Vanessa Vanjie Mateo is taken, y’all.
When Vanjie: 24 Hours of Love first started, a lot of viewers assumed that the series would be mostly a comedic take of Mateo getting to live her full Bachelorette fantasy. However, it turns out that the RuPaul’s Drag Race superstar actually found love in what seemed to be somewhat of a hopeless place.
On the show, Mateo went on to meet 18 contestants that included Jack Janowicz. Upon first impressions, viewers got to know Janowicz as a 25-year-old court stenographer – and former Disney theme park cast member – from Wisconsin. With so many huge personalities in the cast, Janowicz didn’t immediately stand out in the first few episodes of the show...but his storyline kept on growing and, by the end, he seemed like one of the clearest frontrunners to win over Mateo’s heart.
Now that Vanjie: 24 Hours of Love has come to an end, Mateo and Janowicz spoke to Out about still being together and how their relationship is going. From traveling the world to dating a drag superstar to revealing who popped the question to make their relationship official, Mateo and Janowicz spilled all the tea during this interview!
Read Out’s full interview with Vanessa Vanjie Mateo and Jack Janowicz below, and make sure to watch Vanjie: 24 Hours of Love on WOW Presents Plus.
Out: How are things going between you guys since Vanjie: 24 Hours of Love ended?
Janowicz: Good, we’re together – physically – and yeah, we’re in New York right now. He had a show last night at Radio City, so I came and supported and brought my brother and friends. [It’s been] super fun.
Given that we don’t know the filming timeline of the series, it begs the question: how long have you guys been together now?
Mateo: 10 months.
Janowicz: Yeah. Basically 10 months to the day, actually, since we’ve filmed the show.
Mateo: And in gay years, that’s like three years.
You’re right! Vanjie, I think there was a point on the show where you seemed to be second-guessing whether or not this experiment would actually work out for you in terms of finding a partner. Were you always confident that you’d walk away with a new boyfriend, or did you feel like you might actually not find anyone at the end of the process?
Mateo: I went into the experiment just open-minded, not expecting anything. [I was] hopeful. I mean, I wanted to exit the house with a boyfriend or some kind of partner to start a relationship with. But if I didn’t walk out the house with anybody, I was okay with that as well. I kind of just [waited to] see what the experiment was going to bring and how it would play out on its own.
Jack, on your end, did you always envision that you were going to work things out with Vanjie, or did you feel like you might not make it to the end at a certain point on the show?
Janowicz: I definitely went into it [being] kind of intimidated with all of the different kinds of people there. I wasn’t sure [Mateo] was going to be attracted to me or anything. And then, at the end of the day, I was like, ‘I just have to be myself and hopefully, that gets me somewhere. Because don’t want to try to be anything I’m not.’
Mateo: And if not, get everybody kicked off the show. That’s a good way to do it too.
Jack, there was a moment where it felt like all the other contestants were singling you out. Did you feel kind of isolated when other contestants started to almost be rooting against you on the show?
Janowicz: Not really. At the end of the day, I feel like I stand by everything that I said and did. I think it was obvious if someone has a partner at home…okay, well, ‘You’re here trying to date someone that wants to be in a monogamous relationship and wants to have a serious relationship, so you can go.’ Also, ‘If you’re going to fall asleep during a once-in-a-lifetime experiment and you’re telling all of us that we don’t deserve to be here and you want to pick us off one by one, but then in the same sentence you go to sleep and sleep on the whole thing, you can go.’ So I feel fine with how all that worked out. And yeah, I stand by it.
Vanjie, it’s not a secret that your mom didn’t exactly vibe with Jack throughout the show – or at least that’s what we saw in the final edit. Do you think that she was missing some context when it comes to her impression of him?
Mateo: I think my mom doesn’t vibe with anybody. She’s a lioness with her cub and she doesn’t want to see me get hurt. So, for her, it’s very like…even if I picked whoever she wanted me to pick, it would still take time for the person to prove themself to my mom. She’s just like that and I have to just take it for what it is. I know my mom. She’s crazy and she could be a lot. But she’s good now. 10 months in, she likes Jack.
Jack, on your end, how’s your relationship with Vanjie’s mom?
Janowicz: I think it’s really good. Every time she sees me, she’s like, “Jack!” and we hug. We’ve bonded over interior decorating [Mateo’s] new place that he just got. So, we have a lot of fun together. Yeah, it’s all good.
Now that you’re 10 months into this new relationship, was it a wild ride to watch back everything that played out on the show?
Janowicz: It definitely was for me. Even just seeing the first moments of us saying like, ‘Hi, my name is Jack.’ ‘Hi, my name’s Jose.’ It’s cool though, to have almost like a home video documented forever seeing those first moments. But yeah, it is crazy too that that was the first 24 hours of us meeting and we’ve had so many 24 hours since meeting. It’s just kind of like, ‘Wow, that was just the very, very beginning.’ Little did we know all the stuff we know about each other now. Because yeah, we’re definitely in a full-fledged relationship and everything that comes with that.
I love hearing that. Vanjie, during the last time that I interviewed you, Vanjie: 24 Hours of Love was about to premiere. You were in Egypt, and you even showed me the pyramids in the background before the interview started. Now you’ve just performed in New York City. Jack, how has it been keeping up with this booked-and-busy drag superstar that you’re now dating?
Janowicz: It’s been fun. It’s been a whirlwind. I think when you were doing that interview in Egypt, I was right behind the camera trying to make him laugh.
Oh my god!
Janowicz: Yep. We’ve had this secret for so long and I know what to do and how to get him up and ready for these interviews. Well, I try my best.
Mateo: You cannot rush perfection.
Janowicz: Yeah. It’s been so exciting.
Mateo: Luckily, for his job, he kind of makes his own schedule. So he’ll come to certain gigs or whatever with me and then I’ll go on tour and then we’ll meet up again. It makes it fun. It makes the relationship kind of new every time, getting to travel with somebody.
You guys have said that you are now official boyfriends in a full relationship. So, I have to ask: did one of you pop the question to make it official? How did that go?
Mateo: Who do you think asked the question first?
I think Vanjie did?
Janowicz: You got it! I think that was near Halloween because I went out to Las Vegas while [Mateo] was doing the Vegas residency. I went out there for Halloween, we got to the hotel room, I walked in, and there were flower petals all over the floor. And, at first, I thought they just didn’t clean the room. I was like, ‘Wait, what is this?’ And then as I start walking into the room, there were tons of balloons on the bed, a big bouquet of red roses, and a sign that said, ‘Will you be my boyfriend?’ So yeah, he asked me and the rest is history.
What are your future plans as a couple?
Mateo: Four horses, three cows, four piglets, two dogs, three calves. A trip to Bora Bora. And, I don’t know, I try not to plan too much and kind of take it day by day. Travel together.
Janowicz: One of the things we’ve bonded over is [that] we’re very ‘go with the flow,’ ‘off the cuff’ kind of people. Like, we’ll plan on where we’re going to go, but then let’s just hit the street and let’s find stuff to do wherever we go. I think that keeps it fun and exciting. So we’re looking forward to more adventures.
Mateo: And also to listening to Beyoncé’s new album.
Janowicz: Yes! Which we still haven’t gotten to do.