Laganja Estranja

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Laganja Estranja
Laganja20160806 034227.jpg
Estranja in 2016
Born
Jay Evan Jackson[1][2]

(1988-12-28) December 28, 1988 (age 33)
EducationCalifornia Institute of the Arts (BFA)
Occupation
Websitelaganjaestranja.com

Jay Evan Jackson, known professionally as Laganja Estranja (born December 28, 1988) is an American choreographer and drag queen based in Los Angeles. Laganja competed on the sixth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, finishing in eighth place. She came out as transgender in 2021.

Early life[edit]

Jackson was born to Nancy Lynn Ferrin Jackson and David Michael Jackson[3][2], was raised in Dallas, Texas, and attended the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.[1] Both of her parents worked as high school guidance counselors for over 30 years.[4] She obtained a BFA in dance from the California Institute of the Arts.[5]

Career[edit]

Drag[edit]

Laganja Estranja's drag debut was at Micky's West Hollywood on November 7, 2011.[6] After winning the Amateur Competition, Laganja became an official "Showgirl" with a monthly gig at Micky's. Laganja went on to win "Queen of Queens" at 340 Nightclub in Pomona, CA and "Best Newcomer" in West Hollywood.[7]

In April 2013, Laganja Estranja auditioned for RuPaul's Drag Race.[8] She was accepted in the show, and filmed in the summer of 2013. In 2014, the sixth season of drag-oriented reality competition RuPaul's Drag Race aired on LogoTV.[9] Laganja performed moderately well on the show, winning a challenge when she was partnered with the eventual runner-up, Adore Delano.[10] Laganja was eliminated in the eighth episode of the season, placing her in a small category of contestants in the show's history who were eliminated the week after winning a challenge.[10] At the outset of the show, Laganja received quite a lot of attention on social media for her entrance.[11] During the show, Laganja became infamous for her over-the-top dramatics, catchphrases, and emotional breakdowns. Eventual winner Bianca Del Rio credited Laganja as the root of every memorable quote from the following season of RuPaul's Drag Race.[12] Laganja's mannerisms have since been parodied by fellow drag queens, including Alaska Thunderfuck.[13]

Laganja Estranja is the drag daughter of Alyssa Edwards, and the drag sister of Shangela[9] and Plastique Tiara —all of whom competed on RuPaul's Drag Race, Edwards appearing on season 5 and season 2 of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars, Shangela appearing on season 2 and 3 and All Stars season 3, and Tiara on season 11. Under the moniker of the Haus of Edwards, they have internationally toured and performed together on multiple occasions,[14] most notably at the pre-show warm-up for the finale episode of the seventh season of RuPaul's Drag Race.[15] Laganja currently hosts her own web show on the drag-centric platform World of Wonder, the same production company behind RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's DragCon LA, and RuPaul's DragCon NYC.[16]

Laganja appeared as a Lip-Sync Assassin in the third episode of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Season 6, winning the lip-sync against fellow season 6 contestant, Trinity K. Bonet.

She was a featured performer during Jennifer Lopez's performance at the 2022 iHeartRadio Music Awards.[17]

Music[edit]

In 2014, Laganja contributed vocals to a cover of RuPaul's "Jealous of My Boogie", for the album RuPaul Presents: The CoverGurlz. Throughout 2014, Laganja was featured on three singles, contributing a rap verse to each song. In 2015, she released her debut single as a lead artist, titled "Legs", which featured American rapper Rye Rye. In June 2015, "Legs" was rated as the third best song by a RuPaul's Drag Race contestant by Pitchfork Media.[18] In June 2015, Laganja was featured on fellow RuPaul's Drag Race star, Alaska Thunderfuck's debut album, Anus, on the track "Gimme All Your Money".[19]

In 2016, she released both her third single "Tease 4U" and a Christmas Album with the Haus of Edwards. Her single on the album is entitled "Green XXXmas," and the video featured exotic dancer Candace Cane.[20] In September 2018, she released her fourth single "Look At Me" featuring J. Tyler, and an accompanying video. The video took a stance against arrests for marijuana possession.[21] In November 2018, she released a lyric video for her fifth single "Smoke Break".[22]

