Performing in a roast is hard, as the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 14 found out in the latest episode — hard enough that RuPaul had to send two girls packing in one episode.
The episode, which aired on Friday, Apr. 1, the remaining seven queens were tasked with putting on a roast of judge Ross Matthews. Sharpening their verbal knives, the queens poked and jabbed at each other, the judges, and even Ru herself, to varying degrees of success. Bosco, who was nearly eliminated last week, won the challenge, while Daya Betty, Jorgeous and DeJa Skye all wound up in the bottom, where Ru revealed that two girls would be sashaying away on this episode.
Performing in a three way lip sync to the Olivia Rodrigo‘s Billboard Hot 100-topping 2021 smash “good 4 u,” the queens did everything they good to capture the judges attention — ultimately Daya Betty earned her spot in the competition, while DeJa and Jorgeous were both asked to sashay away. Below, Billboard chats with DeJa about the shocking elimination twist, her now-iconic Snatch Game performance, and her reaction to becoming the queen of the memes.
How you about your time on the show, DeJa?
I feel good about it, I’m really proud of myself. Going into it, I said that I was not necessarily there to win the whole shebang, I was more or less there to set goals and to push myself out of my box and do things that I’ve never done before — I’ve never acted, I’ve never done a roast as I’m sure you could tell. [Laughs.] It was very much my way of pushing myself to see what I was capable of, and honestly, I think that’s what was more or my end goal. The crown would be great, absolutely, but I think that I had other ambitions when it came to the competition.
Before we get to anything else, I need to talk to you about the fans and their memes, because you have become one of their favorite subjects to make memes from. What is it like to watch fans do that in real time?
[Laughs.] I mean, obviously, we are there for so long, and you have no idea what you did the day before because you’re so exhausted and under pressure. So I don’t even remember these moments that fans are using! Mark my words, I never would have thought I’d be the meme queen of season 14. Like, I thought, “I’ll go on and maybe they’ll love the makeup, or the body positivity.” But every single time I get tagged in another meme, it’s like, “Nope, don’t remember that at all!” I guess I have a pretty expressive face and I give good reactions. I don’t know, I think I need to capitalize on it!
I appreciated that at the start of this episode, both you and Jorgeous were keeping it real when talking in confessionals about Bosco being saved, essentially being like, “When are the queens ever going home?” Was it at all frustrating on set how frequently no one went home this season?
I probably said this in an Untucked or something, but I don’t have that competitive mindset. So, when I’m in the competition, the only thing I’m thinking about is, “Oh my god, I get another week with my girls.” Now, when I was saying, “Yay for Bosco, but it sucks for us,” I was more talking about the fact that the golden chocolate bar was now gone and the rest of us can’t f–k up now. I thought Bosco absolutely should have still been in the competition, to be real! My mentality was, honestly, “Just take us all to the finale,” because I had such a strong connection with everyone. Now, in hindsight, there is a level of “we get it, but come on,” you know? Looking back, even as a fan, it’s like, “I love them all, but now let’s get to the crown!”
Well, careful what you wish for because, spoiler alert, RuPaul pulls the rug out from under you and says “two of you are sashaying” this episode! How gagged were you when she said that?
That was the gag! We had no idea, he told us right before we were going to lip sync, and I don’t know if they showed my face, but I was shocked, and then I was like, “Yeah, I get it.” I think that’s really where I was. I was kind of already f–ked up in the head having to lip sync against Jorgeous, who’s my best friend in the competition, and Daya who I respect so much. What’s crazy is, my reaction was not “game on,” it was like, “Well, it’s up to Ru, I guess.” It felt like the decision was fully just going to be whoever Ru wanted to see through the competition. And I couldn’t be mad at the outcome!
I don’t know, to me, there’s no point in being crazy competitive — I ended up not being on, what, like one episode of this season? My mindset the whole time was, “Whatever is for me, is for me.” At some point, you have to take it for what it is and just move on!
Before we get to the roast, I want to chat with you about your Snatch Game — your Lil Jon was so funny, that even Lil Jon himself came forward and said he loved it. How did that feel when he tweeted at you?
That was so cool of him. They didn’t air it, but one of Ru’s critiques about the performance was, he said, “What I love most about your portrayal is that I can tell he would really enjoy it.” The fact that he fully retweeted me and commented on it was so wild to me. I was so shook, because also, he’s a cisgender straight male in the hip-hop world — that doesn’t always coincide with Drag Race and the queer community. So I was like, “Damn, he kinda went out on a limb, retweeted this knowing that it could get some people hating on him,” and he fully was like, “I don’t care, I liked it!” Hopefully we’ll get a Lil Jon and Not-So-Lil Jon collaboration in the future, but we’ll see! [Laughs.]
And then, not to mention, my backup was Abby Lee Miller, and she tweeted at me saying that she wanted to see it! That was so crazy!
That brings us to the roast — this is such a hard challenge to get right. Do you think the difficulty of pulling off roast jokes threw you off?
Oh yeah — this is completely different from anything we’d done! I think people who have their gripes will probably be saying things like, “Well she did good at improv! She was great at Snatch Game!” It’s a fully different animal to write a set of jokes, and finding the funniest, most cutting nuggets is so hard! I am great when I’m chillin’ in the work room telling my dad jokes, but writing your own joke is an absolutely different beast. Even the girls who excelled will tell you, “That was nerve-wracking.”
It’s even more stressful, too, because if they like it, they’ll laugh; if they don’t, they’re just going to look at you with stone-cold faces. And you have to keep going! Like, it was so brutal that I really felt like, in that moment, Michelle was a little disappointed in me, and I really respect her, so I was upset!
Before I let you go, we’ve been asking all of the queens from season 14 — is there a song, an album or an artist that has been giving you inspiration as of late?
Oh, it’s Charli XCX’s Crash album. Every song is a bop —I just worked with her in London for Porn Idol at Heaven the Thursday before her album dropped, and it was crazy to me that I was in her presence. Every song is a song a drag queen would love to perform, so it’s literally on constant repeat in my head.