Aja (drag queen)

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Aja
Rupaul Dragcon 2018-227 (40268259480).jpg
Aja (left) and Alyssa Edwards (right) at RuPaul's DragCon LA 2018
Born
Jay Rivera

(1994-01-04) January 4, 1994 (age 24)[1]
ResidenceBrooklyn, New York, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
Occupation
Known for
Websiteajakween.com

Aja is the stage name of Jay Rivera (born January 4, 1994),[1][2] an American drag performer, reality television personality, rapper, and queer artist best known for competing on season 9 of RuPaul's Drag Race and season 3 of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars. Aja released the EP In My Feelings in 2018, and they currently host a web series called Ayo Sis on WOW Presents Plus.

Career[edit]

Rivera began doing drag in Manhattan at age 16, participating in contests at Posh Bar, the Stonewall Inn, Metropolitan Bar and Sugarland.[3] Aja was announced to be competing on the ninth season of RuPaul's Drag Race alongside 13 other contestants on February 2, 2017.[4] Aja placed ninth overall, later returning for the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars on October 20, 2017.[5] Aja was eliminated during the fifth episode, but returned in the following episode with the other eliminated queens for a chance to win re-entry into the competition.[6][7] Morgan McMichaels rejoined the competition, which placed Aja seventh overall.[7] In March 2018, Aja hosted a live streamed Drag Race trivia contest with the cast of season 10.[8]

The drag house Haus of Aja, based in Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, includes members Aja, Kandy Muse, Momo Shade, Dahlia Sin, and Janelle No5.[9][10] The group perform at Hardware Bar.[11]

Aja appeared in a commercial for H&M's Pride OUT Loud campaign in May 2018.[12] Since June 2018, Aja has hosted a talk show called Ayo Sis on WOW Presents Plus.[13] In July 2018, Rivera announced that they no longer wish to be known as a drag queen, but rather as a queer artist, stating to them. Magazine:

[B]eing a queer artist is more generalized, and being a drag queen is way more specific. I know I kind of let go of the idea of being a drag queen because, for most people, the stereotypical drag queen lip syncs and performs. I've been working on my burlesque and my live music, and I don't really have the drive to dance and flip flop and be doing dips and, 'Is she gonna jump from there?' It's just not something I want to do. It's something that is part of me, but it's not something that I'm carrying into the future, so I’m kind of leaving the term behind.[14]

Music[edit]

Aja released the single "Level Ya Pussy Up" with producers WNNR and DJ Accident Report in February 2017.[15] Aja's single with fellow season 9 queens Sasha Velour, Peppermint and Alexis Michelle, titled "C.L.A.T.", was released on April 21, 2017.[16][17] The track was produced by DJ Mitch Ferrino, who was featured on "Purse First" by Bob the Drag Queen.[18] Producer Adam Joseph remixed Aja's rant at competing season 9 queen Valentina in a track called "Linda Evangelista."[19][20][21] In September 2017, Aja appeared in the music video for Velo's song "Big D*ck Daddy" alongside Phi Phi O'Hara.[22]

On March 1, 2018, Aja released a solo music video, "Finish Her!", which was produced in collaboration with WNNR and Accident Report. It features some of Aja's runway looks from All Stars 3.[23] Their debut EP, In My Feelings, was released on May 11, 2018.[24] Videos for two other songs from In My Feelings, "Brujería" and "I Don't Wanna Brag," were released on May 7, 2018, and July 13, 2018, respectively.[25][26]

Personal life[edit]

Rivera is of Moroccan, Egyptian and Libyan descent,[27][28] and they identify as a person of color.[29] They were adopted and raised by a single mother in Brooklyn. They used to suffer from PTSD and anxiety, attributing them to a "broken family" situation, but stopped having panic attacks after starting drag.[3]

Rivera resides in New York City.[30] They lived as a trans woman for a year at age 18, later coming to identify as genderqueer after learning about non-binary identities.[14] They use singular they pronouns.[31]

