Who is Jayy Von? When this fierce queen quickly rose to the top of our RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8 fan poll, this was the question a lot of people were asking, myself included. After doing some online hunting for more information, I was quickly able to find out a lot about this controversial, tattooed, punk rock drag queen…
Jayy Von, a San Diego-based drag queen artist, is currently one half of the well-known musical duo Blood on the Dance Floor. The band’s Facebook page currently has over 1.25 million likes and Jayy Von himself has over 226 thousand wickedly-loyal Twitter followers. While drag has not been at the forefront of his musical career so far, his drag alter ego is going to be at the forefront of his upcoming solo project, which is slated for release this summer.
I was lucky enough to get to speak with Jayy Von in a one-on-one interview recently to learn more about his future plans for his drag persona and music career. This is a long interview, but he shares a lot of great information and we had quite a few laughs, so it’s well worth the read.
Please pardon any grammar or other editing errors. It’s 3am and I’ve promised a lot of his fans that I’d post this tonight. I’ll go back and edit it when I wake up, so don’t read me too hard for any mistakes you find! Enjoy!
Tim: Hi Jayy! I know you’re a part of the band Blood on the Dance Floor, is there anything else people should know about you?
Jayy: Hmm, let’s see… well, I’m originally from Jackson, Florida. If anybody’s even ever heard of that, it’s pretty fuckin’ ghetto. Haha! I just relocated to San Diego, California about two years ago.
I’ve been touring for about five years, which is a pretty awesome job. I enjoy it, but it takes a lot out of a person.
When did you actually join Blood on the Dance Floor?
The group started in 2008 and I jumped in in 2010. I joined and went on my first tour all in the same month. It was intense!
How did you become part of the band?
Me and Dahvie, the other vocalist have been friends forever. We were always running into each other at shows and stuff because we lived in Florida. I met him at a Breath Carolina show officially and we kept in contact. Then one day he asked me if I wanted to go on tour and I was like, “Sure, fuck it, let’s go!”
You’ve been touring for quite awhile and doing a lot of headline tours. If given the chance to open for another major artist, who would you pick?
Oh, Brook Candy! She would fit in well with us because we’re raunchy and disgusting rappers and she’s right up there with it and I love her.
What a great transition – she’s kind of like a drag queen herself!
You’ve been at the top of our RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8 fan poll since it started. Are you surprised by that or how does that make you feel?
I’m fucking shocked actually. I mean, it’s cool because I’ll see people screen cap it and put it on Instagram and a bunch of people are like, “Who the fuck is this person?!” Haha! I haven’t been doing drag for that long, so for me to be just like chillin’ at that stature, I feel like there’s a lot of people picking on me right now, but other then that I feel very privileged!
It’s helping me a lot actually because I’m not very known in the community for being a drag queen. Ever since I started being listed on that poll I’ve gotten tons and tons of friend requests and follows from amazing drag queens that I had never heard of and now I’m in love with. That’s great! It’s helping to network people in my opinion.
Alright, Magnolia Crawford, looking for your exposure!
Haha, no it’s nothing like that! I haven’t gotten to do many actively drag interviews.
For me, it’s not just drag, it’s also my solo project that I started with music and it just happens to be with a drag persona. It’s nice to have a discussion about that because most of my interviews are about Blood on the Dance Floor.
Speaking of your solo project, your fans are dying to know all the details on that. Spill the T!
My solo project is going to be released this summer. I’m trying to not release too many more singles before it comes out because I want it to have that anticipation. I’ve released two songs off of the album so far, which are both available on Google Play, Spotify, YouTube… or you can download them illegally on MediaFire. I don’t care if they download it illegally, at least they’re listening to it. That’s all that matters to me. Haha!
It’s all still being mixed and mastered.
I want to do a few videos before the album comes out to keep the attention without giving away too much.
What made you decide to release an entire album as your drag persona?
I have this really strange habit of every couple of years I kind of reinvent myself. Years ago, when I had just turned 18, I was working at this goth and fetish show and I had to dress up in costume and stuff. I ended up getting so into it that I made all of my own costumes and made my own wigs. I felt like I was literally in drag most of the time, but I never considered it that. When I started doing drag it felt very nostalgic and I had that same feeling. I love it.
I love getting dressed up. If I go out to a gay bar as a dude the kind of attention that I get is not one that is always welcome, but when I go out as a female and somebody says, “Oh my god, you’re so beautiful,” then that’s them complimenting me on my art and my creativity, not just my ass, you know?
Your drag persona gets mostly positive attention when we share about it, but there’s always haters out there. How have other people and your current fans handled you doing drag?
I never really have hung out with many gay people, then one day I started talking to this drag queen on Instagram from San Diego – her name is BeBe Gunn, which is now my drag mother – and she invited me out to one of her shows. I had never been to a drag show before in my life and it was fucking awesome! I loved it and I was introduced to people that I’m still friends with and consider them family now.
I like having that tight bond with a group of people and it just so happens to be drag queens.
I know you have a bit of a history with Jeffree Star. Did he teach you anything about drag or makeup?
