Ginger Snapped, Jinkx Monson, Drag Queen, Interview, Graham Finney, Theatre

Photo Copyright © Magnus Hastings

10 Questions with… Jinkx Monsoon

Ahead of the Ginger Snapped shows this month, we spoke to American drag star, Jinkx Monsoon, about life as one of the World’s top Drag stars.

Jinkx Monsoon is one of the World’s top Drag stars and will be performing in the UK next week with the Ginger Snapped show. Shortly after arriving in the UK, we spoke to Jinkx about life after RuPauls’ Drag Race, the drag circuit and more.

1. Okay so let’s start at the beginning then. You first performed in drag when you were fifteen, what was the reaction like from family and what turned you on to it?
“Yes, the first time I performed in drag I was fifteen years old but I had been starting to dress up from when I was about fourteen. The thing that turned me on to drag was I had a feminine side to myself and I’m also addicted to performing so it was the perfect opportunity to perform and do it in the way I wanted to be in my life. The reaction from my family at the beginning was supportive. My mum was a little apprehensive at first but then she saw me perform and she really understood what it meant to me and learned to appreciate it. ”

2. Who were your biggest influences and supporters when you first started out?
“My biggest supporters when I started were my aunt and my grandma. My grandma used to let me store all my drag stuff at her house so I didn’t have to tell my mum I was doing it [laughs]. My grandma would give me final approval on my look for that night then I would bike down to the local dance club and perform all weekend.”

3. I read that the persona Jinkx Monsoon started out as a character in an internet TV show called Monsoon Season?
“Yeah that’s kind of where I kind of honed in on Jinkx’s back story. Me and my best friend Nick Sahoyah, who is my comedy partner, we write a lot of stuff together. He and I had this idea of doing something like I Love Lucy but with Jinkxs’ life. We’ve been doing these characters for over twelve years now.”

4. How do you think Jinkx has changed over the years?
“These days my writing and what I talk about has evolved because so many people know both sides of me because of Drag Race. They know Jinx Monsoon the character and also Jerrick Hoffer the artist who plays her. I take stories from my real life and filter them through Jinx Monsoon the character. The show is an exaggerated therapy session with Jinx confronting certain issues she might not have been aware she had.”

5. When you come off stage and you come out of the Jinkx Monsoon persona how do you feel?
“My first thing after every show I sit and I critique how everything went. I’m a Virgo so I don’t enjoy something until I’ve picked it apart. Every night I come offstage with my comedy partner Major Scales and we talk about the good moments and any that were weird and any that we might want to keep or explore more in the next show. When I feel really, really good, I just walk off and go “that was a bullseye!”.”

6. Who would you say your closest friends are within the Drag circuit?
“From the drag circuit I would definitely say Ben De La Creme. She and I were working together long before Drag Race. To me she is the embodiment of a true drag sister. Two people sharing a life together. Unconditional love. I am also really close to Alaska. Us going through the show together really bonded us as well as with Roxy. Alaska and I have been rocks throughout multiple phases of our career.”

7. Your show is described as showing the good and bad sides of a global Drag Star. What are those good and bad sides to being a global star?
“I think the good sides are just the opportunities that are opened up for you. Just the fact that you can think of things that you once thought were impossible and they’re now possible. For me it’s like doing a show in the UK three years in a row in these cabaret venues. These were things I always dreamt of and wasn’t sure if they would ever happen. The dark side is when you’re a figurehead there is a lot of pressures and expectations put on you. Also, in the era of social media, it’s hard to be bombarded with other people’s opinions of you. It’s an ebb and flow thing with social media but usually, when I’m on tour, I’m not that involved in the social media side but every so often you will see something and end up getting involved in some argument online.”

8. You came out at the age of 15, what advice would you give someone of that age struggling with their sexuality?
“The two things I say are safety is the biggest, most important thing. If you think you are in an unsafe situation, don’t feel pressured into danger. The second thing is finding your chosen family. You know, as LGBTQ people, a lot of us have friendships that grow so close it is like a family. The other thing I say is that, if you feel like you’re in an unsafe situation, spend time with your chosen family or safe net then, when you’re ready to come out or take the next step in life, that’s when you should do it as there is no reason not to.”

9. Stage, screen, music, you’ve done it all. Is there an interesting fact about Jinkx that our readers might not know?
“I’m a huge video game nerd. The hardest thing about touring that I can’t take my Playstation 4 console with me wherever I go. My favourite game series is the Legend of Zelda. My favourite game series I played recently is Dragon Age and I’m addicted to Overwatch. That’s what I play 90% of the time when I’m home.”

10. Okay, the shows are coming up next week. What would you say to someone who hasn’t been to a drag show before now and is unsure about coming?
“Ours is more like a one act musical. It’s not drag queens lip-syncing. It’s just me and my music partner playing music and telling jokes but you still get the reckless, chaotic, frenetic energy that you get at a drag show. If you’ve never been to a drag show before then you owe it to yourself to come along as it’s a really unique experience.”

 

You can catch Jinkx in Ginger Snapped with is currently on tour, all details here