VIDEO: RuPaul’s All Stars winner Jimbo crafts dream show in Victoria

‘I’m a clown so I’m really into being funny and having a sense of humour with everything I do’

In a small upstairs studio in downtown Victoria, a stage once vibrant with underground shows holds the glittery accoutrements of a highly regarded drag queen.

With colourful wigs lining shelves, racks of bright and intriguing costumes, and a makeup station lit by a glowing ring light, the room still holds that early energy.

It hints at the decade of work well-known Canadian drag queen Jimbo (also known as James Insell) has invested in costume and set design in both film and theatre, building up to her latest grand venture – Jimbo’s Drag Circus.

Her small home city features a fringe community of DIY artists who make things happen. Backed by that and an incredibly supportive audience base, she felt the ability to explore, be herself – even if a little weird – and make people laugh.

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“Drag is all about uniqueness. It’s all about who we are as individuals, and really about diving in, bringing it to the outside and sharing it with people. Drag really should be fuelling yourself, your own creative excitement, fuelling the curiosity and it should also be about sharing it outward with people, inspiring people.

“Drag and drag queens are about inspiring entertainment,” she said.

A drag clown steeped in theatre, this one-queen show is Jimbo’s longtime dream come true.

“I’m a clown so I’m really into being funny and having a sense of humour with everything I do,” she said from the sparkling upstairs studio in Chinatown. A lover of improv and character work, the latest show features six original characters based on historic figures such as Shirley Temple and Joan Rivers.

“It’s all really surprising. It keeps you guessing, it keeps you wanting more and it keeps you laughing.”

Decked out in towering shoes and adding a final touch of makeup for photos, she’s home for just a stint between the U.S. and Canadian legs of Jimbo’s Drag Circus World Tour.

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Famed Victoria drag queen Jimbo polishes the crown earned by winning RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars season 8. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)

The last four years are a blur of travel, competition and one significant crown – twinkling from its special stand in a corner – earned by winning RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars season 8. Jimbo previously competed in the first season of Canada’s Drag Race and was in the first series of RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs. the World. She spent the last year travelling and performing in 17 countries.

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Jimbo’s Drag Circus is her biggest tour to date, with two buses packed with sets, six quick costume changes and a full crew of 20. Time was the biggest challenge – from crafting the story and creating costumes to organizing logistics in short order.

“It’s this amazing combination of years of work.”

Jimbo’s Drag Circus hit the road May 16 with shows in communities large and small, including places with LGBTQ2IA+ communities, but not a lot of events or spaces for queerness.

She’s excited to provide that opportunity for people to be themselves, sharing that fortune and support she’s found in audiences worldwide. “It’s really important for me to go into smaller communities where they don’t get shows like this often,” she said. “People can come and be their authentic weird selves, which they maybe don’t have the opportunity to do because of where they are.”

Canada’s crowned clown brings her acclaimed circus tour to Victoria with two shows June 12 (sold out) and 13.

Visit houseofjimbo.com for details.



Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

Longtime journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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