Jazymn Simone-Echelon, title-winning drag queen performer, almost didn’t make it to where she is today. At a young age, while heavily pursuing her career, her life was interrupted by a tragic car accident that left her fighting for her life. She shares with us what inspired her to not give up, and not only survive, but thrive and move on to continue with her dreams. She also dishes out about her life now and staying on top in a competitive field.
Q. ”How did you push past the devastation of the accident without letting it interfere with your goals? What was the process like? How long did it take to want to fight back and regain a full life– what kept you pushing forwards?”
A. “Devastation is the perfect word for it and honestly I didn’t think at the time I would even want to pursue anything. My accident left me, I felt, completely damaged, unpretty, depressed and broken. I had a piece of my skull taken out for a year so that entire year I went through being afraid to even leave my house because of fear I would get stared at or worse do something to hit myself in the soft spot and cause severe brain damage I had a full back brace on for about 6 months and casts on both arms….stitches and staples. It was a crazy, life changing, character building year. But the love and support from my family and friends really kept me going. There were those moments that I thought nothing would ever be the same and I should just end it all. But come to find out I’m happier than I ever thought I could be. After they put the piece of my skull back in I recovered and started going back out and seeing my friends in the club and drag atmosphere and the urge was stronger than ever. So I prayed about it and finally just told myself, “You’re going to do this! And I did.”
Q. “I see that you are on stage and performing a lot, and your stage acts come full force with amazing performances. I imagine it can all be exhausting at times. What do you do in your down time? How do you refuel and keep up your energy level up? “
A. “Well, first lots of rest and keep hydrated, I would say I eat super healthy and workout, but that would be a lie. Ha ha, but seriously in the event that I have an off day I will spend it in my bed letting my body refresh itself and rebuild. What keeps me motivated is the constant encouragement from my family and fans. Honestly, this went from doing it for myself as an escape for me to now really doing it to give everyone an escape. Because I love what I do I think it shines through when I’m on stage. I hope to brighten people’s lives if just for that one performance. And I mean, of course, the money is a good reason to keep pushing too.”
Q. “Being in competitions, do you ever have to deal with drama from other contestants? With so many big personalities competing is there any cattiness going on behind stage, and if so how do you deal with that? ”
A. “Of course there’s always cattiness going on, but I started in the competition world so my skin is pretty thick, especially when you go through what I went through at barely 19 years old. You learn to love yourself for more than what you see in the mirror or what I paint on my face. I love the person I am and no one can ever change that, so if a queen ever has an issue or she wants to be catty I tell myself, “Gurl, you know what you’re capable of and so does she so let her do her thing and you do you.” Then I let my work speak for itself. Like the Queen of all Queens RuPaul says, “If them bitches ain’t paying yo bills, pay them bitches no mind!”
Q. “What inspires you to create your acts? How much are you involved in the costumes, dance routines and make-up? “
A. “Well pretty much everything inspires me… I love music and in order to be good at what you do you must first love the basis of that job. I grew up in a very musical family; our gatherings are always full of dancing and singing. Sometimes I can just hear a song and picture what I would wear for it, like what kind of vibe does it give and I’ll send it to my costume designer Mr. David Thatcher, #THATCHWORK ,and he will create it. Sometimes he just makes things and I put it on and I can just feel what song or performance will go with it. My makeup is all me because I know my face and I know what I want to look like. Now when it comes to dancing, ha ha, that comes so natural to me….it always has. I can watch a dance routine on TV one time and before it’s over I’ve already begun to process for when I’m going to perform it, because the choreography was so inspiring I have to do it.
Q. “After coming back strong from your accident and attaining the titles you have attained, what advice can you give someone young wanting to break out into show business that is dealing with hard life issues beyond their control?”
A. “Well first I would say make sure that it’s something you truly want to do, because it’s not easy. I use performing as therapy, and in this business you need a good therapist. But the advice I would give would be to be certain of yourself because there are forces out there that will try to change who you are in a negative way. You have to be strong enough to remain true to you with a little bending room. Don’t take life too seriously. Just do you, cause you do you so perfectly, and like my dad told me “If you’re going to do it….then yo ass better DO IT!!!!!!!”
PHOTO COURTESY OF 340nightclub