Jackie has been easy to love this season, but does she have what it takes to snatch the crown away from the other queens?
There is a lot to appreciate with Jackie. Her runway looks have been consistently well-crafted, and her comedy routines have often been funnier than those of the season’s front-runners. Most importantly, she brings a unique story to Drag Race: being a child of Iranian descent whose mother doesn’t approve of her.
This has been both tragic and comedic through the season. It’s heartbreaking that anyone could disapprove of such a kind, endearing person; on the other hand, Jackie makes light of her mother’s persona, even impersonating her in the “One Queen Show” episode (to the judges’ delight). It’s fascinating how complex this mother-son relationship is. And it’s refreshingly deep for the genre of reality TV, which typically focuses on one-note narratives for its personalities.
Jackie reached peak complexity in the “Stars & Stripes Forever” runway on episode 9, when she wore a blue star-studded hijab and a red-and-white caftan on the main stage. My first thought was “Oh, cool, there’s a message behind that.” Overall, a beautiful look.
Then Jeff Goldblum asked a controversial question about the outfit’s ties to Islam: ““Is there something in this religion that is anti-homosexuality and anti-woman? Does that complicate the issue?” I cringed, knowing how that would play with Drag Race’s audience. But Jackie and Ru herself answered in a way that made me pause the episode to think.
Jackie says she is not religious, but “this outfit really represents the importance that visibility for people of religious minorities need to have in this country.” Not a religious person myself, this is incredibly thought-provoking: how someone might represent parts of their culture they don’t necessarily agree with. She admits her “own misgivings about the way LGBT people are treated in the Middle East,” but “at the same time, I am one.” And “what is so important to me is that if you just happen to be different, then live that truth.”
Mama Ru chimes in that drag has “always shaken the tree,” and that “there are so many different layers to this presentation. If it was ever going to be done, this is the stage to do it.” Drag has always been controversial, rebellious, and unconventional, flying in the face of every rule in every book regarding gender (masculinity in particular).
In other words: Jackie’s look encapsulates the entire point of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and drag as an art form.
Alright, so how has she been doing in the show overall?
Jackie has received praise and been near the top in six challenges. That is more than any other queen this season, even the ones who have won multiple challenges. And, she has won three mini-challenges (which she jokingly asked to trade in for one main challenge win). Even without a win, Jackie clearly has lots to show for her effort this season.
But while Jackie has probably the most compelling story of all the remaining queens, and has been praised so often this season, we can’t ignore that she hasn’t won a challenge yet. (For reference: Gigi and Jaida have each won three challenges, and Crystal has won one.)
Challenge wins may not be the most important factor in deciding a winner each season (see Season 9 or All-Stars 3), but they certainly correlate positively with a queen’s chances of winning RuPaul’s Drag Race.
So, let’s get down to brass tucks: Can Miss Cox win Drag Race this year?
It pains me to say it, but her odds are slim. I don’t disagree with Ru’s claim that this season’s final six are some of the fiercest queens we’ve ever seen. These really are some fabulous girls and Jackie is going to have a tough time beating them. That’s just the T.
Jackie is a definite highlight this year on Drag Race. She’s charismatic and unique; she’s got nerve and talent. I don’t think anyone dislikes her, and she has a real shot at Miss Congeniality if she doesn’t win. But snatching the crown from the other girls will be very tough.