JANESSA JAYE CHAMPAGNE
Janessa Jaye Champagne, Miss Jaye if you’re nasty (and we really, really, really hope you are!), is a popular drag performer who has been stomping stages across the Midwest for almost two decades. Before getting her start in drag shows, Miss Jaye was a notorious downtown party girl and eventually earned herself the nickname “the Paris Hilton of the North Dakota Jet Set.” She began her show career in the basement of the Highlander Lounge in Grand Forks, ND in December 2001, and since then she has been building her career around her glamorous and campy persona as well as her hilariously raunchy emceeing. She has been the show director for the Dakota Divas drag shows in Bismarck, ND (held in partnership with Dakota OutRight, a non-profit community organization that works to provide education and advocacy around LGBTQ issues) since 2005, and has previously served as show director for the UND Ten Percent Society and the former I-Beam nightclub in Moorhead, MN. She was crowned Miss More Head 2004 on the I-Beam stage and served as emcee and HBIC until the bar’s closing…both times. She has been organizing and executing high quality events and performances under the banner of her production company, Champagne Dreams Productions, which she created in 2002.
Miss Jaye is a lover of theatre and attends as many performances locally and while traveling as she possibly can. She has also appeared on stage locally with both the Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre and the Empire Theatre Company. Her credits include Sylvia St. Croix in Ruthless! The Musical (GGFCT, 2012), Jeanette Burmeister in The Full Monty (GGFCT, 2014), and Edna Turnblad in Hairspray (ETC, 2016). She performed a featured guest cameo in GGFCT’s production of Love, Loss, and What I Wore in November 2018.
In 2012, Miss Jaye launched her website, The World of Champagne, and hosted a drag show gala to celebrate the launch as well as 10 years of entertainment through Champagne Dreams Productions. A new podcast, Janessa After Dark, was launched in 2017, producing 10 Season One episodes and now moving in to Season Two with an emphasis on horror films and the people who create them. She has interviewed a variety of personalities including porn star and burlesque performer Chris Harder, indie filmmakers Heidi Moore, Brooklyn Ewing, and Tommy Faircloth, and trans author and activist Marisa Alexa McCool. A 17-episode limited series called Miss Jaye: The Renovation, is currently in production and features Miss Jaye’s attempts to fast-track positive life changes through a series of self help books. All episodes of both podcasts can be found on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher. Miss Jaye is also looking to dive even further into content creation with the launch of a YouTube channel in 2019.
(The original banner for JanessaJaye.com from back in 2012!)
Miss Jaye also contributed a column to Girl Talk magazine in the early 2000s. She wrote the column “True North” for about three years before the magazine briefly shifted into an online version. Founded by author and speaker Gina Lance, the magazine was one of the best-selling publications for crossdressers and gender benders of its time, and featured several drag personalities who would later go on to be featured on RuPaul’s Drag Race including Kelly Mantle, Willam, and season three winner Raja.
Janessa Jaye Champagne is the creation of Chris M. Stoner who holds a Masters in English with an emphasis on queer theory and gender studies from the University of North Dakota (2008). He is a former lecturer in the Women and Gender Studies Program at UND where he developed and taught several introductory-level courses. He is currently working in the field of corporate education and training, and recently received a certificate from the Association for Talent Development in Instructional Design.