Good Juju: Jujubee on authenticity, connecting with audiences, and the importance of being yourself
Jujubee is a world-famous drag queen, reality TV star, singer—and now, podcast host, with the recent launch of the first season of her dating game show podcast, Queen of Hearts.
Across all forms of entertainment, Jujubee is a fan favorite who displays both a quick wit and a big heart while always being her authentic self. That authenticity is greatly desired by audiences—three-fourths of consumers (72% US, 78% Europe) are willing to pay more for brands that come from a place of authenticity, according to a 2021 survey by Environics Research.1
We sat down with Jujubee at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity to learn her secret sauce for creating compelling content that engages her audience.
At the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in June, we caught up with Jujubee to talk about the growth of her career and brand.
I didn’t start thinking of myself as a brand until I branched out into music and acting from my drag career. It feels like my work has evolved organically, and I learned to grow with it.
RuPaul’s Drag Race has given me such an amazing platform and countless opportunities. The fans are incredible. I’m at the intersection of so many facets of identity—not only my work as a drag queen, but my representation as a brown, queer, Laotian American is so important. There are fans from all over the world who have learned of me from all the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchises I’ve competed in, TLC’s Dragnificent!, my music, or even live theater in London’s West End.
Now I have a new podcast called Queen of Hearts that you can listen to on Amazon Music, which I’m sure will reach an even wider audience. I’ve learned that I must challenge myself with growing my art and evolving with the audience. It’s important to remain centered, grounded, and authentic, and still stay connected.
The most inspiring thing for me when I create is I always picture myself in the audience. I’ll never put out anything I wouldn’t watch myself.
With music, I write from my heart and my own experience. There are some beautiful ways to tell personal stories through music and keeping it at a place where it’s relatable to most of the audience. I believe relatability and honesty bring fans closer.
Authenticity is extremely important. People want to feel included and heard. When we can share our stories, we become grounded with the audience. It feels safe to share.
The human experience is a wonderful gift, and to have the ability to connect on social media has been great for visibility and shared understanding.
The recognition and representation of me, a brown, queer, Laotian American man, is an important one. I fully embrace myself. I am always seeking more knowledge and wisdom. It’s important for brands to work with diverse talents, because that represents such a vast people from every curve of this planet.
When I was a child, I didn’t see anyone who looked or sounded like me in mainstream media. Looking back, it seems like I was misguided in what the actual world was. We are a colorful Earth with many faces and stories—each unique. For major brands to take the step and work with all people, we show everyone that they, too, are part of this global family.
Throughout my career, I’ve learned that having the ability to amplify others—and doing it—is important. We all have voices and our love languages may differ, but to be heard and understood comes as a great blessing.
This is important. People from the LGBTQ+ community are around all year, every year. Pride season is very important. My advice for brands to keep an authentic connection year-round is to work with and share our stories year-round. There are many intersections in the LGBTQ+ community, and each story is important.
My advice to brands or content creators trying to build brand love and loyalty is to be YOU. BE HONEST.
If you can come from a place of love and share all the different sides of you, people will fall head over heels for you. People want to giggle. I take my work seriously, but I don’t take myself seriously. There’s a sweet balance there. I like to call it “Good Juju.”
1 Environics Research, US, Mexico, Europe, Canada, 2021