Ru Paul’s Drag Race Queen, Jinkx Monsoon joins forces with BenDeLaCreme for their two-queen holiday spectacular, All I Want For Christmas is Attention!
She talks to Carmel Thomason about her Christmas wishes, US vs UK drag and exploring femininity through pants.
Where did the name Jinkx Monsoon come from?
Jinkx: “Jinkx has been a nickname for a long time, based on how clumsy and cursed I can be at times. Monsoon comes from Edina Monsoon, from Ab Fab, one of my comedy hero’s and biggest character inspirations”.
What or who inspires your look?
Jinkx: “I draw a lot of inspiration from 60’s and 70’s fashion, with some obscure references to the 90’s here and there. I go through phases where I’ll derive inspiration from a specific someone, or movie, or aesthetic. Currently, I’m very inspired by Clea Duvall, who loves to wear tailored suits in bold colors. I’m having fun exploring femininity through pants”.
The new show is called, All I Want for Christmas is Attention! You must have got plenty of attention after winning Season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. How did that win change things for you?
Jinkx: “I like to think that I’m very much the same person I was before my time on the show, just more evolved and more certain of my trajectory. These days I’m doing the same kind of work I’ve always done – thought provoking, irreverent, filthy cabaret shows – but on a much larger scale. I’ve been given a platform and an audience to accomplish the things that I thought impossible when I started Drag at 15-years-old”.
Ru Paul is now hosting a Drag Race for the UK. Have you seen it? Does drag in the UK differ to in the US?
Jinkx: “I have seen it, and I love it! Having worked all over the world, I can say Drag is very regional. Different drag communities hold different things important. I think what I’ve always gotten from UK Drag is an emphasis on performance and humor, which sits very well with me. While there are differences between UK drag and US drag, we speak a universal language. I like to think we have more similarities than differences, but to answer your question about how we differ, I’ll say: the accents”.
How did being on Drag Race influence you as a performer?
Jinkx: “Competition, when done correctly, can cause us to create better work. I’d say it influenced me by teaching me how to focus on what I do best, and always be putting my best, most polished, most well thought out foot forward”.
How did you meet and start working with BenDeLaCreme?
Jinkx: “We met in 2010/2011? Around then, shortly after I graduated from arts college. DeLa saw an afternoon show I was doing in a Starbucks of all places, and handed me her business card. I recognized her right away, as everyone told me she was THE drag queen of Seattle, and it wasn’t long after that, she was casting me in her original productions. It’s started as a working relationship and quickly formed into a very strong friendship. Throughout the years, she has been one of my best sisters, best friends, and in many ways a peer-mentor. I’m a better drag queen for having known BenDeLaCreme”.
Do you lip sync or sing?
Jinkx: “I sing live, and pretty much always have. I create music with my music partner, Major Scales (get it?) and we’ve produced two feature albums, and are beginning to talk about a third. I will occasionally do a lip sync number, mostly to spoken word material— but my strength lies in my voice”.
What is it like to work as a duo?
Jinkx: “It’s like an evil genius and a suffering sidekick, building a monster together. Only we’re both the evil genius and we’re both the suffering side kick… and we’re both the monster”.
Can you tell us a bit about the show?
Jinkx: “It’s got everything you’d want from an entertaining drag show: singing, dancing, gorgeous costumes, hilarious banter… but we’re both also very opinionated, with no shortage of issues to tackle— so it’ll be very entertaining, but with a message at its core”.
What is your all-time favourite Christmas drag song?
Jinkx: “Actually, my favorite holiday drag song I’ve performed is “Give the Jew Girl Toys” by Sarah Silverman… or “Teach me how to Understand Christmas” from the show Community”.
How are you spending Christmas?
Jinkx: “I’ll be at DeLa’s annual Christmas Day feast at her house in Seattle. Last year I hosted a family get together with my blood family— this year I’ll be spending the holiday with my chosen family. Luckily both my families get along and there’s enough love in my heart for everyone”.
What are you hoping Santa brings you this year?
Jinkx: “A new president!”
All I Want for Christmas is Attention! presented by Contact Theatre, Soho Theatre and ATG runs at The Palace Theatre, Manchester on Sunday 1 December 2019 at 7.30pm. Age guidance 16+