TV

Joey Jay Talks Tattoos, Astrology, and That Intense “Untucked” Fight

"Do we need to break them up? Is some chick about to go down right now?"

The self-proclaimed “filler queen” has flown the coop.

Joey Jay, an adorable Phoenix-based queen, lit up the workroom on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13 — and we aren’t just talking about her ever-changing hair color. Even though she’s only the second queen to sashay away this season, she had plenty of screen-time thanks to a funky new format, with fans — and fellow queens! — falling for her. Ultimately, it was last week’s extravagant Bag Ball runway challenge that Joey landed in the bottom two. After lip-syncing against LaLa Ri to Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy,” Joey was sent packin’.

Joey spoke with NewNowNext about that intense Untucked fight, fans sliding into her DMs, why she thinks Vanessa Carlton hates her, and the story behind her and Trixie Mattel’s Lakeside Drive Drag Academy in Milwaukee.
 

First off, I have to ask, what color is your hair right now?

What color do you want it to be?

I saw it was like a lavender?

It’s light purple. It’s like blurple right now, which I only started dying it because of COVID. I was one of the COVID hair queens. When all the gays started changing their hair color because everyone started working from home, that was me. And I was living for it. And I’m like, “I think I’m going to keep this.”

Oh, wait. So the dying the hair, you’ve only been doing it since the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yeah. I used to spray it with different colors for shows. I would do like a different color for a different number, and then I would just wash it out at the end. I’ve performed with it being colored but this is the first time that I’ve actually had it permanent, and I’m living for it.

I want to talk about your lip-sync, but first, I think we just need to talk about that crazy Untucked. What were you thinking when Kandy and Tamisha were going at it? You were sitting there laughing, but I thought they were about to throw hands!

It was interesting because there’s only so many minutes in an episode and they can only show so much. And when we had walked in there, they asked us, “Who do you think is on the top and the bottom?” And then Tamisha kind of came out of nowhere saying, “Well, there’s some of you that I don’t really like.” And we’re like, “Oh, that’s interesting.” And then Kandy being Kandy speaks up and says, “Do you think I’m arrogant?” And I’m like, “Well, what are you doing right now, girl?” And then, we’re kind of joking like, “Kandy, you are arrogant, but it’s not necessarily in a bad way. You just have that personality. We love you, but yeah, you’re a little bit arrogant.” And then they started going at it. And I remember, when I asked her, “Well, what are you doing right now?” I’m like, “Wait a minute…am I about to try to get into it with Kandy?” I’m like a little white boy, and she’s going to eat me alive. Maybe I’m not going to do that right now. Then, Tamisha and Kandy started having their moment. I’m like, “This isn’t stopping. It’s getting bigger. Oh, it’s escalating even more. Do we need to break them up? Is some chick about to go down right now?” It was definitely interesting, and I was a little bit nervous but I’m happy that we moved forward.
 

Yeah, you were with Kandy in the first episode when you walked in after her. Did you feel-

Right, and I’m not there to pick fights. I love both of them. I met Kandy right away, and I was in the same group with Tamisha. I enjoy both of them, and I’m like, “Okay, if I stand up for one girl that means I’m picking sides, so how can I stay neutral but also not be like a pushover or fake,” you know what I mean?

When you first walked into the workroom and Kandy asked how many times a week you perform, did you sense some shade from her?

Maybe, but baby, I’m salaried with insurance. You can be shady, but I get a full nine hours of sleep every night, so that’s fine.

And you lip-synced against Kandy to “Call Me Maybe.”

Which was dirty of them to do to us.

Why?

Kandy Muse and myself doing “Call Me Maybe” — we might as well have done Sesame Street. Love Carly Rae Jepsen, I put her on at the gym every day, but when you’re like a lipstick lesbian, bad-ass bitch, Carly Rae isn’t in the wheelhouse of songs you would normally do. But I think we both did a really good job with the lip-sync regarding that, though.

I thought you did too. So, is “Fancy” on your usual rotation? Because I thought you killed that lip-sync.

Oh my gosh, thank you. I actually really enjoyed that song, and you know what? I’ve been playing it so much this week. I’m like, “I am not mad that this song is going to haunt me for the rest of my life. I’m having a great time.”

Yeah, I thought both you and Lala Ri both served it. Were you surprised when you were asked to sashay away?

I was surprised, but I felt like there’s nothing else I could have done. I wore wigs. I made this huge garment. I couldn’t have done anything else, so I’m really proud of what I brought. If I had put together a really shitty outfit or did a really poor job lip-syncing, then I would feel different. I’d be bummed at myself, but I know I did a really good job. My ultimate goal, because I know Lala is a sickening lip syncer, I’m like, “Okay. I might not win this lip-sync thing because Lala is great. I want to be looked up on YouTube though.” I want people to look up this lip sync, even though I might go home. How can I make a moment?

Judging from social media, viewers are crushing on you. Have people been sliding into your DMs?

Oh my God, with fully silicone lube.

That’s what I guessed.

They have. I think the most common message I get is to “step on me” and “run me over with your car.” But you know what? I’m a Leo. I love attention. You can be an ex, an enemy, or a rock, I will take it and just say, “Thank you. When and where?”

Then I was reading online — I’m not sure if this is true — that you lived in the same apartment complex as Jaida, Trixie, and Jaymes Mansfield?

Well, I don’t know where everyone is getting this. Jaida didn’t live in the building. She lived in Milwaukee though. I heard that Jaymes lived in this building, but I’ve learned recently that she didn’t but we did have drag queens that live in the first floor. But Trixie and I did live in the same apartment. We have a mutual best friend and a former mutual roommate, and when Trixie moved to West Hollywood, I moved into that apartment. We joked that this is the Lakeside Drive Drag Academy where if you move into this apartment, you’re going to turn into this crazy drag queen because it happens time and time again.

You’re a self-proclaimed Vanessa Carlton fan. Have you heard from any other closet Vanessa fans or maybe Ms. Carlton herself?

Yeah. It’s so funny that people will message me, “Which album are you more?” I really like Vanessa Carlton but I’m not quite a stan. I enjoy her, but I’m not a stan. I started listening to her a little bit more now. I’ll tweet her, but she hasn’t responded to me. Maybe she doesn’t like me.

I like the tattoo on your chest. What is that design?

It’s actually part of my natal chart. I don’t know if you know what that is, it’s astrology. My grandmother, before she passed away, she went to someone and had my chart done when I was 10 or 11 years old, and it came with this tape that explained everything but I wasn’t allowed to listen to it until I was 18 because it talks about everything.

Oh, wow.

I listened to it, and it was just so special to me because I’m hearing my grandmother’s voice that I haven’t heard for years and years, because she’s no longer with us, and she’s talking about my chart and me and the woman who’s explaining everything — it was so dead-on. It was so crazy. It was kind of eerie how accurate this was. And I decided to have the chart put on me because it’s mine and no one else will have it. It’s my chart.

Would you think about getting a Drag Race tattoo?

I have one. I just got one a couple of weeks ago. It’s on the back of my right tricep, and it’s 13 tally marks. And hey, if I ever get on again… maybe I’ll add another one.

I write about drag queens. Dolly Parton once ruffled my hair and said I was "just the cutest thing ever."
@chrisreindeer