Miss Vanjie! Miss Vaaaaaanjie!
The Vanjie heard around the world is back! Season 10 breakout star and meme queen Vanessa Vanjie Mateo is back for Season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race and this time she’s ready to prove that she’s not just a “one-episode trick pony.”
Last season, Vanjie was the first girl eliminated, but she took the internet by storm with her built-in catchphrase and legendary Drag Race exit. Her “Vanjiiiie”-fied exit lit up social media and proved that a girl can make a name for herself in just a single episode.
This season, Vanjie has her work cut out for her. She’ll be competing against some fierce queens like 17-year drag veteran Nina West, two different Davenports, Honey and A’Keria, and the ever-alternative Yvie Oddly.
Vanjie’s real name is Jose Cancel. Cancel started doing drag when Drag Race Season three and All Stars alumna Alexis Mateo hired him as a backup dancer. Vanjie was eliminated in the first episode after lip syncing to Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man” against Kalorie Karbdashian Williams while Aguilera was the guest judge—#awkward!
As she walked backwards off the stage, she repeated her parting words loudly and proudly: “Miss Vanjie… Miss Vanjie… Miss…Vaaaanjie!” Her exodus quickly went viral as “Miss Vanjie” was tweeted by many celebrities including Drag Race judge Michelle Visage and comedian Kathy Griffin. Vanjie was also edited into various movie and TV show clips, as well as on dating apps. Some of the best Vanjie memes incorporated the queen into The Simpsons, Pokémon, The Shining, and more.
Vanjie’s “Vanjie” became so popular that despite her last-place finish, her catchphrase lasted all season long. Hell, we’re still saying it, and thanks to Season 11, Vanjie isn’t going anywhere just yet. And now, because YouTube exists, bask in this glorious video entitled: “The Best of ‘Vanjie’: Can’t Get Enough of That Catchphrase”:
Even Mama Ru never found herself immune to the wise and witty gospel, nay, the phenomenon of Miss Vanjie. Ru took to Twitter multiple times following the episode’s airdate to spread the good word of Vanjie.
Mateo herself explained her viral moment to Billboard saying, “I didn’t anticipate getting kicked off first, so I didn’t plan my exit, I didn’t plan what to say, I didn’t plan what to write on the mirror with the lipstick message. I didn’t plan any of that. So literally when I got there, I turned around and saw RuPaul and saw Christina [Aguilera] and saw everyone was looking just at the judges, I decided to give them my name, and I said “F–k it. Might as well have these bitches remember me.” So I just started screaming at the top of my lungs ‘Miss Vanjie,’ over and over. And I was depressed as hell, so that’s why I was looking so damn sad!”
Having Mateo back for Season 11 seems like a no-brainer, a producer’s wet dream even. As for us viewers, brace yourself; there’s plenty more Vanjie to go around.
It’s Vanjie’s world. We just live in it.