‘I Am Jazz’: Jazz Breaks Down After Her Drag Show Performance

Jazz Jennings has dealt with a great deal of stress, pressure, and anxiety on TLC’s I Am Jazz Season 6. The young trans rights activist has opened up to viewers more than ever before about her panic attacks, perfectionism, and fear of failure.

On the Mar. 10 episode of I Am Jazz, “Under Pressure,” Jazz’s stress levels became all the more obvious when she ran outside after her performance at a drag show fundraiser to raise money for bottom surgery for her good friend, Noelle. The 19-year-old opened up to her mom, Jeanette Jennings, and her older brother, Sander Jennings, about how disappointed she was with her performance.

Jazz Jennings
Jazz Jennings | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for GLAAD

Jazz was disappointed with her drag performance

Jazz’s drag show event, at the South Florida nightclub Lips, was meant to raise $25,000 for Noelle’s upcoming gender confirmation surgery. In addition to the headliner, the RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Miss Peppermint, the show featured Jazz’s own family and friends, like her mom, her brother, and even her grandpa Jack.

The young activist herself also performed, donning an over-the-top costume, glam makeup, and a giant wig to take the stage as her alter ego, Sparkles. But Jazz’s drag performance didn’t go as she’d hoped, as bracelets she’d wrapped around her arms fell off. The wardrobe malfunction sent Jazz spiraling, and she admitted to feeling “disappointed and defeated” by her performance.

The I Am Jazz star sprinted outside after performing, hoping to get some fresh air and calm down. “I just had such high hopes and expectations for it to be perfect for Noelle and for myself,” she told producers, “but once I got out there, everything just seemed to go wrong. It all went haywire, and I just can’t brush it off.”

“Jazz ran outside!” Jeanette cried as her daughter ran off. She and Jazz’s brother Sander joined her, trying to comfort her and bring her back inside.

“Jazz? You did great. It’s over. Let’s go have fun!” Jeanette exclaimed. “That was iconic. That was epic.”

“You killed it!” Sander added, trying to reassure his sister. But she wasn’t having it.

The ‘I Am Jazz’ star told her mom and brother she ‘envisioned something completely different’

The 19-year-old LGBT rights advocate was embarrassed to be so distraught over her performance.

“I don’t want you guys to come out here thinking, like, ‘Oh, Jazz is going to break down. She wasn’t perfect,’” Jazz told her mom and brother.

“But we thought you were perfect,” Jeanette replied.

“No, listen. You’re not listening to me!” Jazz declared. “It was a hot mess. I envisioned something completely different.” The I Am Jazz star asked to be left alone while she collected herself and her thoughts.

Her mom and brother finally left Jazz to calm down on her own, but Jeanette admitted she wasn’t happy to do so.

“It goes against my motherly nature to leave her alone outside,” Jazz’s mom said, “but I’m really trying to let her be because Jazz is going to be going off to college. And I truly believe that she needs to learn to fall on her face if she has to, and pick herself back up.”

Jeanette admitted she was nervous about Jazz’s emotional state

Jazz’s mom added that she sometimes wondered if Jazz was really ready to head out on her own in the real world, especially to Harvard University in the fall. She especially worried about her daughter’s mental and emotional health when she was away from her primary support system.

“Jazz is very emotional, and I do worry about her,” Jeanette told I Am Jazz producers, “because something that a lot of us didn’t even notice to her was a huge mishap. Really, she shouldn’t drive herself crazy and make herself worried, because she did a good job, and these little things just don’t matter.”

The I Am Jazz star eventually calmed down and took the stage for a final bow in support of her friend. She realized that even her anxiety wasn’t as important as Noelle’s big night.

Still, Jazz herself was still concerned about her own ability to handle stress. “I just lost sight of the fact that this event is for Noelle, so I’m going to hold my head up high,” Jazz told producers. “But I just think I have a lot to learn about why I break down completely.”