Drag queen and music artist Laganja Estranja has not let isolation stop her from connecting with fans. Using platforms like Instagram and TikTok to perform digitally, Estranja has embraced the challenge of transforming her home into a performance space.
“I’m known for jumping off platforms and getting up on railings and doing splits,” she says. “This has been a challenge, but also a fun challenge as an artist, to really use my own home as a stage and figure out ways to create different atmospheres and universes. It has made me glad I have an education, and that I’m creative and know how to edit music and set up lights, and really be my own production company.”
Estranja, who is also known as Jay Jackson, has always worn many hats: drag queen, music artist, dancer, choreographer, and cannabis advocate to name a few. Before launching to fame on season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance and choreography from the California Institute of the Arts. She has also appeared on So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Got Talent, and more.
In 2019, Estranja was on the cover of New York Magazine’s, The Most Powerful Drag Queens In America, issue. She also began a music career in 2015 and was the first LGBTQ+ advocate and drag queen to grace the cover of a cannabis magazine.
“Cannabis as medicine has always been where I fall,” she says. “I believe even when you consume recreationally, you’re still getting medical benefits.”
Estranja first discovered the benefits of marijuana when she hurt her back in college. Not only did it help with the pain, she realized, but it also helped fuel her creativity.
“Once I discovered that, it became a really important platform, and any good queen, whether beauty queen or drag queen, should have a platform that’s larger than them.”
Estranja is especially focused on creating safe spaces in the cannabis industry for the queer community. Right now, she says, the industry has become dominated by straight, white businessmen.
“I’ve found the industry to be very homophobic and unwelcoming to my art form,” she says. “I think medicated drag brunches would be a huge hit. So we’ve got to first create a safe space in the cannabis industry for queer culture.”
Published: May 11, 2020
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News