Jesse Havea (right), better known as drag queen Brita Filter, is part of  season 12 of RuPaul's Drag Race. Havea is seen here in Penobscot Theatre's 2013 production of "Cinderella," with actors Ben Layman and Dominick Varney. Credit: Courtesy of Penobscot Theatre

Dover-Foxcroft native Jesse Havea — best known among her many fans as the high-energy New York City drag queen Brita Filter — is among the 13 queens announced for season 12 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” set to premiere Feb. 28 on VH1.

Havea, who grew up in part in Dover-Foxcroft, was also seen in several Penobscot Theatre productions in Bangor over the years, including “A Christmas Carol” in 2009, “Forever Plaid” in 2010 and “Cinderella” in 2013. His mother still lives in Cumberland, and he comes home to Maine regularly.

Havea said in a 2017 BDN interview that it was that production of “Cinderella” that helped kick start his drag career.

“‘Cinderella’ was the first time I ever did drag. I took the role knowing it would be great practice to go to NYC and be a drag queen. It really opened the door for me,” Havea said after appearing on “Saturday Night Live” as a dancer for Katy Perry. “And it goes even further than that, because I was at the after-party for the show at Zen, across the street from the theater, and I met a girl named Brita, and it just clicked that I’d call myself Brita Filter. And that’s stuck. So that really kind of started it all.”

Brita Filter also made headlines last year when pop star Adele and her friend, actress Jennifer Lawrence, attended a Brita show and apparently had a drunken good time — an exchange that was caught on film and, of course, immediately posted on social media.

“They said that they came to see me, and then Adele asked me to do her birthday party. She also asked me to do Jennifer’s bachelorette party, but I couldn’t because I was filming season 12,” he said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “Her next wedding, her next album release, I’m there, Adele!”

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.