Just before filming season 9 of Drag Race, Rivera was in a situation of domestic violence with a previous boyfriend.[32] In December 2017, Rivera and their current boyfriend were kicked out of a Lyft after kissing.[29][33] The driver was later fired, and the company issued a statement of support for Aja.[33]

In August 2018, Aja was banned from Twitter for referring to a user who discounted their gender identity as a "senseless cow."[34] Their account was reinstated after a few hours.[35]

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year Title Notes
2017 "Level Ya Pussy Up"[15]
2017 "C.L.A.T. (feat. DJ Mitch Ferrino)"[18] With Alexis Michelle, Peppermint and Sasha Velour
2018 "Finish Her! (feat. WNNR & DJ Accident Report)"[23]
2018 "Brujería (feat. Mitch Ferrino)"[36]
2018 "Demons, Witches & Bitches"[37] With MC Shilow and The Vixen
2018 "Art Jesus"[38]

Extended plays[edit]

Year Title
2018 In My Feelings[24]

Filmography[edit]

Television[edit]

Year Title Role
2017 RuPaul's Drag Race (season 9) Contestant (9th place)
2017 RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked (season 9)
2018 RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars (season 3) Contestant (7th place)

Film[edit]

Year Title Role
2018 Femme[39] Panzy LaRue

Internet series[edit]

Year Title Role
2018 Hey Qween![40] Guest; accompanied by the Haus of Aja
2018 Fashion Photo RuView[41][42] Guest host (two episodes)
2018 Ayo Sis[13] Host
2018 Follow Me[43] Subject of one episode

Music videos[edit]

