Monique Heart for Gay Times? Stunning!
Self-described as the heart of season 10, Monique Heart sashayed into the Drag Race werk room and promised to provide fans with the “ooh ah ah sensation”, because she is what? A production. Did she fulfil that promise? Oh honey, she did that and more!
Throughout the season, the performer proved to be one of the show’s most charismatic and quick-witted contestants in HERstory, largely thanks to her unforgettable confessionals. She didn’t snatch that 100,000 dollahz, but she did bless us with some iconic moments, including her brown cow runway lewk and that Cut to the Feeling lip-sync.
Monique sat down with Gay Times for a frank discussion about her time on the show, her experience with gay conversion ‘therapy’, and racism within the Drag Race community. Oh, and she also tells us which season 10 queen peed on the main stage. Enjoy!
Have you and Kameron sorted things out following your intense exchange of words on the reunion?
No, but it wasn’t about building a friendship. It wasn’t about being friends, it was about camaraderie, and you can at least speak when you walk into a room. Maybe he just had a lot on his mind. It was nothing on the show, it was post-show, afterwards. It’s very that.
Having watched the show back, and having filmed the reunion, do you think the feud between Eureka and The Vixen was fairly portrayed compared to what you experienced?
For the most part, I’m gonna say yes. VH1 did a very good job at showing what happened. The reality is that Eureka played the victim and because The Vixen defended herself – and she was louder and more vocal – she’s angry, she’s negative, and then she ends up with this narrative of an angry black woman.
A lot of fans were disappointed that her achievements for highlighting race issues were not addressed.
Everyone wanted to talk about the feud, that’s all everyone talked about. No one talked about the good work that she has done for her community, and to highlight inequality for the black community, especially the black gay community. That was never a topic. It was always, ‘Why are you angry and why are you loud?’ And she was simply trying to defend herself.
What kind of racism have you experienced since competing on Drag Race?
It’s clear and obvious when you look at any of the white queens compared to the black queens on any season. The white queens surpass them, even on this season. In my personal opinion, like I said, I was rooting for everybody black and Aquaria. It was the black queens that really brought it. I would also throw Miz Cracker in there. It’s just hard when you have promoters who tell you things like, ‘We wanted Kameron or Aquaria, but we got you’. And I myself have done a show where I twirled the house down, jumped on the bar, danced on the bar, then Miz Cracker did her thing and got a standing ovation, and I’m thinking, ‘Girl, I just danced circles around you, what is going on?’ I think on some level, I look at it through the masses. The masses are predominantly white, and see themselves and their image or a part of themselves in everyday society – television, media, culture, whatever. They see constant representation. On Drag Race, tiny, petite, pretty, attractive white girls just blend right in with the other group of white girls that you already love. The black girls are gonna have to fight harder. I was working double trying to keep up and still was not recognised. I would say I am one of the least worked queens out of my season. There are girls that have gone home before me that are booked out for the year. That’s crazy. There are girls that have been overseas and out of the country before me. That’s crazy. It sucks. You get caught up in the language of, ‘Oh, we’re so progressive and we’ve come so far’ but, let me say it this way: As a black man in America, I am already very aware of what the game is and how it’s supposed to be played, what the bullshit is. In the gay community, where it is very subtle, and not as blatant in your face, I would say after becoming a RuPaul girl, it is very obvious to what and how racism is still very, very real in the gay community. It’s very sad.
How do you think we can tackle the racism within the community?
I don’t even know if it’s a matter of speaking up, I don’t know. I’m not one to say ‘Yeah, let’s all be positive’. The ironic thing is, yes, we really do want change. I do believe that is a sincere thing from the heart. I just feel like, as far as representation goes right now, when we think of Gay Pride we automatically think of muscular white men. And so I feel like, in order to really change that, I think we would kind of need to change the brainwashing of beauty standards. I feel like, if everyone’s beauty gets a chance to shine – African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and everyone else in between – then the beauty of our heritage and what makes us who we are will truly show and be represented and loved. Other than that, I feel like it’s talks of grandeur and not reality.
Do you get any hate on social media, and how do you deal with it?
I thank God that I’ve not really received any of the negative hate mail. I did get some clapbacks from some fans saying that I verbally assaulted Kameron, which never happened. I was like, ‘What?’
From the reunion?
