Random fact: Jujubee and Scott Evans have history! And, no, not that kind of history, you dirty dawg. The pair first met while working at an arts summer camp, long before Juju first donned a wig and heels and sashayed onto the stage of a gay bar, and budding actor Scott stepped in front of a camera. “So, if it was 2000 when we first met, then we would have known each other for almost…” Drag Race alumnus Jujubee pauses to recollect, thinking back to the summer they met.
“…more than half our lives — a lot. A long fucking time. Too long,” laughs Scott.
“Gurl, it’s been a really long time,” says Jujubee, astounded as she counts back the years. “I’m now realising how actually old we are. But it’s so beautiful to see where we are right now. I mean, we’ve come a long way.”
“It’s just crazy,” Scott replies. “It’s taken me 35 billion years to get here. But you have been all over the place. And I remember when I ran into you in that club, Axis, in Boston. It was, like, 2004. You were a baby dragger!”
During those early chance meetings, the pair quickly established a connection that continues to this day. While Jujubee went on to become one of Drag Race’s most beloved contestants ever, Scott enjoyed his own career on TV and in film, proudly out at a time when almost all queer people in Hollywood hid their sexuality. From playing an openly gay policeman in US soap One Life to Live, which at the time in 2009 caused a great deal of controversy, to a recurring character opposite legends Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in hit Netflix series Grace and Frankie, Scott — younger brother to Captain America (aka ‘Chris’ to him) — is ready to make his next big-screen appearance as a ‘Ken’ in the highly anticipated movie, Barbie.
In a suitably outrageously pink house in LA, the pals caught up mid-shoot for Attitude magazine’s annual Pride cover special…
JUJUBEE: I remember running into you in that club, Axis. I was wearing a red wig, you had on this baseball cap, this black shirt. And you were so gay that you had these tiny little wristbands. Scotty was trying to skirt; he was trying it with the boys. Do you remember this photo? [Shows photo to Scott.]
SCOTT: Oh, wow, my God. I remember that. Why was I wearing that hat? What is the point on the top of that hat? And look at you in drag! Holy shit.
This was back in my drinking days, gurl. I was a total train wreck. But you know what I call that? That was bad Juju. And now you’ve got good Juju. You’ve got to have both. There’s balance. That picture was developed August 10, 2004. So, it was probably the Monday before when that photo was taken outside in the smoking section at Axis nightclub, which used to be right across the street from Fenway Park. Monday nights in Boston back then were for all the people in the LGBTQIA+ community to just meet up and have a blast. We were part of this club that everybody wanted to know about. It doesn’t happen like that anymore.
It felt special.
But we first met at arts camp, which is crazy.
Yes, we did. We were ‘Counsellors In Training’, CITs. We had fun.
I gotta say, I was probably the favourite CIT. But I don’t think the kids knew about Jujubee yet, but I think they knew that there was a spark.
I mean, it was arts camp. They would have loved it. We all knew it was coming.
They loved you so much. You were so talented.
I mean, we were like the legacy family. My whole family went there for years. You turn up for one summer and you were the star and I’m like, ‘Well, I put in the work…’
That’s just how Jujubee works, honey. Wipes the floor, then she gets third place. And now she’s doing an interview for Attitude magazine, with superstar mother-effing Scott Evans.
I think it was pretty obvious at summer camp that I was out, but I’m not sure many people really knew about you. Were you out back then?
I wasn’t out, but, like, come on, what was I? If you look at the pictures of me when I played Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat with a rouge-red cheek and a really dark lip. I was living my life making sure the eyeliner was on right. My mother says that when she gave birth, she looked at me and said, “Oh, yeah, I got a gay one.”
What was your coming-out story? Who did you tell first?
I wasn’t out to any of my family or anything. I came out to my older sister first. And then my mother, and then my little sister, and then my brother. It was over the course of a year. I was very fortunate that I didn’t have any kind of drama or shock. It was sort of like, “Why did you wait so long?” It sounds a lot harder than it actually ended up being, for which I feel very lucky.
What was hilarious was when I came out, it was Thanksgiving. I was literally getting food and I said, “I’m gay!” And my aunt was like, “Yeah, we know. Now go sit down and eat your food.” Yeah. We are very lucky people because there are so many people out there — young, older, people our age — who still struggle with coming out and showing their true identity.
Yes, who don’t have relationships with their families and with their parents. I know stories of somebody saying “I’m gay” and their mother saying “I hate you” and kicking them out. Growing up in Massachusetts, we’re also very lucky. Kids would be like, “Oh, that’s so gay.” I think I even said it and then went home and felt sad about it.
