Hershii LiqCour-Jeté On Making It To ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ And That Season 16 Twist

Hershii LiqCour-Jeté On Making It To ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ And That Season 16 Twist | Photo: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images  for MTV
Hershii LiqCour-Jeté On Making It To ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ And That Season 16 Twist | Photo: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images for MTV

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 16 has claimed its first ousted queen, but at least we know that when Hershii LiqCour-Jeté said “It’s chocolate,” it was because it is part of her drag persona.

Jeté spoke with Shadow and Act about her time on the Emmy-winning show and what she thought about the new twists. Overall, Jeté said that because of the fans and the split premiere, she didn’t feel sad about her placement in the series.

One of the unique aspects of Jeté’s story was how she has a young family of her partner and two children rooting for her back home. Jete said that her family has been “the most supportive” of her Drag Race journey.

“My partner knew how bad I wanted to be a part of Drag Race and how passionate I am about drag, long before we had kids,” she said. “So I always had support. And my kids don’t treat me any different or look at me crazy because I do drag. They know Baba is going to work. So they’ve definitely been supportive. They will even…try to help me [bring] my bags to the car [for gigs] so I can put them in the car. My family’s completely supportive.”

When we saw Jeté coping with being in the bottom after the Mother of All Balls, she was worried about how her placement would affect her future bookings. As we saw, she was visibly upset with how she would be able to take care of her kids if she went home first. During our interview, however, she said that she was concerned, but she was “never worried” about how she could support her family.

“I mean, being part of the show is now a small feat, so it’s helped a lot with the money that I’m making and we’re getting ready to move finally, because we’ve been in a small apartment for a long time,” she said. “Above all else, I’ve been hustling in drag for seven-and-a-half years, almost eight years in April…I know how to hustle. I know how to make money. I know how to take care of my family; I just didn’t want the opportunity to go to waste. I just didn’t want to feel like I did all of this [for nothing], and that’s what I was the most scared about in the moment. But everybody has made me feel like as far as the fans are concerned, so loved and welcomed and actually like a part of Drag Race.”

“Sometimes it’s hard for the early outs to feel part of the experience because we leave so early, like people don’t check for us too often,” she continued. “So, it feels good that I still feel part of the entire experience. I don’t feel like I went home first. I feel like I was there for the whole time.”

One reason she doesn’t feel like the first to leave, she said, is because of how the split premiere allows fans to spend more time with the queens.

“That’s why I love the split premiere so much,” she said. “I know a lot of the fandom complains about the split premiere because they want to get to the drama quickly, but we’ve all sacrificed [time] away from our families, our friends, our phones, our money, our jobs. Everybody that competes from the first out to the winner, all of us deserve the spotlight [for] as long as we can get it for being part of the show. We sacrifice a lot to be on the show, so I’m glad that they give us more time for the world to get to know us while we’re there.”

Jeté was one of the first victims of the Rate-A-Queen, a system she said gave her a lot of stress.

“I just knew with things like that, it brings a little extra level of mess and you don’t know which direction it’s coming from,” she said. “I mean, as you can see, people shook some things up while on the show, and I just wanted to make sure I had my fair shot.”

Where the Rate-A-Queen messed up her game, she said, was that it caused her to get in her head.

“Being on the show the entire time, I didn’t want to be forgotten, if that makes sense,” she said. “Like, I had sacrificed so much to get there, so it was just like, ‘Oh!’ I think that was a little bit of my downfall, just [being] worried about how everybody instead of focusing on myself. I was a little bit too worried about how everybody else saw me because they were voting for me.”

One of Jeté’s big moments was her talent performance of her original song, “Whiplash,” in which she sung about having the most laid wigs while dancing around the stage, which was dressed like a jungle. While fans loved the song, many were also delightfully head-scratching about the decision to set the stage in a jungle theme. She said she chose the jungle purely for comedic reasons.

“The very first thing I said when I introduced myself was [that] I like being absolutely beautiful and absolutely stupid,” she said. “So there genuinely was no reason whatsoever for the jungle other than I just felt like I wanted to be in a jungle. Was it stupid? Yes. That was the point because it was just kind of dumb–I need wig glue, so I’m about to go search in the Amazon, in the forest to find it. I wanted it to be something [that was] silly. I like being silly. I don’t take myself seriously when it comes to drag.”

Another aspect of Jeté’s drag is her dedication to realness. Many fans have already commented on how she gives a comforting type of drag that reminds people of their aunts, mothers, and sisters. Jete said that she likes giving woman realness because of the women in her family.

“I wouldn’t say that was intentional. I would say it just represents more of the women I grew up with, specifically my grandmother,” she said. “The way she carries herself, she has a real poise and class that she has, [from] the way she walks around [to] the way she does her hair to the way she dresses. That’s always been something that Hershii emulated. I just want to be a woman of my time, just a classy, professional lady. I didn’t need to do too much…I was pretty enough where I didn’t have to do all the extras. You saw what you need to see when I walk into the room. I made an impact just by being understated, if that makes sense. I guess being softer wasn’t intentional; I’m just inspired by the women I grew up around.”

Jeté said that she’s looking forward to her the next level in her career, including stops around the country.

“I’ve been putting it out there [that I want] to be working as often as I can,” she said. “I’ve been telling everybody, ‘Listen, book me at whatever venue you got open,’ because that’s always been my goal, to just perform.”

She also said she wouldn’t mind being on an All Stars season of Drag Race, but there is one particular Drag Race property she definitely has her sights on.

“I’m a performer and I love being on stage, but I am gunning for that Vegas show,” she said, referencing the Las Vegas RuPaul’s Drag Race Live show. “I want [to be on] that show so bad. I’m going to keep on saying it until I get that call.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race airs Fridays at 8/7c on MTV and streams the next day on Paramount+.