag that was exciting. People saw bits of themselves in me and felt empowered to be themselves and to be a little bit freaky and funny and be free.

How did your experience as a clown help you get so far in the competition?

Clown is all about responding with truth in the moment. You don’t have to be telling the truth, you just have to be owning the truth and actually feeling what you’re feeling in that moment. Clown is all about just being a big, giant ear and listening and responding and thinking quickly. Drag Race is all about that. Everything is happening so fast, you don’t have time to process and don’t have time to plan. So you really have to get the challenge, find out what it is, rise to the occasion and do as best you can as quickly as you can. And I love doing that. So I felt like that helped.

You were so well loved by the fans. Why do you think Jimbo is so relatable?

I think people just love the sense of humour. A clown basically goes places so you don’t have to. A lot of people love watching a performance where you’re kind of doing what they want, based on their applause and the feeling of going there for them. When you’re having a good time, people want to have a good time with you. Everyone just wants to really celebrate people feeling the fantasy and living their best life.

What’s the inspiration behind your iconic runway looks?

I just drew on so many influences and things in my life that I love: horror films, weird sci-fi films, vintage fashion, older ideas of glamour. Also new ways as well. This look here [gesturing the the sparkly black number she wore on Episode 5] inspired by Celine Dion’s look, and made by my friend Sarah Runnalls, was a really cool thing I wouldn’t likely have worn if I wasn’t sort of challenged to do that in the show. That was exciting, just pushing myself and trying to be more fashion and to serve those looks. And yet each look was inspired by something different. It all comes from a place of just feeling my fantasy and trying to make people laugh.

What was your reaction to Michelle Visages’s comment about your makeup?

Well, she was told information about me with regards to the whole [series] and shown my Instagram. And so that comment that she made didn’t make sense. Because my makeup wasn’t white in that scene, so her comment to blend into the rest of my body was a comment from past things that they obviously told her about. You know, “We’ve been trying to tell Jimbo to do this thing. And so give him this critique of this thing.” It doesn’t make any sense. My makeup is warm and you can’t see my breast plate and my hands were painted. So I could tell that it was just a non-critique, just lines that she was told to comment on and it didn’t make any sense.

But she gave lots of other really good critiques. Most of them you didn’t see. But she was really amazed by the level and the skill with which I had made my garment. And she saw that I was the only one who had sewn a full garment that was tailored with a zipper, that was lined, that was embellished. The episode failed to acknowledge that. But she was really amazing. I wish everyone got to see that because it was a really important part for me.

What was going through your mind while lip syncing against Rita? 

I was really sorry. I was just exhausted by that time and so shocked. After all the work I put in and everything I had done to get to that point, I really did think that I had a really good chance at being in the top three. And so, yeah, I was not prepared to lip sync in that outfit. My headpiece and my dress—it was all hard to work in and hard to dance in. Looking back, I wish I had the foresight to make a garment that would’ve been easier to move in. But, you know, I was feeling that ice queen fantasy. And the ice queen fantasy is not lip syncing “Closer,” she’s looking fabulous on a throne, eating suckers and stuff, having a good time, having some freezies, maybe going tobogganing. She’s not lip syncing. And so I was shocked.

I was also excited to be performing on the main stage in front of Michelle Visage and the other judges. It was a really, really cool thing and an honour to be on that stage and to be performing alongside Rita, who is also an incredible performer. And I love her so much. So it was really magical and devastatingly sad.

Looking back at your Drag Race journey, would you do something differently? 

Yeah, I wouldn’t wear that pageant look that they hated so much. I would have probably done that a bit differently. I probably would have moved to the other side of the room. You know, Rita was tucked away on [one] side of the room and she was working on her garment and she wasn’t really paying attention to anyone else by herself. I was with Priyanka and Bobo, and we were kind of celebrating where we were at the competition. And, you know, there was a lot of space in the workroom at that time. And so you could be a little bit more extra and there’s more space to be. Unfortunately in that moment, that was distracting. And I probably should have just been more focused. But you know, it was fun. And I was happy to help Scarlett, who was really struggling. She had no idea how to make her outfit. I have great skills and I love to help. And so I spent a lot of time helping her, and I’m really glad that she won. I love her, she’s my sister. And so I’m happy I helped her.

If it can’t be you, which queen do you want to see win it all?

Scarlett Bobo. I don’t know. Any one of them, really. I would be happy with any one of them. Each one of us came into that competition with some gift or aspect of ourselves that made us a winner in our own way. And each of the queens, if they were to have that crown, would do so much beauty with it and represent the country and the fandom. So it really could be anyone. And that’s my pageant answer. But, of course, I want to put ice all over the stage and make them all twist their ankles so I can be the star. But I can’t do that now.

What’s next for you?

I am going to go on a U.K. tour. I’m going to do 10 to 12 cities in the U.K., which is going to be so exciting to get out there, meet some fans and have some fun and do some live shows. Then I am planning to do an online comedy show called The House of Jimbo, which showcases my drag characters and some of my clown and a lot of the talented, amazing people I know.

One word to describe your time on Drag Race

I would say life-changing. That’s two. But they have a hyphen.