I don’t know if this is true for you, but I always knew that I was a bit different. I mean, I’m at the intersection of being, like, Laotian American, left-handed, queer, Brown. Like, I have it all. And I’m also a drag queen. [Laughs]
I kept a journal from a very young age for a very long time. When I was a 17-year-old, I was dating this 21-year-old girl. And in my journals, I would write things like, “I love this girl, I’m gonna marry this girl, can’t wait to have a family.” And then the next sentence, I’d say, “Oh, I made out with Matt behind the bar.” It was just sort of a thing where I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s fine. I’m making a map, and I kind of want a wife and kids.’ I thought the only way to get kids was to have a wife, and now I want nothing to do with children.
Yeah, yeah. I love my cat, and my nieces and nephews. But you get to give them back at the end of the day. You get to be the best guncle, you get to spoil them. You get all the best parts. So, do you remember the first time you were made to feel bad about your sexuality?
I don’t think I ever related it directly to my sexuality, but I remember the things that I did growing up, in terms of dancing and musical theatre that I now associate with being able to be myself and helping me come out. But I would get teased or made fun of for it. I played sports still because I thought I couldn’t just do this one thing. All my friends were, like, the jocks, so when it came to having to choose between doing a show or playing a sport, I would sometimes choose the sport because it would just feel like I had to. It is traumatising. My mother, she would be like, “If you want to do the show, do the show.” But I would be like, “No, no, I want to play the sport.” Those were the early days of not feeling able to choose what I wanted, and feeling like it was because this is making me look a certain way.
Well, I never had that problem because I was never great in sports.
I don’t think I was very good.
[Laughs] OK, I know we’re laughing now, but have you experienced homophobia more recently? I don’t know if this has happened to you, but the worst kind of homophobia is when somebody has the balls to yell “Faggot!” from, like, a moving car.
Yeah, like, pull that fucking car over!
And let me snap my fingers at you and give you one if you want to see one! Have you ever experienced anything like that?
Yeah, I was actually on a first date one time with a guy, and we were walking down the street. I don’t think we were being overly swishy. But some guys did, and these two guys walked by us and one of them yells, “What is it like to suck dick?” And I was like, “Maybe you should wonder why you’re so curious.” And these guys came up and got in my face and I just started yelling back at them. They backed down because they didn’t expect me to, like, yell at them, and they walked away. And I thought the guy I was on a date with was going to be like, “Oh my God, that was so hot” or “Thank you for standing up.” Instead, he was like, “I can’t believe you just did that.” He wanted to go home and I never saw him again. I was like, “Are you kidding me?” I don’t know, I’m not one to back down.
I think my fight-or-flight mode is always like, “What did you say, bitch?”
They don’t expect the gays to fight back, and I will cut you to the core with my mouth. And if that doesn’t work, I will swing.
You know what’s hilarious is if anybody knew about queer history, they would know that Pride began with a brick, and literally the community being so tired of being taunted and dehumanised and made fun of, and not being seen as human, because we are who we are, ya know?
Because they got to a point where there was nothing to lose: ‘I’m gonna throw this fucking brick, I’m going to fight because I can’t be treated any worse. Now I wanna fight!’
I know, I know. I’m an instigator. This is what I do. This is what I did on Drag Race, I would instigate so many things. So, anyway, we all know the internet is full of misinformation. Oh, wait, Miss Information. That’s your drag name — if you ever want to do drag…
I’m already Patty Melt. I’ll have to show you some pictures, because she’s not cute.
OK, we might have to change that. Anyway, here’s a question about something I read on the internet: did your brother Chris out you by accident in an interview?
People see that and are like, “Oh, that’s so awful.” I remember reading that article, it was 2009 or something, and I was, like, 26 years old and I’d been out for a while. My brother called me when he saw the headline and he was just like, “Hey, I’m so sorry. Like, this is what — was I not supposed to?” I had been on a soap opera at that point, and I was a very out person. I made that decision. Everyone always asked: “When did you decide you wanted to be an out actor?” And I’m like: “That never even crossed my mind.” I know a lot of people in the business that are still closeted, and I know a lot of people that don’t like to talk about it, because it does affect your jobs. And people say it’s better now. It’s not. It’s progressed, but it’s not better. But I cared more about my own mental health and my own personal wellbeing, and so I was out. The only reason it seemed like he outed me is because he is in the public eye. Everybody that knew me, knew. I have nothing to hide. If you met me in person, you know.
Did being out have a huge impact on your career?