Year Title
2017 "Too Funky" (short)[44]
2017 "C.L.A.T." (short)[18]
2018 "Finish Her!"[45][46]
2018 "Brujería"[25][47]
2018 "I Don't Wanna Brag"[26]
2018 "I'm Kawaii / Ayo Sis"[48][49]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Aja [@ajaqueen] (January 4, 2018). "God its my birthday yall. 24 years old never seemed more anti climatic lol. But i guess ill combine my farewell 2017 post with my birthday post.
    This past year has definitely been one for the books"
    (Tweet). Archived from the original on February 24, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2018 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ Patricio, Edana (March 9, 2017). "'RuPaul's Drag Race' season 9 episode 1: Lady Gaga, the Queens and spoilers". International Business Times. Newsweek Media Group. Archived from the original on October 27, 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Giannotta, Meghan (February 13, 2018). "Bushwick's 'Drag Race' contestant Aja explains the therapeutic power of drag". AM New York. Rich Tomko. Archived from the original on February 24, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  4. ^ "RuPaul's Drag Race Cast | logotv.com". Logo TV. Archived from the original on November 14, 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  5. ^ Nolfi, Joey (October 20, 2017). "'RuPaul's Drag Race' reveals first 'All Stars 3' cast member". Entertainment Weekly. Meredith Corporation. Archived from the original on February 21, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  6. ^ Yang, Bowen; Rogers, Matt (February 22, 2018). "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Recap: Survival Art". Vulture. New York Media, LLC. Archived from the original on February 23, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Yang, Bowen; Rogers, Matt (March 1, 2018). "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Recap: Messy Girls". Vulture. New York Media, LLC. Archived from the original on March 2, 2018. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  8. ^ VH1 (March 22, 2018). ✨ Aja Tests the Cast of RuPaul's Drag Race Season 10 w/ the #DragRace Herstory Quiz | VH1 (YouTube video). Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  9. ^ "The Haus of Aja". Grizzly Kiki. November 18, 2016. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  10. ^ Aja [@ajaqueen] (April 16, 2018). "The #Hausofaja would like to present to you our newest member @janelle.no.5 !!! We love this hoe and can't wait to see what this woman adds to our collective ✨💕 @dahlia_sin @thekandymuse @momoshade photo by @orograph" (Tweet). Archived from the original on April 17, 2018. Retrieved April 17, 2018 – via Twitter.
  11. ^ Shorey, Eric (June 13, 2017). "5 Brooklyn drag supergroups ripe for your adoration". Brokelyn. Archived from the original on February 22, 2018. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  12. ^ Igneri, Jenna (May 24, 2018). "Aja Is The Face Of H&M's New Pride OUT Loud Campaign". Nylon. Archived from the original on May 24, 2018. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  13. ^ a b Nolfi, Joey (June 25, 2018). "Vaaanjie! Find out which RuPaul's Drag Race alums are getting their own TV shows". Entertainment Weekly. Meredith Corporation. Archived from the original on June 25, 2018. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  14. ^ a b Street, Mikelle (July 3, 2018). "Why 'Drag Race' Alum Aja Is No Longer Using the Term 'Drag Queen'". them. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on July 4, 2018. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  15. ^ a b "Level Ya Pussy Up (feat. WNNR & DJ Accident Report) - Single". iTunes Store. February 2, 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  16. ^ Lynch, Joe (April 21, 2017). "'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 9 Queens From NYC Team Up for 'C.L.A.T.' Video: Exclusive". Billboard. Lynne Segall. ISSN 0006-2510. Archived from the original on August 20, 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  17. ^ Lynch, Joe (September 19, 2017). "17 Best Songs From 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Queens". Billboard. Lynne Segall. Archived from the original on November 2, 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  18. ^ a b c "C.L.A.T. (feat. DJ Mitch Ferrino) - Single". iTunes Store. April 21, 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  19. ^ Rudolph, Christopher (April 17, 2017). "Aja's 'Untucked' Valentina Read Has Been Turned Into A Killer Club Track". NewNowNext. Logo TV. Archived from the original on February 22, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  20. ^ Katz, Evan (April 20, 2017). "Model Linda Evangelista shows love to 'RPDR' by posting iconic Aja/Valentina meme on IG". Mic. Mic Network Inc. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  21. ^ "Linda Evangelista - Single". iTunes Store. May 3, 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  22. ^ Rudolph, Christopher (September 4, 2017). "Aja And Phi Phi O'Hara Want a "Big D*ck Daddy" in New Velo Music Video". NewNowNext. Logo TV. Archived from the original on February 22, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  23. ^ a b "Finish Her! (feat. WNNR & DJ Accident Report) - Single". iTunes Store. March 1, 2018. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  24. ^ a b Lynch, Joe (May 11, 2018). "'Drag Race' All Star Aja on Her Debut EP, 'Classism' In the New York Drag Scene & Rejecting the Gender Binary". Billboard. Lynne Segall. Archived from the original on May 12, 2018. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  25. ^ a b Aja The Kween (May 7, 2018). AJA - BRUJERIA (FEAT. DJ MITCH FERRINO) (YouTube video). Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  26. ^ a b Daw, Stephen (July 14, 2018). "Watch 'Drag Race' Star Aja Show Off Cocky Side in New 'I Don't Wanna Brag' Video". Billboard. Lynne Segall. Archived from the original on July 14, 2018. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  27. ^ Aja [@ajaqueen] (July 10, 2018). "I'm Moroccan and Egyptian" (Tweet). Archived from the original on July 30, 2018. Retrieved July 30, 2018 – via Twitter.