Yeah. People were saying that he was verbally accosted for being an introvert. Everything that people are accusing me of is not what I even said. So, ya’ll need to watch the game, y’know? I kind of addressed that in the beginning at the premiere. They said, ‘Well, what are you gonna do to fight against online bullying?’ I simply told the world, ‘Don’t come over here with that bullshit. I’m not the one. I’m gonna pray for Jesus to slap you, so if you get slapped, that’s not my problem.’ So I thank God that I don’t receive any, because people are crazy, and when you’re on the road travelling, you have thousands of people coming up to you wanting a photo. You don’t know, they could do whatever, who knows? I don’t know, people are crazy.
Yeah, some of these fans are crazy.
It’s 12-year-old children or some 40-year-old man that’s living in his mother’s basement. It is so weird, and I’m like, ‘Y’all have nothing else to do? Okay, great, wonderful, that’s cute’.
The show promotes acceptance, positivity and inclusivity, and they’re completely missing the point.
Yeah, completely. It’s funny because that’s what they try and accuse me of not doing. Me and Asia were defending and fighting for The Vixen, saying we need to stand up for our sisters, and then I made a comment to Kameron saying, ‘Hey, on social media, you tend to be the clapback girl, however on the show you were not her’. I said that, and he proceeded to say, ‘Well no, I’m nice, I was quiet and I was intimidated’, to which I said, ‘Okay cute, you made it all the way to the end, you tend to be a clapback girl on social media, is that a stunt? What are you doing?’ People totally took that like, ‘He was attacked’. Like what? Y’all are so dumb! Y’all hear what you wanna hear. We were on set for eight hours and you see, what? An hour and a half or a two hour segment? Do you know how much editing they cut down? It’s so weird. Y’all saw half this story and you’re making these weird and negative perceptions. It’s so crazy.
It’s strange that people get so offended when part of drag culture is throwing shade at each other.
I don’t get that either. I didn’t watch the reunion episode, but I know there was a comment where someone like Eureka or RuPaul said, ‘Well, we can all just get along’ and I said, ‘No we don’t! Stop that BS. That is a fantasy world’. We don’t need to have bad blood, but I don’t need to jump in a car every time I see you.
Some fans can’t comprehend that.
I mean, they are emotionally invested. I know people are emotionally invested as a fan because being a Ru girl, when you take photos with them, their hearts are going like a thousand beats per minute. I’m like, ‘Oh my, is that because of me?’
On the show, what was your experience with RuPaul like?
There wasn’t a whole lot of one-on-one’s with him. You get that the longer you’re on the show, as you saw he had with Asia and whatnot. I would say they were nice. I had one main time that I know that I made RuPaul die laughing and it was during the Martian challenge. He came over to the table and I just made him die laughing, and I was like, ‘I got you. If I can make you laugh, I know I won you over’. So, it was good, but I wanted more. To me, RuPaul is that black mysterious unicorn. I used to go on AOL when it had dial-up and I would go on search engines and just find photos of RuPaul and stare at them. So, to be that close to him, and not be able to be like, ‘I love you’, y’know what I mean? That’s what kind of sucks. You wanna touch him and thank him, and you really don’t have that.
You opened up on the show about your experience with anti-gay ‘therapy’. We heard a lot about Dusty’s experience, but not much of yours. Would you care to open up?
Yeah, I was supposed to talk about my whole experience but I didn’t because I felt like Dusty’s story needed to be heard more. I just kept quiet because a lot of people who go through anti-gay ‘therapy’ and come out don’t talk to Jesus, and I still do. So, I just generally don’t talk about it. But my story is, as you know, that I grew up in predominantly a charismatic Christian circle, so instead of it being a ‘therapy’ session, it’s more like a deliverance. Y’know, we’re going to pray long hours and we’re gonna pray that God deliver you of this gay demon. When I started going to predominantly white churches after high school, then it was more about inner-healing ‘therapy’, less talk about it, more get to the root and pray. You go through all of these courses where they teach you bullshit, essentially. They’re started by people that have left the gay lifestyle – I hate that language, but that’s what they say – and they pick apart all of their own issues and make teachings out of them. I think some of the things that they come out with are slightly valid, but their reasons to why we’re gay are completely bogus. They’ll say like, ‘You’re gay because your dad wasn’t there and your mom is overbearing’, or, ‘You’re gay because you were sexually abused’. All of the stereotypes. Then, after coming out, I remembered my first year of going out, I was probably in tears every time I went out. And not because I was drunk, but I would meet other gays and they would tell me their story and I would weep because I would go, ‘I was lied to’. How do you say it’s bad parenting when you have five kids and only one of them is gay? So, we just completely fucked up on that one? Bad parenting? That’s bullshit. As a black gay man, we have many absent father’s in the black community – what about all those other black men that are straight, have no fathers and strong mothers? You go through the want for freedom, you love the Lord, you go, ‘Look, you love me, I love you, you say this is wrong or bad or whatever and get rid of it, but nothing changes – what do you want me to do?’ It gets to that point of, ‘I’m either gonna commit suicide or I’m gonna leave this bullshit’. Dusty left, I left. Through me leaving and becoming a drag queen, in my personal opinion, God became real. Like I said on the show – I’m not sure if they showed this part – but I would sit in my room and I would be working on a costume, and I would feel like I’d hear him say, ‘What are you doing?’ And I would go, ‘I am working on a costume’, and I would feel like when father’s say they’re proud. Very that. I know that he loves Monique, and would say, ‘Go bitch! Go ahead! Go twirl!’ I feel like that’s the father that we have, and I feel like that negative representation is just the bigotry of people’s bullshit, and not who he is and what his message is.
