“IT’S MORE THAN A COMPETITION, IT’S A COMBAT”: ‘DRAG RACE’ CONTESTANT JIGGLY CALIENTE
Jiggly Caliente, the self-professed “Asian plus-size Barbie” on cable’s best reality show, “Drag Race,” spoke with guest columnist Michael Cook. She revealed what’s to come during Season 4…
Michael: Jiggly, how excited are you to be a part of this season’s “Drag Race”?
Jiggly: It’s amazing, and I’m so ready. I can’t wait for everything to unfold and for everyone to see it. Everyone saw the trailer and wanted to know why I was flipping tables? I told them “I’m from New York, so of course I flipped tables”!
Michael: What was the reality show process like for you?
Jiggly: The cameras are in your face, you’re trying to think, you want to be yourself, you’re not supposed to look at the cameras, act natural, and then on top of it you’re supposed to compete. Everyone thinks it’s easy, but it’s not. It’s “do or die” really; it’s more than a competition-it’s a combat.
As the season goes on, you’ll see that they really put us through the ringer this year. With this being the fourth season, the expectations are definitely higher.
Michael: What can we expect from Jiggly Caliente this season?
Jiggly: I really wanted to show the audience who I was. When I perform, the audience only sees the performance, the song I do, the dancing, that’s it. In this venue, they get to actually see my personality, how I talk, react to situations, etc. They definitely get to see my natural reactions to what goes on. There’s no faking it at this point, it comes out nice… but then it also comes out not so nice sometimes.
Going in, I always made sure to be “me” and not compromise myself at all. If the judges ask, I’m gonna be real, the same, if other contestants ask, the same thing. I wasn’t going to “fake it” for camera time.
Whatever story I’m telling, whatever comes out, you definitely get the real answer. You don’t have to google to make sure what’s I’m telling you is true.
Michael: What are some of your best “Jersey” memories?
Jiggly: The biggest thrill working in Jersey was when I competed in the Miss Paradise pageant at Paradise in Asbury Park several years ago. I was soooo close to winning; 6 points maybe? But the good news is that I was the first girl to ever score a perfect score in talent in the competition.
I absolutely love to perform; Jiggly is loud and crazy, but on-stage that’s my battleground. That’s where you see me evolve, where you will see the real me. I pour my heart out when I’m up on the stage.
Michael: New York must also hold some amazing memories for you?
Jiggly: There are so many things about New York City that I love. My home is The Web, and they treat me with such respect and love; the outpouring of love is amazing. The rumors about “Drag Race” were rumbling, but now that the cast has been released, it’s definitely a humbling experience. I’m definitely not a diva, but it touches my heart that this many people want to see my succeed and support me.
Michael: What’s the scoop on Michelle Visage (show judge)?
Jiggly: The judges aren’t actually allowed to talk to us. We’re both East Coast girls. In the beginning, you get very intimidated by Michelle, she has those fierce eyes. She is truly one of the sweetest people ever.
Michael: Which contestant do you think you got the closest with?
Jiggly: Milan (a fellow Season 4 contestant and New York City girl) and I were already friends. I definitely became close to the two Chicago girls on the cast. (Phi Phi O’Hara and Dida Ritz). Phi Phi is Filipino, so we definitely hit it off.
Michael: Who are some current drag performers that you think would kill it as a contestant on “Drag Race”?
Jiggly: Without a doubt, Lady Marisa (a Paradise favorite). She is one of the “baddest”, and her personality is huge! She has a heart of gold, and if the auditioned, she would be absolutely amazing! Darilyn La Fontaine would also be amazing.
Michael: What’s next for Jiggly after “Drag Race” concludes?
Jiggly: Absolutely not. Love my Jersey people. I definitely do want to travel, that’s a definite. I would love to tour and perform everywhere I can. I want to meet fans all over the United States, and definitely do a major pageant down the line.
I’m definitely the drag version of Nicki Minaj. Music is not really a focus, I definitely want to do more television work. I actually already have an idea to pitch to the networks. Remember “I Love New York”? How about “Jiggly For Love”!
“Drag Race” Season 4 premiers January 30 at 9 pm ET on Logo. For a preview, click here.