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Things did not go Joey Jay’s way on the latest episode of Drag Race, but the Arizona-based queen isn’t complaining. “My drag is not your stereotypical style of drag, and for it to be recognized and put on a pedestal is so nice,” she explains over the phone.

On last week’s episode, Jay and the other queens of season 13 were tasked with the annual ball challenge, this time instructed to construct a garment made entirely out of bags. Jay’s crafty polka-dot outfit landed her in the bottom alongside LaLa Ri, who glued paper bags to a corset. Lip syncing to “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea, Joey did her best to keep up with LaLa’s high-energy performance, but ultimately fell short.

Jay says that when she entered the competition, she was expecting fans to have a lot to say about her lack of wigs on the runway — instead, she was met with fans questioning her choice of chicken feathers at the outset of the competition. “I see it as an investment,” Jay confidently says of her premiere outfit. “Because I’m sitting next to two people in the Pork Chop Lounge covered in ostrich feathers, but my chicken feathers became the Miss Vanjie of the season. We haven’t heard anything about their ostrich feathers, have we?”

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Even if she didn’t walk away with the crown, Jay can confidently walk away with the title of trade of the season, from queens and fans alike. As silly as that title may be, Jay says she’s actually been quite touched being referred to as “trade,” considering that she doesn’t necessarily fit the hyper-masculine standard for the term. “I will disagree that I am trade, but I will take it,” she explains. “I just think it’s showing like we’re growing as a community, that you don’t have to be like a 300 lb. macho-man who played some football to be considered very attractive.”

At the end of the day, Jay may be disappointed that she couldn’t go further, but says the fact that she was able to represent a very different style of androgynous, butch-meets-femme drag on the show is the real prize. “I know that there are so many other artists out there who want to do the same thing, but maybe don’t get that validation,” she says. “Now, I’m getting a lot of messages and pictures and people trying out the no-wig thing. And it just makes me really happy.”

To cap off her season, Joey Jay curated a special playlist of songs for Billboard below, specifically picking tracks she returned to while stuck in quarantine throughout 2020. “2020 was such a whirlwind of a year, and still is going into 2021,” she says. “These are the songs that have kept me motivated, sane, and positive throughout.”

Pabllo Vittar & POCAH, “Bandida”

“This album came out while we were quarantining and Pabllo had blessed us with a new album. I would listen to this over and over while working on projects all day. Although I do not speak the language, there is something about Pabllo that gets me going!”

Shenseea ft. Tyga, “Blessed”

“This song is always on my gym playlist. The beat makes me feel like a bad bitch and like I can do anything. When I want to lift heavier, or try something more challenging, I put this track on and I almost always accomplish it.”

Ida Corr vs. Fedde Le Grand, “Let Me Think About It (Club Mix)”

“This song is a throwback for me. It brings me back to sneaking into clubs and discovering what the gay nightlife was. This music video would always be on the screens and I was OBSESSED. I still listen to it today on a regular basis, reminding me of my coming out experience and fascination with the gay lifestyle.”

Deborah Cox & Hex Hector, “Nobody’s Supposed to be Here (Dance Remix)”

“This is one of my favorite songs. My best friend Mi Ami Knight performed this in a bar in LA and I was living in her fantasy. I think about her every time I hear this song, and it is now one of my favorites to perform. It is ALWAYS a crowd pleaser and Deborah Cox is a gay icon. Before Covid and Drag Race, I was scheduled to open for her at our Pridefest here in Phoenix. Me, myself, a drag queen, as an OPENER FOR HER.”

Sean Paul, David Guetta ft. Becky G, “Mad Love” 

“This is another gym track. I used to teach and compete in ballroom dance competitively around the country. This song has the perfect Samba drum. It is another that gets me RIGHT TOGETHER.”

 Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion, “WAP”

“This song is probably the catchiest song that 2020 blessed us with. The video is brilliant, the budget is there, and the fashion is perfection. I love seeing these talented artists be themselves 100% and have the world recognize them just by the first 2 seconds of the song. Once this starts, you know exactly what this song is.”

 ROSALIA & Travis Scott, “TKN”

“If you want to feel like a bad bitch, walk on a treadmill to this song slowly. Nobody can tell you anything. I hadn’t heard this song before, but when I saw her perform this live for Rihanna’s second SAVAGE FENTI Fashion Show, I was obsessed. I play this almost every day.”

Pabllo Vittar ft. Charlie XCX, “Flash Pose”

“This song is one of my favorite songs to perform. I wish it was 10 minutes long, it should never end. It is high energy, has sex appeal, adrenaline, and never fails me.”

Little Mix, “Sweet Melody”

“This song is another that came out while we were quarantining. This entire album is brilliant, but this song and video really got my attention. I love little Little Mix… the sound, the fashion, the production. They are the perfect girl group.”

Rihanna, “Love Without Tragedy / Mother Mary”

“This song has a special place in my head. This is what I listen to when I need a reminder of everything that I have accomplished. This song tells me that I did that, I made my success, and if I were to die right now I would die happy and proud. I am a star.”

Sia, “Together”

“This song is a reminder that everything will be okay, that the sun always comes up the next day, and that you are loved. No matter what happens or what happened, you are surrounded by so much positivity and support.”

Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande, “Rain on Me” 

“This was one of the first songs to come out when the world shut down because of Covid-19. I didn’t realize how much music meant to me until we stopped getting music. This made me truly realize how much I love, appreciate, and need pop music in my life. This song says, I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive… rain on me. It talks about life’s struggles and every hurdle we come across, but somehow always manage to jump over.”

Check out Joey Jay’s full elimination playlist on Spotify:

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