Jinkx, congratulations! Has the nonstop whirlwind of being crowned “America’s Next Drag Superstar” been exhausting?
Thank you so much! It’s not that bad. I’m always tired, I’m used to being sleepy!
You don’t really hear too much about Seattle’s drag scene. How would you describe Seattle’s drag?
It’s wonderfully diverse, from pageant queens to dirtbag drag queens, from burlesque queens to stand-up comedy queens, we really do have something for everyone out in Seattle. The kind of drag that I do is very character based. I always perform live, and most of my drag is hosting, being the comedic relief in a burlesque show, things like that. I always start off as a character and build everything off of that character.
How long have you been doing drag? I’ve been doing drag for 10 years now. Honestly, though, I’ve been doing drag since I was four years old. I used to wrap myself up in a red afghan and make it look like Morticia Addams’ dress, and I used to wear oversize t-shirts and put a headband around my waist and make a dress out of it. So actually I’ve been doing drag since I was able to dress myself!
When this season of “Drag Race” started you were definitely the dark horse that really came from behind to snatch the crown from some pretty big names. What did it feel like to be thought of as the “dark horse” of the group?
I really think that my positive attitude and positive thinking definitely helped me get through it, as well as the way I responded to criticism. I graduated art school with a degree in theatre, and when you are in art school, I constantly had to present my work to my class and teachers and was constantly critiqued. I was also constantly reminded that it was about the work and not about the person. If you can’t accept criticism, you can’t move forward. I entered “Drag Race” with an open mind and was able to accept criticism, and I think that ability to take it all in and grow from it kept me in the competition and ultimately won me the crown.
Every year there are queens that some feel have left the competition too early. This year, unlike in previous years, none were brought back. Are there any queens that you feel left too soon?
I definitely think Lineysha Sparx left too soon. I think that “The Snatch Game” is always difficult for the girls who have English as a second language, and that’s just the nature of the beast. I honestly think if she had planned to do Celia Cruz the entire time she would have been fine. Her last-minute change (instead of impersonating Michelle Obama) and her loss of confidence really hurt her and prevented her from sweeping the competition.
Are there are any other queens from any season of “Drag Race” that you have admired and would love to get on a bill with to perform with?
If I had to choose a queen from almost any season, it would definitely by Pandorra Box, Manila Luzon, Chad Michaels and Sharon Needles. And definitely Latrice Royale; who does not LOVE Latrice Royale? I think from Latrice and Chad specifically, I learned that you can play the game however you want. You don’t necessarily have to go into it “guns a blazing” and claws out. You can go into it with a really positive attitude and be a sister to people, even when you’re in competition with them.
I’m reminded of a quote that I always try to live by: “a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” It was rewarding to make it to the end without ever having to resort to dirty tricks or to tear down someone else to make myself feel better. I really entered the competition wanting to compete “with” other drag queens and not necessarily “against” them.
For so many of the other queens, they always end up releasing music. Do you think that’s something that you may be interested in doing?
Absolutely! I think I would be interested in actually producing an album. Sharon Needles showed the world, just like RuPaul, that a drag queen can be a musician also, not just stick to lip synching for the rest of her life. I don’t know that I would really do a dance album, though; I think I would do either a collection of standards or torch songs.
What’s next for Jinkx Monsoon?
I work with a fantastic composer in Seattle, Richard Andresen, who co-created the show that I will be doing this summer in New York City at the Lorrie Beechman theatre. We have nine sold-out shows already! The show we created is what I did in Seattle before “Drag Race,” a vaudeville-type show. Richard is going to help me create some original songs, and I think if I produce an album it will be a combination of both original songs and maybe some Broadway standards. I’m also going to be playing Velma Von Tussle in the 5th Avenue Theatre’s concert version of “Hairspray,” and I’m very excited, because I’m going to be playing a pageant queen!
///BY michael cook