Jinxk Monsoon is the Boyz Award-winning musical star who also won a little TV show called RuPaul’s Drag Race. She’s coming back to London for a new show at the Leicester Square Theatre called Jinkx Sings Everything. Dave Cross had a transatlantic catch up with the always lovely and always entertaining Jinkx to get the lowdown.
Well hello Jinkx, you looking forward to being back in London?
I love London and I look forward to every chance I get to go back. I feel very at home there.
And we love having you here! Can you tell us some of your favourite things here?
I think one of my favourite things is going to the Groucho Club after a great show. Sitting around with a few friends and some drinks after an evening of hard work is all I need! However, I also love judging the nude strippers at G-A-Y Porn Idol.
Have you been to other gay venues in London?
Yeah. Not sure I could list them all though, my memory is a little ‘foggy’… I wonder why! *wink wink*
What London/UK drag acts do you like?
I’m a huge fan of Le Gateau Chocolat. He’s been a great friend to me and he’s a spectacular entertainer. Truly unique and a consummate performer. I also am OBSESSED with Bourgeois & Maurice. Their music is clever and wonderful and their onstage chemistry is unparalleled. They inspire me immensely.
Last year you were here with the Vaudevillans and Boyz readers voted it the best play or musical in our awards – what did that mean to you that people voted for you guys?
To me it means that London is the right place for us and our brand of cabaret and entertainment. I love my London and UK audiences. I feel like I was always meant to end up there.
We will talk about your new show in a bit, but what were you like as a child?
I was very quiet and shy, until I got to know you, or until I felt comfortable in my setting. Then you couldn’t get me to shut up. I was a huge nerd for video games, mythology and movies with strong female leads.
You came out while at school, which even today is a brave thing to do – what was the reaction?
For the most part, my peers treated me with respect. I kinda didn’t give them any other choice. I was who I was and I wasn’t going to apologise for it. Of course, I dealt with my fair share of assholes, but I insisted on living my truth whether I had to deal with jerks here and there or not.
What was your first performance in drag?
In middle school I would dress up in very lame/basic drag and play a Southern psychic who gave very bad advice. Soon after that I started performing as a female wind up doll. Then Jinkx came into the picture shortly after.
You were performing in shows such as Hairspray and Rent – what made you enter RuPaul’s Drag Race?
Even though I consider myself an actor first and foremost, to me there is no theatre without drag, and no drag without theatre. The two naturally go hand in hand for me. I entered Drag Race knowing that drag was my passion and pursuing my drag career would open the doors for my artistry et all.
And what impact did winning have on you and your career?
It changed everything. It gave me the career I always wanted and the opportunities I always dreamed of.
Since winning you’ve worked hard at building a theatre career – have you also done some of the big Drag Race tours?
Absolutely. Throughout the year I split my time evenly between my theatre and drag endeavors. I love touring with my Drag Race sisters. That’s when I have the most fun. We all get along great and have almost TOO MUCH fun performing together and hitting up the occasional afterparty.
The show at the Leicester Square Theatre is called Jinkx Sings Everything – what’s the idea?
I love singing! I’m happiest when I’m onstage belting my heart out. From rock to showtunes, I love singing. This show has no set list and no limits. The audience is able to request any song they want and I do my best to deliver it on the spot. It’s chaotic, crazy and lots of fun. No two shows are the same and EVERY show is a riot. The audience seems to love watching me fly by the seat of my skirt, and I have fun improvising my way through an evening of wild cards being thrown at me.
What is the choice of songs?
We’ve had all kinds requests and we try to honour as many of them as we can. Classic rock, 2000s pop, showtunes, movie musicals – anything goes!
How will it work on the night – are there backing tracks or do you have musicians?
It’s me and my wildly talented improv pianist, Joshua Stephen Kartes. Everything is live and on the spot. We work really well together after having done this show countless times in New York. We both thrive living in the moments of spontaneity onstage.
Are there any song requests you are dreading?
Not really. Even though the audience can request anything, I do steer the ship. I honour many requests, but ultimately I make sure I am putting on an entertaining show. We come to the songs together as a unit. Performers and audience working together for the common good! I love it.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
After Jinkx Sings Everything in London, I go on tour with my show The Vaudevillians throughout the UK. Also, I’m releasing my new album The Ginger Snapped this year as well as touring with my new cabaret show by the same name. I’m also working a lot with my dear friend Peaches Christ to bring more of our collaborations on tour around the world. I keep my mind open to many different possibilities that come my way. I just love performing and I’ll do anything to keep myself going.