Drag queens don’t have an easy gig.
Between the intense travel, demanding choreography, elaborate costuming and makeup artistry — it’s a lot of heavy lifting.
Drag during the pandemic lockdown of 2020 was a whole other animal.
If anyone should know, it’s Jaida Essence Hall (also called Jared Johnson when out of drag), the winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 12, who snatched the crown from her living room back in 2020.
Lip-synching for her life from her couch, she proved top-tier drag performances can happen anywhere, even via Zoom.
Hall is set to perform July 31 in “Rupaul’s Drag Race: Werq the World Tour 2022” at Playhouse Square in Cleveland.
She’ll perform alongside a slew of other loveable RuGirls from various seasons. The stars slated to perform in the Cleveland show include Daya Betty, Angeria, Vanjie, Kameron, Rose, Jorgeous and Asia O’Hara.
As the tour’s name implies, this show travels the globe, giving the queens who haven’t worked together yet nothing but bonding time, which Hall is excited about.
“When you’re on the tour, you are separated from all your family and friends. We all only have each other so we can have like this really cool bond,” she says during a recent phone interview.
“We kind of get to know what makes each other tick and what each other loves. So we just get really close.”
Right now, Hall says she’s the closest with Jorgeous, the 22-year-old queen from season 14, best known for her impressive interpretation of Jennifer Lopez.
“She’s, like, literally everything to me,” Halls says. “She’s so funny.
“She loves to have a good time.”
Touring the world may be a newer experience for Hall, but she’s not new to performing lavish routines in RuPaul productions.
Before this tour, Hall was also part of the cast of “RuPaul’s Drag Race Live!” — a popular residency show in Las Vegas.
“The shows are two completely different types of shows,” Hall says about the Vegas residency and this current world tour. “I love that, thankfully, I was able to participate in both.”
Hall says the Vegas shows were more predictable and, of course, a little more convenient because the audience comes to you.
“With the tour, some days there are challenges all the time: Sometimes things aren’t delivered on time; a truck might not get there in time; or we’ll have to push back rehearsals. So it’s very spontaneous compared to Vegas.”
Challenges aside, Hall says the tour has an extra exciting element to it.
“I think it’s a lot more fun on the tour,” she says. “Some people are not able to travel to Vegas, so they might not ever get the chance to see (the show) unless you come specifically to their area.
“So it’s like this electric energy from people, knowing it’s, like, this very rare thing, and the energy in the room is even more magnetic.”
Plus, Hall returned to the show on “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” for this current season and had been hoping to land the “All-Star” winner title. Unfortunately for her, she recently was eliminated.
She has the tour to keep her busy — and lots of other special moments to look back on from this year alone.
just this spring, the cast of “RuPaul’s Drag Race Live!” joined Katy Perry on stage during her Vegas residency show, “PLAY.”
The pop star hammed it up with the cast on stage, toppling over Hall and fellow queen Trinity K. Bonet during one dance moment.
“It was the best thing ever,” Hall says about the unexpected encounter.
“It was like, ‘Oh my god, Katy Perry was literally on top of me.’ It was like a threesome I never thought I would have.”
Tossing things back to the beginning of her drag career, Hall explains where the inspiration for her work comes from.
“I feel like the people in my life are the ones who have inspired my drag the most. Like, my grandmother, she was like so, so glam,” Hall says.
“I also think one of the best things about her was that she always looked great, but it didn’t change what her character was. It didn’t change her heart. It didn’t change her sense of humor.
“So for me, when I’m in drag, I wanna look great, but I do know what’s more important than just looking good: It’s about who you are and what you can do.”
Hall is ready to show Cleveland what she can do.
Although she’s checked every other major Ohio city off her list, this stop at Playhouse Square marks her first visit to Cleveland.
“I kinda wanna go there and scream, ‘Drew Carey,’” she says.
“I wanna come to Cleveland and see what it’s all about.”
Rupaul’s Drag Race: Werq the World Tour 2022′
when: 8 pm July 31.
Where: Connor Palace at Playhouse Square, 1615 Euclid Ave., Cleveland.
Tickets: $39.50 to $79.50; $239.50 for VIP tickets.
Information: 216-241-6000 or playhousesquare.org.