Interview with Jinkx Monsoon

Jinkx Monsoon wears a dress by Markarian • necklace & earring by PB-Designs • puffer by Geoffrey Mac • rings by Nickho Rey.


Interview with Jinkx Monsoon

The Queen of All Queens on the rewards of living your truth

The uber talented Jinkx Monsoon is a quadruple threat like the Hollywood sirens of old. She can sing, dance, act and produce all while maintaining her authentic voice and view of the world. Not only has she won RuPaul’s Drag Race twice (and the title “Queen of All Queens”), she has also taken Broadway by storm playing iconic characters such as Matron “Mama” Morton in Chicago and Audrey in The Little Shop of Horrors: she is the first drag queen to ever play the role.

Embracing her love of performance coupled with her courage to live in her truth has propelled Jinkx into the spotlight in a magical way. In addition to Broadway roles and concert tours, she will soon be adding sci-fi TV villain to her resume. She is joining the cast of Doctor Who on Disney Plus playing a character with a deliciously dark side.

We spoke with Jinkx Monsoon about her life, her career and her transitioning journey. Which has been the cornerstone of her success. Life can be incredibly rewarding when you’re bold enough to live your truth out loud.

What inspired you to pursue a career in entertainment?

It was innate. It was second nature. It was in my baby book. My family used to say, you learned how to sing before you learned how to talk. I was always doing this. It was always who I was. I feel blessed to have always known what I wanted to be. It’s made life easy in some regards because I’ve always known what steps to take. I was singing, performing and acting for my family at an early age.

How did you get into drag and how did you create Jinkx Monsoon?

I was already acting in my school plays when I found drag. I was playing male roles and I wanted to play the female roles. I saw my first drag performance and a year later I was a drag queen. I was 15 years old; I was working in a nightclub and at 16 I was lying about my age so that I could work in the drag bars. I got to start my drag career early. Jinkx was my nickname from the queer youth center that I spent a lot of time at.

Jinkx Monsoon is the amalgamation of all my favorite old Hollywood stars and comedic icons. I also layered in the women from my life as well. Jinkx is just me turned up to a hundred thousand. She’s everything from my life. She’s my superhero form. She’s me in my superhero regalia. She gives me superpowers.

Jinkx Monsoon photographed by Danica Robinson.

Why is Jinkx such a powerful part of your journey?

Because of Jinkx, I was able to see how important my feminine expression was to me. When I was in college and I couldn’t be Jinkx, there was something missing in my life. Thanks for RuPaul’s Drags Race, I didn’t have to worry about how I was dressing or how I was presenting because I was just accepted for being me. I was able to be more feminine and through the last ten years the steps I took to be more feminine felt right. Every step I took towards my feminine identity just felt right. Everything feels like a big yes. I was the reason I was holding myself back from transitioning. I’m not stopping myself anymore.

RuPaul’s Drag Race was a major turning point for you and your career. What challenges did you face when you won RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5?

As soon as I got to the show, I started to mistrust myself. After winning season 5, I got worried about what the audience thought a winner should be. I started trying to be everything all at once rather than focusing on why I was doing drag in the first place. A lot of the stress I put on myself led to self-medicating with alcohol and that led to me not being my best self. It’s been a journey to get back to my best self. I’ve been sober for five years.

How did your life change after winning RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 7?

The difference between RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5 and Season 7 is that I realized that I won being myself and I need to keep being myself. I don’t need to change who I am. I stopped putting pressure on myself to be everything to everyone and just decided to be authentically myself.

Jinkx Monsoon wears a dress by Tara Babylon • chest piece by Windowsen • ring by VANN • shoes by Larroudé.

Was being the first trans woman to be cast as Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors on Broadway a major milestone in your career?

Being cast as Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors said to me, the world is ready to embrace something new. I have been dreaming of playing Audrey since I was little and now it’s happening. My Audrey is big and larger than life. I still consider her a drag performance. Every character I create is a drag performance. Something about being cast as Audrey made the things, I thought were impossible, possible.

With LGBTQIA issues taking center stage in this upcoming election, what are your thoughts regarding the current political climate?

I don’t have a lot of faith in the current system, but I do believe that we can vote those people out because we are sick of the bullshit. Many conservatives have chosen to aim their focus on trans people to distract their base from their own ineptitude and incompetence. They thought they were going to rally everyone against the trans community, but it didn’t work. For the first time, the popular opinion is in our favor and God dammit they’re not going to take that away from me. We are going to win this battle.

What words of encouragement would you give to young people seeking to follow a similar path?

Knowing who you are and knowing that you have the goods is just one part of this journey. You will have to accept that it’s not all going to happen at once. You must be okay with chipping away at it slowly. It takes passion, talent and tenacity. Very few people strike gold on the first try. Fame doesn’t just happen. I laid the brickwork down for 10 years so that I was ready for the opportunities and celebrity I am experiencing now. I love this work and I want to do this work for the rest of my life. If you are dedicated to the process and to self-improvement, you can do it.