Jade Jolie on What Really Happened at the VMAs

"The drunker we got, I guess the more Taylor I became for everyone!"

Drag queen Jade Jolie has been serving up Taylor Swift realness since RuPaul’s Drag Race: Season 5. But things came to a wonderful, viral head at the MTV VMAs Monday night when she managed to confuse presenter John Travolta, who almost handed her Swift’s award for Video of the Year for her Lover single “You Need to Calm Down.”

Jolie—who appeared in the video alongside fellow Drag Race alum Adore Delano, A’Keria Chanel Davenport, Tatiana, Delta Work, Trinity K. Bonet, and Trinity the Tuck—is as tickled as Adele Dazeem about the incident, which NewNowNext discussed with the Louisville, Ky.-based performer, who embodies Swift weekly at Play Louisville nightclub and is even putting together a tour “dedicated to Taylor.”

So, first and foremost: How did the VMAs mix-up all go down?

We were walking to the stage, and Taylor was hugging everyone, and I happened to make it to the podium first, and I definitely felt John Travolta gravitating to me. It was a very sweet and flattering mistake, and I like to think I did my job right and looked just like Taylor!

Bennett Raglin/WireImage

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 26: Taylor Swift receives award onstage during the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards at Prudential Center on August 26, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey.

Taylor Swift and her "You Need to Calm Down" cast accept their award at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards.

What did everyone involved in the video think?

Actually, I don’t think a lot of people initially realized it, so after everything was said and done I kinda giggled about it and people were posting it online. We told Taylor, and she was tickled and thought it was so funny. She joked and was like, "You totally should have went for it!"

Maybe she can send you a replica for Christmas?

Actually, something really cool: I guess it’s up to the artist if everyone in the video gets to receive an award, and she decided that all of us will receive the award, too. She surprised us. So I’ll be receiving one because of her, which is so awesome.

Did you hear from John afterwards?

No DMs or texts. I honestly think it was just hilarious and made my night.

I read that making the video for “You Need to Calm Down" was fun but that it was freezing outside during the shoot.

It wasn’t just cold—it was cold with torrential rain. We were outside in this lovely setup, and there was beautiful catering, yet water was pouring in! But it was fantastic. I’m lucky to be friends with the girls I got to work with. The moment we walked in, it was like a sorority. As crazy as the weather and situation was, we had the time of our lives. Taylor came and hung out with us all day. We drank champagne. We were laughing until the sun came out. It was taking lemons and making the sweetest lemonade.

Speaking of lemons, Kellyanne Conway just sang a bit of the track on Fox News when discussing the Equality Act. Did you see it?

[laughs] I did not. I’m a little gagged by the fact that that even happened. But… no. No reaction.

What about Taylor Swift has made her your muse?

The last time I loved an artist as much as her, it was the Spice Girls. The reason is, I tend to love people who always have a smile on and whose message is generally positive. It’s not that everything is great, but there’s a positive outlook. I haven’t always had a great life, but at the end of the day I always have a smile on and positivity to keep going. I not only love that she writes her own music, but her whole image—she is a person I look up to. I don’t necessarily think people are looking up to me, but if I ever have that honor, I would want to put out a positive message and make your day a little better. She does that for me.

Jade Jolie with Taylor Swift.

Now that your impersonation of T-Swift is so flawless that John Travolta thinks you’re the real deal, are there any other celebs you'd love to have mistake you for her in the future?

Well, funny enough, when we were walking in the back [during the VMAs], where it’s mainly dancers and stuff, I got tired of saying, "No, I’m not her," so I just started hugging people! "So nice to meet you, too!" And at the after-party Gigi Hadid kept thinking I was Taylor—they’re really good friends. The drunker we got, I guess the more Taylor I became for everyone!

Would you be on Drag Race All Stars if you were invited?

You know, to be honest I haven’t had that royal invitation yet, but I would love the opportunity. I think it would be very different. When I was on Drag Race I was very young and very emotional. I look back now and think I wasn’t ready. As hard as I worked all these years, the person I’ve become is so different from that kid. I would love the world to see who I am compared to who they think I am.

You live in Louisville. Does Mitch McConnell ever visit Play to catch your shows?

I haven’t spotted him yet!

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