I’ve always been out, so I don’t think I will ever really know. They’re finally letting gay people play the gay roles, but now it’s like that’s all we’re playing. It’s called acting for a reason. And then all the gay roles that are winning Oscars go to straight men anyway. I think the industry itself has a long way to go. They think what we’re fighting for is that we should play our roles, and it’s not that, it’s that we should be able to tell our stories. So instead of just writing a show about five best friends and you make one of them gay for optics, how about they cast someone in a role where it’s not about being gay, the sassy presenter, the funny assistant or the person that works at the boutique? That’s the same thing with diversity, too. I see it in auditions, where they say, “We’re casting diverse.” And they make that decision just for optics. They’re not wanting to cast a Black guy because they want to tell his story as Black man, it’s just that they want people to see that they cast a Black man. That’s not what people are fighting for when they mean diversity, and so I still think there’s a long way to go.
I completely agree with you there. When I first started out in drag, I would be put in shows because they needed an Asian drag queen.
I bet. That’s horrible. Meanwhile, you’re, like, the most talented person ever.
Thank you! Earlier we talked about how your brother quote unquote, “outed you” but we know that he didn’t. I think he was just talking about his brother, who he loves so much. How does that support make you feel?
It’s crazy. It’s such a unique relationship. We were each other’s first friends when we were kids. Up until we were older, too. There was never a time where it didn’t feel like he wasn’t my best friend. And he still is. And we have a really, really, incredibly unique bond that I love. I think the relationship between brothers can be very unique. It feels like a best friend as opposed to feeling that you have to love someone because they’re family. I used to go to him with all my problems. And I get calls now from him with his problems. And I love it. I’m like, “I’ll give you advice? You’re Captain America!”
I want to be a fly on the wall when y’all have these conversations. I’m very nosy. So, I think this Pride season with all these laws that have been put into place across the United States, what message of hope do you have for someone who’s out there who may not feel so secure and who may feel really alone in their queerness?
It seems very cliche not to say something like “It gets better” but as cliche as that is, it really is true. When you look at a place like Florida with the “Don’t say gay” bill, you might feel like there’s no hope, but you don’t realise how there are people fighting out there to not let this happen. As scary as it seems and as bleak as it seems, it’s not. People are doing everything they can to help. My mother always said to us growing up, “How about Scott worries about Scott?” So, you worry about you. Don’t worry about Marjorie Taylor Greene. Do you know what I mean?
I know what you mean. I think one of the most poignant things that I heard RuPaul say was, “You take care of your feelings, and I’ll take care of mine.” It was so simple. I think authenticity and Pride go hand in hand. How are you going to live authentically this Pride season?
I bought my ticket to Pride this year and I’m going. We’re doing a little Barbie float, which will be fun, and I get to ride on the float and be gay. And I’m very excited. I’m at a point where it’s just, like, do whatever you want to do. I think the hardest part for me about Pride right now is that I don’t like feeling a little bit afraid. And I find myself feeling that, and so I think the way I’m combatting that is by leaning into it and showing up. After Pulse nightclub, I did stay home because I was afraid. But, this year, I’m going and I’m fucking ready.
I think it’s a test for us. And I think the test is to just continue to be loving and kind because sometimes people who are so confused about themselves and their own lives, they just project. It’s easier to project on somebody else when you don’t want to look at yourself, right?
Do you remember visiting London’s West End to see me in Death Drop?
You were so good, gurl.
Thank you. And I was so good. But I’m so excited for you because we finally get to talk about this brand-new spankin’ Barbie movie that you’re in, which you told me in secret about at the time. What was this experience like for you?
It still doesn’t quite feel real. I remember when I submitted the audition band. Then, a couple weeks later, I got a call: “Greta [Gerwig, director] wants to have a meeting with you.” I had the meeting and then a couple hours later, they were like, “You got the offer.” I cried very hard, like, I was hyperventilating, proudly crying. Then they were like, “We want you to leave in three days.” Every day was a dream, getting to work with people like Greta and Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.
You also had a recurring role on Grace and Frankie. What did working with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda teach you?
One of my first days of work, I was there with Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen, and I was like, ‘Am I in this room with these four?’ I was like, ‘This is a dream.’
OK, last question. If you could give baby twink Scott some advice, what would it be?
Oh, I was gonna make a joke, but we’ll keep it serious. I was gonna say, “Don’t eat that last doughnut!” No, I’m just kidding, eat that doughnut. I would say, “Don’t worry about dimming your light. Don’t worry about thinking that you’re too much for people and just be it.”
Photography Dennis Leupold Fashion direction Joseph Kocharian Stylist Luca Falcioni at Opus Beauty Fashion Assistant Tanner Jackson
Barbie is released on 21 July.