No, unfortunately. I wish he did because his face if fuckin’ beat! He doesn’t cosider himself a drag queen though. He told me that he considers himself to be an alien though.
Maybe he should work with Miss Fame then!
He should! I love Miss Fame!
So you’ve been watching RuPaul’s Drag Race season 7?
Oh yeah, totally! I was really shocked to hear about Miss Fame and her chicken fetish. Haha! She strikes me as this very upscale, New York kind of Goldie Hawn in Overboard. She’s like the epitome of glamorous, so when she talks about chickens under her bed, I was a little thrown by it. Haha! I think it makes her more personable.
You have a lot of tattoos. Do you cover them up when you do drag?
I cover up my face tattoos because I’m kind of perfectionist when it comes to symmetry. It kind of annoys me to have everything look so symmetric and then have tattoos on one side of my cheek bone. I use all Ben Nye on my face and then I use Sugarpill on my eyes.
If you were offered a spot as a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race, how would this effect everything with Blood on the Dance Floor?
I’d have to put that on hold. All of it.
I’m probably not auditioning for season 8 because I don’t think I’m prepared enough. I haven’t been doing it that long, but I would like to do it in the future if it becomes possible. Right now I’m just trying to earn the respect of the community because I’m so new.
I want people to think I deserve to be there. I don’t want to come off as an arrogant bitch or anything.
So far people have been mostly receptive of you, but there are people who have been saying some harsh things. Are you worried that you might get on the show and that, with the way things can get edited, it might hurt your image?
I don’t think so. I think that given the opportunity that people who don’t like me because they don’t know me would warm up to me really quick. I think I’m a super likeable person. Haha! I’m not overly nice or anything, but I would consider myself funny and enjoyable to be around. I always smell pretty pleasant, so that’s always a plus. Haha!
Do you perform a lot in San Diego or do you travel up to Los Angeles to perform?
I’ve performed in San Diego quite a bit but I’m not a regular cast member of any one place yet because I think everyone’s still trying to figure out where I stand. In all of my shows I’ve been trying to do the craziest shit that I can fucking think of, like fire and pouring hot wax in my mouth. Finding ways to make people pay attention.
I got offered a spot on a cast recently, and it probably has a lot to do with the Dragaholic poll. It’s a night that my friend Anita is opening and she needs regular cast members, so I’m going to be doing that every month like a regular person! Haha!
Some of your Twitter fans wanted to know if you have a different personality in drag compared to when you are out of drag?
Yes, very much so. I’m a lot friendlier when I’m in drag. I feel like I’m able to tap into a whole separate person. If you’re gonna change your persona from a boy to a girl you can’t have them be similar. That just defeats the purpose.
Do you soften your voice?
I guess I do, but not on purpose.
It’s easy to make your voice higher when you’re tucked, right? Haha!
I don’t normally tuck. I usually try to find a way around it so I don’t have to. I just wear a jock strap and a bunch of tights and it flattens everything down. I don’t think I’ve had a time where it’s sticking out or anything.
I’ve started tucking recently and it’s a pain in my fucking ass, literally. I had to wax my crack so I didn’t have to do it with duct tape. I usually just shove my balls up, tie the rest in a knot and shove it up my ass. Haha!
What’s one major thing you’ve learned from doing drag?
My social interactions with people has changed a lot and it’s kind of made me, as a boy, take into consideration how I interact with people.
When I was young I used to think people were staring at me all the time because I looked weird, so I have been so used to that and I would automatically be rude to people if they were staring at me in public. I’m not really too much like that anymore. If someone’s staring at me now, I usually just smile back and wave and that usually opens them up for a conversation. It makes them feel more comfortable with asking me a question if that’s why they were staring so hard. I’ve taken that from my drag persona and applied it in my real life and it’s helped me a lot.
With your upcoming album, do you have plans to collaborate with anybody on it?
The one collaboration that I have is for the one really hard rap song on the album. There’s this female rapper out of Atlanta and I’ve been following her for years because he music is amazing. Her name is Lady and, back in the day before twerking was big, she did that song ‘Twerk’. She’s doing a verse on my song.
Would you ever consider working with Adore Delano?
I’ve been asked that by every person ever! Ab-so-fuckin’-lutely! I love her as a person because she’s the most real drag queen. Her persona is literally her. It’s just so delightful. Haha!
How long does it take you to get into drag?
Haha. It takes me like three or four hours. It’s cause I have this ritual thing that I do. I set up my makeup counter. My room is what I call boyfriend proof, so all of my drag shit is put away and I don’t have any of my stuff laying out or anything. I have to set up everything before I can start, then I light my little Jesus candles from the grocery store. I’m really weird. I also have a little brandy snifter, and I fill that with whisky and one ice cube. Then I pack a bowl and set that on the counter. Then, between every step, I take a sip and I take a hit and by the time I’m done I look great and I feel amazing.
Haha! So it’s an overall transformation and not just a visual transformation.
The final question I have for you is about the future. What can we expect from your drag character going forward?
I plan to start touring with my solo project and put my head into my music. I want to be like the 23-year-old Pete Burns!
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