Jinkx Monsoon is one very talented and skilled drag star. On season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race she just continues to amaze us. Though Jinkx Monsoon has challenges they never compromise the talent level delivered. Let’s get to know Jinkx a little better.
Abby: Hello to Seattle’s youngest hottest MILF!
Jinkx: Yes that’s me!
Abby: Jinkx I do find you very fascinating. I think that you are probably the most intriguing person on Drag Race this season.
Jinkx: Thank you for saying it. Intriguing is a nice way of putting it.
Abby: The more research I did on you the more compelling I found you. Is that better?
Jinkx: Ya. That’s a 5 dollar word. I like that. Thank you! I’ve been doing drag for about 10 years in a variety of facets. It’s really exciting with Drag Race people are starting to go back through my history and find all of the little projects I’ve done along the way. So it’s been really exciting to see those get discovered all of the sudden. Years after the fact.
Abby: So speaking of going back in history, what was life like for you as a child?
Jinkx: I was the oldest son with a single mother of three brothers. I just remember being a really responsible, really adult like child for much of my life. It was mostly just me, my aunt and my grandma. We were a really close knit little family. Me and my little brothers played around like normal little kids. We played make believe a lot. I always wanted to play the witches in our games. I never wanted to play the super hero. I wanted to play the female villain.
Abby: Where did you go to school?
Jinkx: I was in Portland, Oregon my whole life. I was born and raised there and I moved to Seattle in 2006. In Portland I went to a private arts middle school called Da Vinci Middle School. It was like a magnet program for the performing and visual art. Then I went to Grant High School where they filmed Mr. Holland’s Opus. I did a lot of theater and choir work in high school. Then I came up to Seattle to go to Cornish College of the Arts to get my BFA in theater. I graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2010 from Cornish College of the Arts.
Abby: That is truly something to be proud of. Congratulations! When were you diagnosed with narcolepsy?
Jinkx: I first saw a doctor about the fact that I couldn’t stay awake throughout the day at about age 17. At first I was misdiagnosed with depression. I was being treated for depression for about a year or two before I went in and saw a doctor again. I told them that the symptoms weren’t going away and the antidepressants were just complicating things. That’s when I got diagnosed with narcolepsy. So at about age 19.
Abby: Do you also have cataplexy? (A sudden loss of muscle tone and strength, usually caused by an extreme emotional stimulus)
Jinkx: I do not have cataplexy the way that it kind of gets described when you read about narcolepsy. I have moderate symptoms. I have cataplexy in small areas on my face and it is mostly stress induced. But my case of narcolepsy is textbook to moderate case. It is not at all like how they depict it in the movies. It’s by far not as bad as someone with the most extreme cases of narcolepsy where they experience all of the symptoms at full capacity.
Abby: How does narcolepsy effect you as an entertainer?
Jinkx: It’s just an obstacle that I deal with in my day to day life. I always tell anyone that I’m working with that I have narcolepsy. If we break and I go off and fall asleep somewhere just find me and give me a little nudge. I’ll be ready to go again. Naps are something that I incorporate into my daily life. I stay on top of taking my medication and vitamins and keep a balanced diet.
Abby: In school at the Cornish College of the Arts, what was your favorite class?
Jinkx: My favorite class was clown class believe it or not. It was based on the art form Commedia dell’Arte and studied the classical clown forms. It wasn’t like circus clowns. It wasn’t balancing on a ball or throwing pies. It was an intellectual look at comedy in character portrayal, to committing to a character and making improvised decisions and actions as that character.
Abby: Did you relate to Ivy Winters on the show?
Jinkx: See now Ivy is a circus clown. Ivy and I related. When we got paired up together to work on the dance challenge. We played Ru and Lady Bunny. That’s when Ivy and I really started to know one another. We have a similar aesthetic and similar aspirations for our drag. We are both drag queens who have multiple talents outside of drag. We are both two kind of quirky, silly little ladies.
Abby: Is it true that you worked your way through school as a janitor?
Jinkx: Yeah. My freshman year of college I had enough money saved up to pay my rent for the first semester. After winter break I needed to find a job to be able to stay in my apartment and feed myself. The only job that really fit into my schedule was the janitor position at the school. So I would get up every morning at 5 AM and go clean the school until my first class at about 10 AM. I’d go to class all day and then go to rehearsal. Then I’d wake up the next day and do it all over again. And that was my life for 4 years at college.
Abby: Do you have any characters that are janitors or maids?
Jinkx: I don’t. That’s actually a really good idea! I have a bunch of other quirky characters.
Abby: For example, you played a transsexual psychic medium in Turning Parlor Tricks.
Jinkx: Yes. And that was actually co-written and directed by one of my favorite teachers at Cornish, Keira McDonald. I wanted to find a way to do impersonation work in a new format. So we had this idea of doing a one man show where I would be able to impersonate my favorite deceased celebrities as a psychic medium. I called them “celebrideads.” And then we kind of built the story around that. That’s how we conceived Deirdre A. Irwin, the countries foremost transsexual psychic medium.
Abby: Are you psychic at all?
Jinkx: My whole family, we have some woo-woo tendencies. I’ve had some odd psychic connections with my mom and my aunt. We predicted the birth of my cousin Camille when we all had the same dream one night. We called each other and talked about it the next day. I have psychic tendencies but I wouldn’t put it on my resume. If I could hone the skill and I could strengthen it then maybe. I don’t like to sell myself as something I can’t do 100%.
