Another season of having his girls lip-synch for their lives on has come and gone, and with that, RuPaul has anointed a new queen as the future of drag.
Jinkx Monsoon, the comedic (and, at times, narcoleptic) sleeper from Seattle won the crown over fellow laughster Alaska and pageant queen Roxxxy Andrews. It was an unlikely "RuPaul's Drag Race" win, as viewers wouldn't have guessed Monsoon to be a front-runner early on in the season, thanks to her sometimes loosely thrown-together runway outfits. But with each challenge, she grew stronger, drawing upon her quick wit to ultimately snatch her title. "Get ready, bitches, because it's Monsoon Season," she declared upon her coronation.
Yahoo! TV caught up with Monsoon after she learned about her big win in New York City to ask about everything from her "feud" with Andrews to her plans for the future. Oh, and you're not going to believe who she thought her biggest competition was this season!
Congrats! What was your reaction when you found out you won?
Well, thank you very much. I hope I'm doing [Seattle] proud. It was surreal, I had to double-check that she had said my name. If you had told me 10 years ago that this was my future, I would've slapped you across the face and told you that I don't believe you for one minute. But now that this has come true, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
See Monsoon's coronation:
It actually is monsoon season, sort of; the official start of hurricane season, according to NOAA, is June 1. Coincidence, or something more?
It has to be a coincidence, because I didn't even know that until you told me. I love puns and plays on words, which is why I love RuPaul so much. She always has something prepared for every queen. Even though it's so tense, she still comes up with the funniest stuff ever. Like when she said to [Season 4 contestant] Kenya Michaels, "Beyoncé is not your destiny, child," I lost it. For me, when I realized I could make a joke with "Monsoon Season," which is also the name of my Web show, I was like, I'm just gonna go with it. For me, "Monsoon Season" means a new era -- let's refocus and make celebrities out of people who actually do something. I personally am sick of seeing celebrities who are famous [for all the wrong reasons]. Why do we elevate some of these people? What happened to celebrities who were actually talented? Marilyn Monroe did everything ... why aren't we focusing on people like that anymore? Nowadays, it's all about who's the tannest, bitchiest, richest person, you know?
Heading into the season, did you feel confident that you had a good shot of winning?
My goal was to make it to Snatch Game and then to perform Little Edie on national TV -- that was my dream heading into it. And then after Snatch Game, I just wanted to make it to the singing challenge, and then to the comedy challenge, and I just sort of set those little goals along the way.
But when I made it to the top 5 and talked with my veteran, Dave, he lit a new fire underneath me. He told me not only that I had a chance at winning but that I was the kind of person that he would want to see win. That was a real turning point for me. He had been fighting for gay rights and equal rights since before the movement even started.
So, that's what lit a fire under me and made me decide that I wanted to win. It may sound weird that I didn't go in saying, "I wanna win!" I just went into it trying to set attainable goals, and asking "What can I do now?" So I dug my claws into it and sunk my teeth in and went for it.
Who was your biggest competition throughout the season?
I was so nervous competing against Lyneshia Sparx. She's so gorgeous, and she's hilarious. When you get to know her, she's the most lovely person.
Sewing was my biggest struggle in the competition. Roxxxy is a fantastic sewer. Ivy too. Buy Lyneisha would do it all in ten minutes! I knew that if it came down to a sewing challenge, or styling or creation, she would have all of us beat.
NEXT: Monsoon explains her rivalry with Andrews...
Roxxxy was somewhat of a rival for you throughout the season. Do you think you'll have a relationship with her going forward?
We absolutely will have a relationship going forward, and in fact she called me today. I was in full drag doing an interview, and she called me in the middle of it, and I answered it during the interview so that we could chat. The reason that we fought and the reason why we made up [are] the same thing. We have so much love and so much passion for the platform of drag that it lead us not only to bicker the way that we did, but it also turned around and was the reason that we were able to end that feud. It's just about doing it to your fullest capability. Even though I can't tell you which shade I ever once [wore of anything] -- Roxxxy and I are on two different ends of the spectrum -- but what you see in both of us is a drag queen who's committed to our form. And with Alaska, too! The three of us all love drag, and we're going to do it for the rest of our lives. It's a huge part of who we are and we're going to incorporate it into the rest of our lives and being. It's why we all made it to the top 3, and it's why we're all going to be superstars after this.