Cannabis advocacy[edit]

As a cannabis rights activist, Laganja has hosted conversations on cannabis legalization at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and at Impulse in San Francisco.[23] She has also been featured twice in High Times Magazine as well as on the cover of Dope Magazine,[24] making her the first LGBTQ+ advocate on the cover of a cannabis magazine.[25] In 2014, Laganja launched a collection of marijuana-themed merchandise including a jewelry line named Laganja Estranja Is My Enemy.[26] Laganja has also collaborated with Blunted Objects on a marijuana-themed statement necklace.[27]

In September 2018, Laganja was interviewed[28] by Civilized Magazine about her music video[29] for Look at Me that “slammed” the war on drugs. The interview by Civilized — a magazine reported to be for the millions of adults who choose to enjoy cannabis recreationally[30] — covered a number of aspects behind the imagery of Laganja's music video. Leafly, the world's largest cannabis information site, featured Laganja on its in-house podcast in January 2019.[31] The podcast, The Hash, explored, alongside Laganja, topics like homophobia in the cannabis industry and what it's like to often be the only queer person in a room.

The Laganja Estranja lifestyle brand includes a collaboration preroll joint with San Francisco's The Hepburns, called "LAhepburns."[32] Laganja also partnered with FRUIT SLABS, a company making cannabis infused, vegan, real-fruit squares for their 2019 PRIDE collection. Laganja worked with FRUIT SLABS to create a one-of-a-kind flavor to be offered for a limited time.[33]

Dance[edit]

Graduating from The California Institute of the Arts in 2011 with a bachelor of fine arts degree in dance and choreography, Laganja is a skilled choreographer, teacher, and dancer. A Presidential Scholar in The Arts, Laganja performed her original work “not today” at the Kennedy Center in 2007.[34] Laganja is also a YoungArts Silver Winner[35] and returns every year to the program to mentor high school students in Miami, Florida. Laganja's choreography credits include Germany's Next Top Model, NYC Cosmetics FACE Awards, and for commercial artists such as Miley Cyrus and Brooke Candy.[36]

In mid-2017, Laganja led a dance theatre project on gender expression with artists across Europe assembling in Nottingham, UK for a four-day workshop and showcase exploring the boundaries of gender identity.[37] “G[END]ER” was in collaboration with Backlit Gallery, Kitty Tray, and Nottingham Contemporary. In the fall of 2018, Laganja elaborated on this idea of gender expression with her dance residency at YoungArts.[38] The immersive experience included live vocals, original compositions, and curated set design. In late-2018, Laganja was partnered with the Pérez Art Museum Miami (Pamm)[38] to present the art of drag for a one-day Poplife Social YoungArts Takeover. The event at the world-renowned art museum included an invitation from Laganja herself, “Onto Pamm’s terrace to warm up their dance muscles, ‘sissy that walk’ across the space and participate in a fan dance inspired by traditional Japanese performance.”

In 2016, Laganja's Dance School, an international high-heels masterclass and confidence workshop, was founded with partner Kristen Lovell.[39] The master class has been held in dozens of cities in the United States and as an international experience, has traveled to Manchester, Nottingham, London, Newcastle, Dublin, Lima, Mexico City, and Amsterdam.[40][41] Laganja's Dance School is held weekly at The Basement Center of NoHo in North Hollywood, and a beginning Heels Technique class is held at Downtown Dance and Movement in Downtown Los Angeles.[40] In 2019, the documentary Laganja's Dance School was released. The documentary was directed by Selene Kapsaski and chronicles Laganja Estranja teaching a dance class in London.[42]

Personal life[edit]

Laganja spoke out against Donald Trump while the latter was running for president of the United States, and is committed to continuing to use her platform for social change.[43] In 2021, she came out as a transgender woman.[44]

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

As lead artist[edit]

Title Year
"Legs"[45]
(featuring Rye Rye)
2015
"Hotbox"[46]
"Tease 4u" 2016
"Look at Me"

(featuring J. Tyler)

