Erika Jayne: ‘Gay People Are My Teachers, My Mentors, My Family, My Friends’
Erika Jayne is “XXpen$ive,” but you already knew that. More importantly, this gorgeous pop princess — who’s been churning out chart-topping dance tracks since 2007, many of which are regularly blasted onto dance floors of sexy, shirtless men — relishes in the support she’s long received from her adoring LGBTQ fans.
In other words, Erika Jayne knows the gay community is helping her live that pricey fantasy.
More than just a long-legged, impeccably styled glamazon, the 47-year-old native Atlantan is of course also a TV star, having appeared on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills since 2015. And in the spirit of branching out from her pop career, in March of this year she released Pretty Mess (also the title of her 2009 debut album), a tell-all memoir that pulls no punches and cuts no corners.
But Erika Jayne’s latest achievement has been her very first headlining tour. Though she’s treated us to one-off performances at festivals and parties for years, this time it’s the real deal. Begun back in September, she’s already brought her flashy live show — sexy backup dancers and all — to Dallas, Los Angeles and Chicago, and soon she’ll be heading to Orlando, Atlanta, Nashville, Boston and more.
While in between tour dates, Hornet was lucky enough to catch up with Erika Jayne, who was happy to chat about the new tour, share her appreciation for the LGBTQ community and reminisce on what’s been a wild ride of a decade in pop music.
Here’s what pop star, TV star and new author Erika Jayne had to say:
On Erika Jayne’s first-ever headlining tour:
Listen, all tours mean a lot, because they should, right? But it’s great to have your own tour and to be in this position now where you’re not performing before or after someone, or during a party, or during a festival. It’s my show from beginning to end, and I love it and I think it’s a great time.
The best part about touring is the relationship that you develop with the people. I know that sounds kinda trite, but people come out to see you and they watch you on TV and then you’re performing for them, and they’re singing and they’re dancing and they’re having a good time, and that’s the payoff. That’s really why you do what you do, so that makes me very happy. And getting out, going to all the different cities and doing the meet-and-greets and just kind of having — even if it’s five seconds — you’re face-to-face with those who support you. It’s a lot more personal. It’s a big deal.
On Erika Jayne’s live performance inspirations:
OK, so I grew up influenced by Prince, Michael Jackson and Madonna. I was a teenager when they were killing it. I think those three really set the bar very high for live performance, and that’s who I’m most influenced by. Those are three of the best showmen, and if my show even comes one moment close to that, I’d be thrilled.
On racking up chart-topping dance tracks for a decade:
It doesn’t feel like a decade. It’s surprising. I have to take a moment, because right now, these last few years I’ve been really busy, and that’s the best. But if you take a moment to really reflect on it like you said, it has been a decade. And every year gets better and better and more busy.
I’m so pleased and thrilled with where I’m at and what’s happening in my life now. It’s a joy to be able — well, it’s a privilege, really — to be able to create and be in the position where you get paid to create and paid to entertain. So every year it gets better, and every year I’m just more thankful. It sounds corny, but it’s true.
On making Erika Jayne music for her gay fans:
I don’t think I specifically make things tailored for any audience; I make things that I like. And fortunately for me, the LGBTQ community has been very supportive. I was raised in musical theater. Gay people have been my teachers, my mentors, my family members, my friends. I went to performing arts high school with a lot of gay kids. And I feel like that influence just has run through my creative life from the very beginning.
On the process of publishing Erika Jayne’s first book, Pretty Mess:
Well, thank god for me I had a great co-author, Brian Moylan. Because I could not imagine writing a book by myself. As a first time author, that would have been an overwhelming task. So fortunately for me, I had a great co-author who understood the project, understood me and was willing to listen.
We developed a friendship and are still in touch today. And I’m very grateful for his influence and for his structure and helping me tell my story in a way that it still sounded like myself. Because writing a book is a big deal, even when you’re just writing your own story. It’s a big deal.
On how Erika Jayne would describe Real Housewives of Beverly Hills to a non-watcher:
A modern gay soap opera. I was raised watching All My Children, and we all know that soap operas have died. So here’s your soap opera. Wealthy women, privileged women, living in the best city in the world, Los Angeles, more specifically Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills lifestyles, homes, cars, clothes, careers, families and friendships. The dynamics that go on when you put people together, when you put women together, and the differences in opinion and petty fights, real fights and everything in between.
I think this season for me has been great, actually. I had a lot of fun getting to know … I know this sounds silly, but we kind of bonded as a cast in a way that I don’t think we had ever done in seasons before. And it was nice to get to know the women on another level, on a deeper level. And I really enjoyed that this year. That’s the one thing that I love to take away — that I feel like I know my friends a little bit better. And I know how they think and how they feel and what really bothers them, and we’re all kind of united. It’s nice.
And on the gossip calling Erika Jayne the “ice queen” of Real Housewives:
You know what, I think that’s what you say when someone isn’t giving you what you want, you know? “She’s icy.” That’s fine. I don’t think I’m an ice queen, but to those who do, that’s perfectly fine. I just am not gonna indulge anyone’s — what’s the word I’m looking for? — I’m not gonna indulge anyone’s bullshit.
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs on Bravo, and you can catch Erika Jayne touring through Dec. 21 as part of the “Pretty Mess” tour. More info here.
Featured image of Erika Jayne by Marco Bollinger