There are a lot of things you can accomplish in one day, whether it be binge watching an entire show, cleaning every square inch of your house or traveling to the other side of the world. But what about something even more ambitious? Like true love? As impossible as that may sound, that’s the premise behind Miss Vanjie’s new WOW Presents Plus show, which sees the Drag Race alum returning to our television screens for a "voyeuristic social dating experiment," called Vanjie: 24 Hours of Love.
A queer twist on a concept that feels equal parts Big Brother and The Bachelor on speed, 24 Hours of Love follows 20 suitors as they vie for Vanjie’s heart. Isolated together in a secluded LA mansion, the contestants have just one day to show the Season 10 fan favorite why they’re worthy of her affection, lest they end up on the chopping block during one of the hourly eliminations.
Describing herself as a “hopeless romantic,” Vanjie said she wanted to do the show after being frustrated by “putting myself and my heart out there” to little avail. So rather than continuing to have negative experiences that were just “adding salt to the wound,” she agreed to let WOW help her find true love with the rationale that if she could “make a connection with somebody within 24 hours, [there was something to] build on.”
"It’s still kind of a 'survival of the fittest' situation, though. A little Hunger Games, because there’s a lot of pressure," Vanjie says. “You have to make it through these other motherfuckers to chat with me and make an impression. And you also have to try to not get too drunk.”
Despite what people may think of 24 Hours of Love’s over-the-top premise though, its rapidfire and extremely intense timeline does make some sense seeing as how Vanjie’s actual life is almost as fast-paced as the show itself. With a very limited amount of time between touring, shows and events, she’s primarily dated people who understand the demands and constraints of her hectic schedule, including other entertainers, fellow Drag Race stars and those in similar, high-octane industries.
Granted, this hyper-specific type of single can also be hard to find without the use of dating apps, particularly ones like the celebrity-geared Raya. And this became another factor in her decision, as Vanjie has continually refused to join any apps thanks to some lackluster past experiences where potential suitors act “fake” by “putting their best foot forward and feeding you what they think you want to hear.”
“You really have to mingle and dingle in-person to really find out if you have something with somebody, because everyone's always giving you the bullshit online,” she said, noting that some people will also use them as a covert opportunity to network by “taking advantage” of her deep desire for romance.
“It becomes too much of a game with the questions and the way they’re asked. Like, ‘Oh, you worked with this person? You've done this?,’” Vanjie added, while rolling her eyes. “And I'm like, ‘Mary, this is not no meet and greet.”
Besides, Vanjie’s biggest turn offs are a “compulsive liar,” “someone who’s not transparent” and anyone with less than pure intentions, because she believes to date a person is to know the “good, the bad and beyond.”
“And I would rather take the truth, even if it's harsh, versus some lie or some made up story or whatever,” she explained, before saying this was one of the reasons she also wanted her mom to make a guest appearance during filming.
“My mom coming and meeting everybody was definitely something that needed to be done, because [there were some who] thought they could pull a fast card on me,” as Vanjie recalled. “But my mom’s got that sharp laser vision. And my mom does not play.”
Even with her mom’s cameo and WOW’s help, Vanjie hinted that there were “definitely a few things that went wrong” during filming. After all, we all know dating shows always end up being a little messy, even when there isn’t a celebrity involved. So seeing as how she also had to determine “who's here to really invest into potentially finding a boyfriend or find out who's here to support another five minutes of fame,” Vanjie said the experience proved to be a lot more difficult and crazier than she originally thought.
“Like who's here just to collect a check? Who's here just to drink cocktails and for the cameras?” she said. However, it also seems as if she wasn’t able to completely circumvent all the fakery, drama and manipulation that usually comes with a high-stakes competition like this, especially since she did reveal that “there were a lot of awkward and upsetting situations.” And though she couldn’t say exactly what went down, she did allude to there being some ulterior motives and shady players at work, not to mention plenty of “tears being shed, yelling, drinks being drunk too quickly.”
“It was definitely a social experiment, for sure,” Vanjie said with a little laugh, “An experiment that combusted in the lab.”
Welcome to "Sex with Sandra," a column by Sandra Song about the ever-changing face of sexuality. Whether it be spotlight features on sex work activists, deep dives into hyper-niche fetishes, or overviews on current legislation and policy, "Sex with Sandra" is dedicated to examining some of the biggest sex-related discussions happening on the Internet right now.
Photo courtesy of WOW Presents Plus
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