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I may have the crown, but I said this earlier and I truly believe it. If I could have pulled a "Mean Girls" moment and given a piece of the crown to everyone on this season, I would've done it, because everyone had something really wonderful to offer this year.
But I couldn't do it, because that crown ain't plastic, girl! That's a full-on crown girl!
Do you think your winning will put Seattle on the drag map?
We have such an amazing drag community, and I don't think people fully realize it about Seattle. When you talk about Seattle, we have everything there. We have pageant drag; we have female impersonation; celebrity impersonation; we have dirt-bag drag queens; we have a thriving burlesque community; and we have one of the country's foremost character queens, Dina Martina. I hope this gets people paying attention to all of the wonderful things going on in our city because there's a lot.
I started drag in Portland, Oregon, but I don’t feel that I came to life as a drag queen until I started working in Seattle. That's what really lit the rocket fuel in my career.
Following this experience, do you think you'll be closer to your mother?
We already are closer. I think I learned a valuable lesson. I do have a little bit of remorse and regret that I aired our dirty laundry for everyone to see, because I didn't know it would become such a big part of my story line, but it is a part of my past and who I am today. But I think a comedian who comes from a dysfunctional family is the best kind of comedian. My family had become very disparate, and we had really sort of gone all sorts of different directions, and "Drag Race" really brought us all back together again.
For me and my mom, it was the first time we had a completely open and honest conversation about what I refer to as "the dark years between us." But my mom was a great mother, she was a single mom raising three boys, and me and my brothers are all very happy and well-rounded people. My aunt and my grandma helped out, though; I was raised by a colony of women, essentially. But my mom and I were really able to talk honestly, and I think we're all the stronger for it.
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She said something wonderful on the reunion, that she didn’t realize how it affected me, but what it did was give me the strength that I have today. She's still human, with her own ups and downs. And, ultimately, she gave me the greatest gift in the world, because my drag character is just a cheap impression of her -- and now it's famous! I'm getting paid to do a cheap impression of my mom for everyone, and I think that's brilliant.
What's next for you?
I have some wonderful theater things lined up. I'll actually be playing Velma von Tussell in the concert version of "Hairspray" in Seattle at the 5th Avenue Theater. And also I have the New York debut with my theater partner, Richard Andrieeson; we're doing "The Vaudevillian" -- our vaudeville show -- at the Laurie Beechman theater July 8 to 18. So that's what's on the docket with my career.
But I continue to work with Gay City in Seattle on public health outreach. And I grew up in Portland, Oregon, where we have an organization called SMIRK, for queer teens. It's a place where ... going to high school in America can be very difficult when you're a queer youth growing up. So, places like SMIRK give queer youth a place to feel that they're not the only ones out there like themselves. We don't all come from liberal, open-minded backgrounds, you know? Every little queer boy -- especially those who want to dress like women -- you think you're the only one, and even though your teenage years can be rough, then you get to live the rest of your life exactly the way you want to. ... I truly believe in Dan Savage's message that "it gets better." You put in your work, get through the rough patch, and then you have your whole life ahead of you.
What about the prize money? How are you going to spend $100,000?
I hope this isn't too boring of an answer, but I have some very practical plans for the money. First of all, I'm setting up a college fund for my youngest brother Jacob. I was lucky enough to have family members help me, so I hope to be that person for my little brother. I want to call my student loan people and ask them how much I have to give them to get them to leave me alone for two years. And then I've been promising myself if I won that I'm going to buy myself a really nice computer. So, I'm going to [buy] the biggest, prettiest MacBook Pro and I'm going to have it airbrushed turquoise, and I'm just gonna be the happiest little drag queen in the whole wide world.
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