You are a beautiful woman and man. What is your earliest memory of identifying as feminine? When I was a kid, as early as five years old, I used to wrap myself in a knitted afghan whenever I was at home, to look like Morticia Addams. There are actually numerous family photos with me in my DIY gown. Growing up and pursuing your career in theatre, was there a moment when you could have given up and gone a different path? If so, what made you stay on the path you are on now? When I was deciding on a college, I had to answer this question: Do I go to theater school and concentrate on spending my life as a performer/ actor; or, do I go to a liberal arts college to have a more reliable career focused on stability rather than passion? There wasn’t much money for me to go to college, so there was a touch of pressure on me to make the “responsible, right” choice . . . Ultimately, I decided to go for what I was passionate about, but my Plan B was to study English and become a teacher. Honors English was one of my favorite subjects in school, especially when we were studying Shakespeare. So, that’s where I’d be today if I weren’t doing this.
Monsoon Season! Jinkx Monsoon Queen
By Joy Shannon Who would have guessed that the narcoleptic, underdog, dark horse of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5—Jinkx Monsoon—would have won the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar!” Currently performing on Broadway in The Vaudevillians to excellent reviews, Jinkx has already used her drag superstardom to keep moving forward in the direction of her dreams. The Huffington Post recently reviewed Jinkx as a “real star” who is “show[ing] off talent that was only glimpsed at on Drag Race.” Jinkx first stole fans’ hearts early on during RuPaul’s Drag Race when she impeccably and hilariously portrayed the cult classic character Little Edie from the documentary Grey Gardens. During the show’s season, Jinkx weathered criticisms from the judges and her fellow drag queens—especially the pageant-oriented queens—for her quirky take on fashion. Jinkx’s memorable looks have always leaned toward vintage-inspired and character-driven, rather than high-fashion runway. When Jinkx accepted her crown as “America’s New Drag Superstar,” she declared that she would be an activist for marriage equality, which has proven to be an eventful fight across the country this past year. Jinkx recently spoke to CULTURE about everything about her childhood, the choices that led her to theatre and her medical cannabis use.
24 CULTURE • OCTOBER 2013
Your mantra of “water off a ducks back” has become a charming catch phrase, yet it is also a meaningful mantra. When did you first start using this mantra? My drag sister Robbie said it to me when I first started working a lot in Seattle, and I faced a lot of criticism from other queens in the area who, for whatever reason, were extremely competitive and critical of me. Robbie said, “Whatever, it’s just water off a duck’s back.” That mantra (which helped me through the rougher parts of RuPaul’s Drag Race) means that I take in notes and critiques, learn what I can from them by separating my emotion from the notes, and let go of any negativity I sense and take the good from all of what I get. I always try to remember, it’s not about me, it’s about the work. At the end of your career, what would you like to have accomplished? I hope I will be recognized as a true artist in my field, and I hope I will leave a positive and substantial impact on my community. What are your thoughts about medicinal cannabis legalization in the US? I honestly think it’s silly that alcohol is legal and cannabis isn’t. As one who uses medicinal cannabis for my narcolepsy, I can tell you that, when I’m drunk, I act coo-coo banana crackers. But when I’ve smoked, I’m still me . . . just relaxed. Alcohol is, to me, much more destructive, and cannabis is much more therapeutic. And that’s what I think about that. c
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