Warning! This post contains major spoilers about the most recent episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Read ahead at your own risk!
With a broom in hand, Monét X Change literally whisked her way into to RuPaul’s Drag Race family ready to “sweep” the competition. As her infamous sponge dress at the tail end of the first episode proved, however, it was clear the St. Lucia native would instead flip the script in favor of a little sponge-scrubbing on her quest for the crown. But that’s okay because the New York City-based queen is all about changing the game in the heat of the moment, which made her arguably the most charismatic entertainer in one of the most memorable seasons in Drag Race her-story. Unfortunately, after placing high on the judges’ scorecards over four consecutive weeks (a Drag Race record), the 28-year-old ended her streak at the annual makeover challenge, which saw her giving social media influencer Tyler Oakley an underwhelming makeover that left the judges feeling “short-changed.”
Shortly after her elimination, however, EW caught up with Monét for a kiki on her season 10 journey and how exactly she plans to cash in on her newfound fame. Read on for the full conversation.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Hi Monét! It was so great watching you and those swingin’ t—ties this season. I’m sad to see you go!
MONÉT X CHANGE: Thank you! [Laughs]… I know, honey, the shade, the shade!
I must say, the British accents thing has been on my mind since the episode aired. I was initially with Asia in saying that you were on some bulls—, but I researched, and I don’t have to tell you this because you already know, but you’re actually correct!
Oh, I’m 100 percent correct!
I had no idea. The British accent as we know it is only as old as the Industrial Revolution, and upper-class Brits only invented it to distinguish themselves from the lower classes.
Totally! [Laughs]. People thought this couldn’t possibly be right, and that Monét is crazy! No girl, I learned it in like ninth grade social studies in New York City. New York City is not great for a lot of things, but they’re generally good on edjumacatin’ us on s— we need to know about the world to function as high-thinking adults.
People are always like, “I don’t use anything I learned in high school in real life.” But who would’ve thought you’d need to teach a history lesson on a show about men in wigs.
I don’t remember a lot of s— I learned in high school, but that one thing I do remember.
And they were telling you it was all lies and fairytales! But they’re actually the liars!
Exactly. Asia’s a— was too busy in high school to learn anything, so I had to let her know that, girl, this is the tea.
I think she was in high school way before you were. The curriculum just hadn’t evolved yet.
You are very right. Asia is very old. [Laughs].
Well, if you were Cinderella in a fairytale, you wouldn’t have glass slippers, I think you’d have probably like a nice sponge moccasin or something. I just watched “Soak It Up,” and I’m wondering, should I take what Monique Heart’s character says about sponges as a hint to not ask you about the sponges?
[Laughs] No! People think that the sponge thing was a premeditated thing I went into the season with. Yeah, I told RuPaul to design a challenge around a cheap material so that I could do the sponge thing. No, it just happened, and the sponge became a lucky little token for me that I’d taken on the runway. I would put it under my left boob and take it on the runway. And the first time I was in the bottom was the first time I didn’t wear it… and then also, in episode 5, I forgot about it as well… but after that, I took it on the runway with me every time, and I’d do well on the challenges.
So I made a video about soaking it up to all these b—es and all these haters, anything you want to say about me, I’m going to soak it up with a sponge, girl.
Two unexpected things that people latched onto with you were the sponge and the controversy of you wearing short wigs. I don’t understand why that makes fans — and the judges — so mad.
I don’t get it, either. There’s this weird thing where people associate long hair with glamour and long hair with beauty, and that’s not true. There are lots of women in my family who have short hair, and they’re f—ing stunning. Halle Berry is one of the most beautiful women in the world, and she’s had short hair for most of her career. I don’t get this whole thing with short hair and why it’s not beautiful or glamorous.
And the time you wear a huge wig, they kick you off.
Exactly. It goes to the whole thing that when you follow with the judges, girl you go home. They told Max, “Stop wearing gray hair! We hate it!” Max wears a different color wig? “Bye.” Derrick Barry did something different with his eyebrows, [they say] it’s ridiculous and to try something new. He changes his eyebrows and he goes home… I was like, I’m going to listen to them once and for all and wear a big wig. And I go home!