Abby: Speaking of transsexuals, on Drag Race when Monica Beverly Hillz admitted to being transgender you referred to her as your hero. Why were you so moved?
Jinkx: I worked for years as a peer counselor and a volunteer at the sexual minority youth resource center in Portland, Oregon. It has a lot of resources for trans teenagers. It’s hard enough to come out to your family as queer. Then to also tell them that you wish to live your life as the opposite gender, that can be cause for a lot of tumultuous teenage years. I have seen what kind of obstacles that can throw at a person when they really start opening up about that side of themselves. I just imagine that it had to have taken a lot of conviction and strength for Monica to not only share that with all of us but to share it with America and the world when she did it on national television. I just thought it took a lot of strength and she really, really won my admiration with that.
Abby: Are you two still speaking?
Jinkx: Ya. We saw each other in LA for the premiere party and we talk on line all the time. She is just a very, very sweet person. We also have the same taste in guys so we kiki about that sometimes.
Abby: So you’re single?
Jinkx: I am. I refer to myself as chronically single, yes.
Abby: That was actually coming up in the fan questions.
Jinkx: Oh ya? I am so committed to my career right now. I love performing and I really try to do it as much as possible. I take on a show sometimes and that means 2 1/2 months of nonstop rehearsals and performances. Until I feel like I can give a fair amount of attention to a spouse I’m not going to go looking for love right now.
Abby: I loved your answer to Ru about your hair being a little thirsty. “I tried to tease it but I just pissed it off!”
Jinkx: I would not list hairstyling or wig styling as one of my chief assets as a drag queen. I never shy away from a challenge. I always try my best and if I’m going to get called out on something I’m at least going to stand my ground on the fact that I tried my best.
Abby: Do you have any other favorite expressions or sayings?
Jinkx: In this last episode we saw my first appearance of my mantra, “Water off a ducks back.” I actually said that to myself a lot especially while we were filming on the runway. It was just kind of comforting repeating that to myself. No one else was going to do it for me so I just had to stand there talking to myself. But that saying to me means that I’m going to take the critique and process what I can. Anything about it that sounds negative or feels like a personal attack, just let that go and listen to the message of the critique. That is something that I learned at Cornish College. When you are going to school for art you get critiqued by your classmates and teachers. It’s a part of the process of becoming an artist. You have to be able to learn how to receive and process critiques and incorporate them into your next attempt at your work rather than taking them personally and letting them hold you back.
Abby: I wish a lot more people would do that.
Jinkx: Well hopefully I have inspired some people to take that approach to critiques.
Abby: After you won the Snatch Game, and congratulations on that.
Jinkx: Thank you very much!
Abby: You said, “A life dream is coming true today.” What was your dream?
Jinkx: It was a combination of the fact that I had thought about auditioning for Drag Race since season 2. Every year I talked myself out of it. Every year I thought about it again because it was always my dream to get to do Snatch Game and to show off one of my skills which is impersonation. I actually got to do that and play my number one choice, Little Edie from Grey Gardens. It was just a whole bunch of things that I convinced myself might never happen. Then they all happened all at once. It was just a surreal and very rewarding experience. So I felt like a lot of dreams were coming true all at once.
Abby: Well you got me to watch the original Grey Gardens, thank you so much!
Jinkx: A lot of people have commented on Little Edie as a gay icon. More gay men my age or more drag queens should know who she is. I truly feel that more Americans should know who she was. The story of the Beales and how they were intertwined with the Kennedy’s and the golden age of American aristocracy. It was a huge turning point that one of the most influential families in the country went bankrupt and these female socialites became agoraphobic eccentrics. I think that it is a cultural reference that more people should know, gay or straight, male or female, drag queen or not.
Abby: Do you think that Coco Montrese has watched Grey Gardens?
Jinkx: I think she has. She actually tweeted something about it. I hope she has because I know she’d get a kick out of it.
Abby: Another quote: “I’m in no mood for a long ass fight, ever!” Do you avoid confrontations at all cost?
Jinkx: Not at all cost. I would say that everyone has their limits. I just try to find the positive and try to have patience. It’s a southern trait that my family passed on to me. A lot of my family is from Georgia. I was raised in this idea that fighting is for behind closed doors, only with family members and very close loved ones. You don’t air your dirty laundry out in public. So no matter what’s going on you gracefully get your way through it and then you go home. That’s the only time you should really let the claws come out.
Abby: What sign are you?
Jinkx: I’m a Virgo.
Abby: Is that a Virgo trait?
Jinkx: I think Virgos tend to have public and private personas. They develop a personality that they share out in the open and a personality that only those closest to them get to see. Fun fact: I was actually born on the same day as Greta Garbo. There is a distinct possibility that I might just be her reincarnation! Who knows?
Abby: Well I will check in with my psychic side and find out!
The last question comes from one of your fans. Please forgive me for asking, are you a natural ginger?
Jinkx: “I’m every bit as natural of a red head as Lucille Ball was! I was born with white blonde hair and then it turned red when I was a kid. When I hit puberty it turned brown and I hated it. So I have been a close personal friend of Madame Loreal for some time now!
Abby: Jinkx, thank you so much! I am wishing you the best. I do find you very talented and fascinating. I can’t wait to see what you’ll do next.
Jinkx: Thank you. Me too!
For more on Jinkx Monsoon you can watch RuPaul’s Drag Race on Monday’s at 9 PM on Logo TV. Or you can find more on Jinkx here: jinkxmonsoon.com