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One of the New Drag Race Queens May Give RuPaul a Jan Brady Flashback

Why a shortened name could revive a meme when the show returns for Season 12.
  • Jan Sport in a promotional image released by RuPaul's Drag Race (VH1)
    Jan Sport in a promotional image released by RuPaul's Drag Race (VH1)

    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:

    • Aiden Zhane (29 - Acworth, GA), a spooky-punk-glamour queen from the "middle of nowhere."
    • Brita (34 - New York City), a theater-trained, statement-haired diva and one of the premiere NYC queens, with or without the filter.
    • Crystal Methyd (28 - Springfield, MO), a more-is-more club-kid inspired queen from the midwest.
    • Dahlia Sin (28 - Los Angeles, CA), drag daughter to Season 9 queen Aja.
    • Gigi Goode (21 - Los Angeles, CA), who doesn't want to be pigeonholed into being merely a "look" queen.
    • Heidi N. Closet (Ramseur, NC), a pageant queen with an oddball sense of humor.
    • Jackie Cox (34 - New York City), a quirky theater queen who knows the arm choreography to "Turkey Lurkey Time."
    • Jaida Essence Hall (32 - Milwaukee, WI), a pageant queen with a "don't come for me" ethos.
    • Jan (26 - New York City), Alexis Michelle's drag daughter who is positively bubbling over with personality.
    • Nicky Doll (28 - New York City), a French-born queen with fashion to match her pedigree.
    • Rock M. Sakura (28 - San Francisco, CA), "your anime, J-Pop, manga queen."
    • Sherry Pie (27 - New York City), a brassy, campy, even "glampy" (her words) NYC queen.
    • Widow Von'Du (Kansas City, MO), a plus-size queen willing to get down and show some skin.

    Rupaul's Drag Race Season 12 premieres February 28th at 8:00 PM ET on VH1.

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    Joe Reid is the senior writer 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, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: RuPaul’s Drag Race, VH1, The Brady Bunch, RuPaul Charles, Reality TV