2018
"Smoke Break"

As featured artist[edit]

Title Year
"Got Beat"[47]
(Kraax featuring Laganja Estranja, Cool B. & Lissa Wick)
2014
"Oh No She Better Don't"[48]
(RuPaul featuring Drag Race Season 6 Cast)
"Gold Grill BBQ"[49]
(Krysta Youngs featuring Laganja Estranja & Melanie Fontana)
"Gimme All Your Money[50]
(Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 featuring Laganja Estranja)
2015

Guest appearances[edit]

Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"Jealous of My Boogie"[51] 2014 RuPaul RuPaul Presents: The CoverGurlz
"Gimme All Your Money"[19] 2015 Alaska Thunderfuck Anus

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2021 The Bitch Who Stole Christmas[52] Herself

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2014 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself (Contestant) Season 6 – 8th place [9]
Untucked Herself Companion show to RuPaul's Drag Race [10]
2015 Skin Wars Herself Season 2 - Guest [53]
2017, 2019 Bong Appétit Herself Season 1, Episode 6 - Guest [54][55]
2018 Germany's Next Topmodel Herself Season 13, Episode 14 - Guest
2018 The Browns Herself Guest appearance [56]
2018–19 So You Think You Can Dance Herself (Contestant) Season 15 [57][58][59]
2019 Queen of Drags Herself (guest) Episode 6
2021 RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars (season 6) Herself "Lip Sync Assassin" (episode 3) [60]
RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars: Untucked (season 3)

Music videos[edit]

Title Year Director Ref.
"Jealous of My Boogie" 2014 Jay Jackson [61]
"Got Beat" 2014 Kristen R. Lovell [62]
"Gold Grill BBQ" 2014 Kristen R. Lovell [63]
"Legs" (featuring Rye Rye) lyric video 2015 Zigmortius [64]
"Gimme All Your Money" (featuring Laganja Estranja) 2016 Justin Andrew Honard [65]
"Green XXXMas" 2016 Kristen R. Lovell [66]

Music video appearances[edit]

Title Year Director Ref.
"No Bueno"
(Angel Haze)
2013 Frank Borin [67]
"Expensive"
(Todrick Hall)
2016 Todrick Hall [68]
"Gimme All Your Money"
(Alaska Thunderfuck 5000)
2016 Justin Andrew Honard & Nick Laughlin [69]
"Mask, Gloves, Soap, Scrubs"
(Todrick Hall)
2020 Todrick Hall [70]

Web series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref
2014 Be$tie$ for Ca$h Herself Guest [71]
2018 Wait, What? Herself Guest [72]
2018 Puff Puff Sessions Herself Host [73]
2019 The Pit Stop Herself Guest [74]
2020 Working Out Is a Drag Herself Guest [75]
2020 Bootleg Opinions Herself Guest [76]
2021 Binge Queens Herself Guest [77]
2021 Out of the Closet Herself Guest [78]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b "Jay Evan Jackson". Ancestry Institute. Ancestry. Retrieved November 12, 2022.
  3. ^ @LaganjaEstranja (November 27, 2014). "@k10lovely & I have the coolest parents!! Even they are supportive of the #TeamGanja launch:" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  4. ^ @LaganjaEstranja (November 9, 2021). "It's called being vulnerable and that's just who I am… I grew up with two parents who worked as high school counselors for 30+ years. I was encouraged to wear my heart on my blouse" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  5. ^ "About". Laganja Estranja official website. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
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  76. ^ Drag Race Season 12 Episode 12 x Bootleg Opinions with Laganja Estranja!. Yuhua Hamasaki. May 16, 2020. Retrieved January 26, 2022 – via YouTube.
  77. ^ SPOILER ALERT: Binge Queens - RuPaul's Drag Race UK Season 3, Episode 1. WOWPresents. September 23, 2021. Retrieved September 24, 2021 – via YouTube.
  78. ^ Laganja: Welcome to the Bungalow, S5 E1, Out of the Closet. RuPaul's Drag Race. November 8, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2021 – via YouTube.

External links[edit]