The cast of drag queens fighting for the crown in Season 12 of RuPaul's Drag Race was announced on Thursday. Thirteen brand new queens — hailing from New York, Los Angeles, and places in between — are ready to stomp the runway. One particular queen has a moniker, however, that managed to recall a prominent moment in RuPaul's illustrious career.
New York City queen Jan Sport — you know, like the backpacks — is one of this season's new queens, but she must have run into VH1's copyright lawyers on her way to the runway, because she'll be competing as simply Jan on Drag Race. And while a drag queen named Jan feels ever so out of place on a show whose winners have included such monikers as Sasha Velour and Sharon Needles, she does bring to mind an important moment in both RuPaul's and America's cultural history. The 1995 comedy classic The Brady Bunch Movie retold the story of a lovely lady, who was bringing up three very lovely girls. But that's not important right now. What's important was that the middle child was having emotional problems and had to see the school counselor, Mrs. Cummings, about them. And Mrs. Cummings was played by none other than RuPaul:
A cameo for the ages, in one of the campiest movies of the 90s. So if nothing else, Jan's sad mononym might actually lead to some kind of divine RuPaul callback.
The Brady Bunch movies are no strangers to starting memes, which you well know if you've ever been dismissed with a "Sure, Jan." Certainly the least RuPaul could do for poor Jan (née Sport) after stripping her of her stage name is to give her the honor of a customary greeting every week on the runway. Imagine a "Jan? Come back when you're pregnant" every week, similar to how Ru ran "Ivyyyyyy Winterrrrrrrs!" into the ground in Season 5. It'll be great.
Jan's not the only queen this season who had to change her name due to copyright infringement, by the way. Her fellow NYC queen, the great Brita Filter, will be going by simply Brita on Season 12. Like she's some kinda lost Von Trapp queen. In the past, queens have had to drop their stage surnames, though in many of their cases it was to keep obscenities off the air, like Detox (née Detox Icunt). The most prominent example of this was All-Stars 2 winner Alaska Thunderfuck 5000, who shortened her name to simply Alaska. Other queen names have likely been shortened for brevity, like Mariah Paris Balenciaga and Katya Zamalochikova, or to avoid surname overlap with another queen, as when Season 9's Eureka O'Hara came back for Season 10 as just Eureka, because Asia O'Hara was already there. Jan and Brita are indeed the first queens given the first-name treatment for copyright reasons.
The full list of the Season 12 queens:
Rupaul's Drag Race Season 12 premieres February 28th at 8:00 PM ET on VH1.
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Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, The Herald Sun, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.