That makes me think of what Asia said in Untucked. She fell into the mindset that I think a lot of fans fall into, and that’s underestimating a queen based on her inability to conform to the Drag Race challenges, not necessarily her real talent as a queen
Drag Race is a very tiny lens on a big scale to judge a queen. I feel like now that Drag Race does a better job with different challenges that show different facets of a queen, like the DragCon panel that showed our ability to talk to an audience and hold a show, which is what a lot of queens — especially in New York City — do, it’s just us in a room full of people for two hours. Drag Race is pushing that skill set forward. But Drag Race is not a practical way to judge a drag queen because drag is so much more than that. Yes, it’s amazing, and I’m so happy I got the chance to do it, but I feel like you can’t look at Drag Race and think you know the most about drag and you know so much about these queens, because the truth is a lot of us are so much bigger than what you see on the show. You have to take it with a grain of salt. You have to remember that this is television. People were like, ‘F— The Vixen, I wish she would go home.’ No, bitch, Vixen brought us good TV, and she brought us drama, which is what you want on your television. You don’t want to sit there and watch a season 9 because it’s f—ing boring.
In terms of how you came across on TV, are you proud of what your legacy is or how the fans perceive you?
I feel like I showed very well on TV. The only thing better than winning RuPaul’s Drag Race is the fans feeling like you got robbed. The past four or five weeks, the fans have been vocal about feeling like I was robbed and should have won a few challenges. … People are saying, these aren’t my words, that I had one of the greatest lip-synchs in RuPaul’s Drag Race history. I’m a performer and an entertainer first, so… I’m glad I got to showcase my talents…
You are a lip-synch genius. It sucks that you had to do it three times, but it’s also wonderful because we got to see three of the best lip synchs of the season.
A lot of it comes in the moment on stage. I come from this world of synching with Bob the Drag Queen in New York City, and I learned how to lip-synch from him, going to see his shows in New York. Also Peppermint… it’s that level of lip-synching where you’re not just going through the dance motions you learned in choreography class, it’s listening to the words of the song and what the artist is saying. Last night, when I walked off the stage…it was literal, but it was a moment of fun for the audience. … It was doing something different to change it up. At this point there are over 100 queens who’ve lip-synched on that stage. So anything you can do to change it up and have fun and sometimes take the song literally to give you a good laugh… is interesting.
You’re also in good company with Robbie Turner as the two queens who’ve broken a light on the stage.
[Laughs] Sometimes drag is dangerous and, yeah, I broke a light bulb, but I still think it was a bright and shiny moment for me… I know I’m in company with Robbie Turner, but sometimes life hands you lemons… [laughs].
Switching gears, a lot of people have raised the concern about the racial dynamic on the show, because you’re the third black queen to be eliminated in a row. Was that issue on your mind?
It is a big issue with Drag Race. The show is not “racial” [in that sense], but it’s the fandom that’s racial. Me being the third black queen in a row to get eliminated, that’s circumstantial. RuPaul’s Drag Race is one of the most racially diverse reality competition shows ever; the season was half people of color. … The fans are the most racial. There is something to be said that the queens of color were the least-followed ones on Instagram and social media during the show, even though at the beginning we were doing the best. The first three or four episodes, the queens of color had done the best on the show, yet Asia was still the least-followed. The fans create the racial divide for the show. Acknowledging it is very important, because acknowledging it is the only way we can fix or rectify it.
Before the show started, you had queens like Aquaria, Miz Cracker, and Blair St. Clair, and before fans even saw the show, people were like, “Oh this is going to be the best queen, she’s going to slay,” because she has blonde hair and blue eyes. It will take the fandom a little while to sit back and realize why they have those immediate reactions that they have and realize that it’s something they don’t even realize what they’re doing. They’re honing in on these skinny, blonde-haired, white queens to be the best ones.
Vixen had a huge role in shifting that conversation.
Vixen hit the nail on the head. She raised very important things that I’m happy we had conversations about. Had she not been the one who spoke boldly, we never would have had a conversation, [and] the fact that it happened on season 10, one of the biggest seasons in Drag Race history, is important.
RuPaul’s Drag Race will resume with a new episode on Thursday, June 7 at 8 p.m. ET on VH1.