  28. ^ Aja [@ajaqueen] (July 10, 2018). "And a small percentage Libyan" (Tweet). Archived from the original on July 30, 2018. Retrieved July 30, 2018 – via Twitter.
  29. ^ a b Cuby, Michael (February 1, 2018). "Aja Told Us the Backstory Behind Her Epic Death Drop on RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars Season 3". them. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on February 22, 2018. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  30. ^ Aja (February 15, 2018). "What Aja of 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars' Can't Live Without". New York. New York Media, LLC. Archived from the original on February 19, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  31. ^ MissPepper Mint (May 5, 2017). Rupaul's Drag Race Recap EP 7 with Peppermint (SPOILER ALERT) (YouTube video). 6:40 minutes in. I identify by they, them, and their.
  32. ^ Dresden, Hilton (February 8, 2018). "Aja Spills on That Death Drop, Milk, & Why All Stars 3 is the Most 'Shocking' Season Yet". Out. Joe Landry. ISSN 1062-7928. Archived from the original on February 22, 2018. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  33. ^ a b Cooper, Mariah (December 14, 2017). "'RuPaul's Drag Race' alum Aja kicked out of Lyft for kissing boyfriend". Washington Blade. Lynne Brown. Archived from the original on February 22, 2018. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  34. ^ Damshenas, Sam (August 2, 2018). "Drag Race star Aja got banned from Twitter for calling out a transphobe". Gay Times. James Frost. Archived from the original on August 2, 2018. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  35. ^ Pearce, Tilly (August 4, 2018). "RuPaul's Drag Race star Aja banned from Twitter after transphobes attacked them". Metro. DMGT. Archived from the original on August 26, 2018. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  36. ^ "Brujería (feat. Mitch Ferrino) - Single". iTunes Store. May 7, 2018. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  37. ^ Bote, Joshua (October 17, 2018). "Aja Links With The Vixen For Spooky, Nicki Minaj-Inspired Track: Listen". Billboard. Lynne Segall. Archived from the original on October 17, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  38. ^ Rodriguez, Mathew (November 14, 2018). "Aja Continues a Hot Streak with Rap Single 'Art Jesus'". INTO. Grindr LLC. Archived from the original on November 15, 2018. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  39. ^ Garner, Glenn (March 20, 2017). "RPDR Season 9 Queen Aja Joins Femme Cast, Talks Film's Themes". Out. Joe Landry. Archived from the original on April 20, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  40. ^ Out.com Editors (January 29, 2018). "Watch Aja Sashay Her Way Onto the Season Premiere of Hey Qween". Out. Joe Landry. Archived from the original on February 22, 2018. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  41. ^ "FASHION PHOTO RUVIEW: Hats Incredible with Raja and Aja". Fashion Photo RuView. April 28, 2018. WOW Presents. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  42. ^ "FASHION PHOTO RUVIEW: Mermaid Fantasy with Raja and Aja". Fashion Photo RuView. May 5, 2018. WOW Presents. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  43. ^ Frye, Javay (July 3, 2018). "Need a Double Dose of Aja? Watch Her 'Follow Me' Episode and an All New Episode of 'Ayo Sis'". The WOW Report. World of Wonder Productions, Inc. Archived from the original on July 4, 2018. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  44. ^ Lynch, Joe (April 4, 2017). "Peppermint Leads 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Queens In Recreation of George Michael's 'Too Funky' Video: Exclusive". Billboard. Lynne Segall. Archived from the original on August 19, 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  45. ^ QWEERIST Editor (March 4, 2018). "AJA Levels Up In 'Finish Her' Music Video". QWEERIST. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  46. ^ Jackson, Gita (March 5, 2018). "Drag Race Contestant's Music Video Is Like A Rad New Fighting Game". Kotaku. Archived from the original on March 6, 2018. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  47. ^ Moran, Justin (May 7, 2018). "Aja Channels Her Witchy Spirit In 'Brujería'". Paper. Paper Communications. Archived from the original on May 7, 2018. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  48. ^ Daw, Stephen (September 24, 2018). "Aja Shows Off All Aspects of Gender in New Dual Video for 'Ayo Sis/Bitch I'm Kawaii': Watch". Billboard. Lynne Segall. Archived from the original on September 24, 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  49. ^ Aja The Kween (September 24, 2018). AJA - I'm Kawaii / Ayo Sis (Official Music Video) (YouTube video). Retrieved September 24, 2018.

External links[edit]