Did the conversion ‘therapy’ ever test your faith?
Oh yes. I generally don’t talk about it because I feel like people don’t always have a right understanding. For me, I’ve seen too many signs and wonders that God is real. My roommate’s leg was longer than the other one. I literally saw it grow out in front of me. My friend who was deaf now hears. I could go on and on. So it’s like, ‘Okay God, we pray, you show up, wonderful – why is this not happening with the gay?’ That was my frustration. It wasn’t until I left everything and I was at my lowest and I said, ‘If I go to hell for this, then fuck it’. I did everything that I knew to do, I prayed every prayer, I fasted, I turned over my plate, I was on my face crying out, ‘Deliver me, deliver me’. It’s such bullshit, but the reality is, he loved me the whole time. To get on the other side of that hurdle and know that you’re loved, it’s so weird. For me, I’m really happy about all of my years in pseudo conversion ‘therapy’ and full time ministry. People love Monique, but people love Monique because Kevin went to full time ministry school, Kevin loves the Lord, Kevin wants to touch people’s hearts. I would not be that man without that season of my life, so it’s very that for me.
You’ve gone through all that, and now you’re a fan-favourite contestant on the world’s biggest drag reality show. It must feel full circle.
Now, I know they did show that moment where I broke down on stage and said it was all worth it. That is so true. It was. It was all worth it. I didn’t know it was truly worth it until I got to DragCon. Hearing little boys come up to you, and even grown men, saying ‘Your story was so powerful and it touched me’. But these young, gay drag boys, they would just hold my hand and cry and say, ‘You don’t even know’. Like, that moment, I go ‘Boom’. Like you said, it’s very full circle. Outside of the crazy fans, I am so blessed and so thankful.
On a lighter note, can you tell us something about Drag Race that the audience may not know about?
Monét X Change peed on the stage in her red costume when she was getting critiqued, right before she lip-synced against Dusty Ray Bottoms. Like, a puddle. Literally. She had to go and they were in the middle of critiques, she was shaking and she was like, ‘I got to go, I got to go’. So she starting going, and then she ran. What else happened? Miss Blair St. Clair, as tiny as she may be, eats like a 400-pound woman. Blair would bring home boxes of pizza. Whatever the food was for lunch and dinner, Blair had two plates. We would go, ‘Where in the hell is your skinny ass putting this?’ The bitch would eat, okay? EAT.
Now that’s some piping hot T. I have to ask, would you return for All Stars? And what would you do differently?
Ooh, Jesus! If I got the call, I would go, yes. Why? Because I am a sensation and I clearly wanna go on television. I do well there. That’s where I – long term – wanna end up. What would I do differently? I would say last time, when I went, I was very concerned about not making a mockery of black people. I feel like there are too many of us African-Americans that have gone on TV and acted like a fool just for one dollar. I didn’t wanna be another one. Also, I wanna push the boundaries further.
Who would you like to compete against on an All Stars?
It’s so hard, because season 10 is the season. So yes, you wanna go across the seasons, but I wanna beat the bitches from my season! Bring everyone who doesn’t win and put them right back! Game two. Let’s do it again. And on All Stars, you lip sync when you’re good, so that would be great. I would love to compete against… who’s one of the greats? Manila, if she came back. Roxxxy, who’s a big inspiration of mine. I don’t know. Asia and Monet! I mean, can you imagine? Oh my gosh!
Watch the season finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race this Thursday, 28 June, on VH1.