RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 2 Comedy Queen of the South
Ginger Minj—Miss Gay United States 2013, Miss National Comedy Queen 2012 and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 7 runner up—is one of the most well-spoken, vivacious Queens that I have ever had the honor to speak with.
Ginger Minj (aka Joshua Eads-Brown) hails from the tiny town of Leesburg, Florida, but now resides in Orlando. She can sing, act, dance and make people laugh. With the personality of an angel, she told Get Out! some very interesting facts about her Drag history and her upcoming projects.
Congrats on “All-Stars.” Are you so excited?
I am so excited! It doesn’t feel as much like a competition this time, because it’s like, “Oh, I know all of you.”
Well then how is it going to feel when you have to send someone home?
Exactly! It’s like a good southern family reunion. It starts off with fun and games, and then one by one you fight each other to the death. Only this time it’s over $100,000 and not mashed potatoes or chicken.
I read somewhere that you were actually a child star.
I wouldn’t call me a star, but I certainly was a theater baby. I grew up in the theater from the time I was six months old. There’s not a time where I can remember not performing. Eventually that kind of led me into me doing Christian movies, like VHS movies based on Bible tales. That’s where my fame and fortune came from.
If you had to do a Bible tale now, what would it be called?
I’d probably transition from Paul “On the Road to Damascus” to “The Life and Times of Mary Magdalene.”
How did you begin doing drag?
I kind of fell into it, because of the theater. I got cast going on 13 years at a murder mystery dinner company in Orlando. I’m still there whenever I can be. They require the boys to play men and women, sometimes in the same show. I kind of took to it, more so than the other men. The owner pushed me more into drag. She said, “You’re good. You need to do more, to branch out and do real drag, not just come back as a man and investigate your own death.”
That’s an original way to have started drag.
It certainly was a different experience. It has benefited me in certain ways, because I didn’t really have expectations going into it. It kind of fell into my lap, and I took it as it came.
Aside from yourself, who’s your favorite “Drag Race” queen?
Well, Katya is my best friend. From the moment we both walked into the work room on season seven, we’ve been BFF. I spill my guts to her on a daily basis, and she does the same. Even when we don’t see each other for months at a time, it feels like no time passes. She’s a great queen. She’s got a great story, and she’s an even better person underneath it.
When you first got into drag, were you inspired by any of the queens around?
Well, of course Divine. She’s the ultimate queen to me. She is the original drag superstar. She’s still a superstar today, even though she’s been dead since 1988. I think personally that within the drag community, she’s our Marilyn Monroe, because you can’t go to a single drag event without seeing some kind of Divine statue or lunchbox or T-shirt or keychain somewhere. She still is kicking.
She is. There’s not a person that doesn’t know that name.
That name was so perfect for her. You know, Divine really kind of saved my life.
How so? I want to hear that story.
I grew up in Leesburg Florida, an hour north of Orlando, but it’s super Southern, super country, lots of farms. We threw a parade when we got a McDonald’s. The parade was around the drive-through about three times, and that was it. I had no idea what drag was. I had no idea what being gay was, and I knew that I was really, really different than everybody else that was around me. So I just kind of stayed in the background. I was told never really to speak up or to draw attention to myself. It caused severe depression with me, to the point where I just wanted to die when I was younger. I went with my grandmother to run some errands, and we stopped at the video store, which was also a gas station. They had “Pink Flamingos.” I didn’t know what it was, but there was a picture of Divine right on the front. So I convinced my grandmother that it was a children’s movie, and I rented it, and I watched it about three or four times on a loop, sitting there, not knowing what the hell I was seeing. But it just opened me up to the fact that there were people like me out there, that there are people that are different. She took that and turned it into success. Of course I had to go back to the video store and get “Hairspray” and every movie that I could get my hands on with Divine. It totally changed my life. It made me come out of my shell and not feel like I had to sit there and not talk.
I love that story. So what is your expertise?
I’m certainly an actor/singer before anything else. I’ll never be a fashion girl. I’ll never be the prettiest one in the bunch.
Never say never. I think that you are very pretty.
I don’t think I’ll ever be the “pretty” one, like conventionally. But Divine is my inspiration, so I don’t have to be pretty to be beautiful.
You have the best eyes.
People always say, “I love your eyes.” I say, “Thank you. That is the only natural part left of me.” If I had to put myself into a neat little box, it would be as a performer. I am definitely an actor/singer first.
Besides “All-Stars” and touring, what other projects are you working on?
I’ve got some great stuff coming up. I have my album, which is coming out in a couple of weeks. It’s coming out in mid-September.
What’s the name of it?
It’s a very creative name. I worked very hard on it. It’s called “Ginger Minj, the Album.” We went back and forth with a bunch of names that I thought were great, but it’s such an eclectic album—it kind of tells the story of my life—that one title just didn’t seem to fit everything. So I said, let’s just call it Ginger. I’m so proud of it. We were originally going to release it at the end of season seven, but there were certain tracks on there that I wasn’t happy with; there were certain songs that I felt were just filler. Then I got the call for “All-Stars,” and I said, we’re going to push this back. I don’t care how long it takes, we’re going to re-record it, and it really paid off. It’s a beautiful album. I’m so happy with it.
If you could say anything to your fans, what would it be?
I would like to tell both of them that I appreciate them. I love the fans in general, but I want them to realize that what they watch on “Drag Race” doesn’t encapsulate exactly what each one of us are as performers, people, as whatever. They are getting a 43-minute taste of a project we worked on together. Go and support every drag queen that you can. Support your local queen. Support drag, because if we don’t continue to support it…it’s great that we have this platform now with “Drag Race,” but it won’t last forever. We need drag to continue to get bigger and better.
People also don’t realize that it has been around forever. There has always been drag in some form or another. There are some people that really celebrate the theater queens, but there are some that say, “Oh my God, not another theater queen.” Well, honey, that’s where drag really got its foundation: in theater with Shakespeare. Girls could not participate in the shows, so they had to get boys to dress up in female clothes, and that’s where it really got its start. Just any drag you see, support it! I also just shot a pilot for a new TV show called “House of Mayhem,” which is really funny and really cool, and it’s got an incredible cast. It’s a really important story that has never been told before. I think it can really help the gay community. The premise of it, the “Reader’s Digest” version of it is it’s all of these LGBTQ kids, who for some reason or another—they aren’t really inter-connected—have home-life problems, like a lot of us do. They end up on the street, and my character, Charlotte, is this aging, beautiful drag queen, and her best friend, they decide to open up their home for these kids. My character does not like children. She does not think it’s a good idea, but there is this one kid… Well, basically, the kid is me looking up to Divine. It softens up my heart, and I take him under my wing. So it’s really about finding a family. You are always able to go out there and find your tribe.
I think that it really—not opens the door, but kicks them right off the hinges. It lets people know that this is an issue that a lot of us in this community have to face. And it tells it in a very cute, funny way.
It’s an awesome message. I hope it gets out there.
Me too. I could use the work.
Do you have any last words?
Buy my album when it comes out, ‘cause it’s good. And enjoy the season. It’s the best season of “Drag Race” ever, because it takes what you love about the series and turns it on its head. It just makes it 100 times better. If you think you got the game figured out, you don’t, because it continues to change.