She was the heart of Season 10, but a heart of gold and hilarious commentary couldn’t keep Monique Heart on RuPaul’s Drag Race, America. On Thursday’s episode, after an unfortunate wig snafu and not knowing the words to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Cut to the Feeling,” Monique Heart sashayed away.
INTO caught up with the highly-beloved queen and spoke to her about being the first queen from Kansas City, Missouri, how seminary prepared her for a career in drag, and what happened to the infamous playing card dress.
You’re the first Drag Race queen to represent Kansas City. What does that mean to you?
It’s a high honor. I say this all the time: I came to drag because Hamburger Mary’s [in Kansas City] said I’d be perfect. They paid me and said to find another drag queen to teach me how to do my makeup. And my career has just grown. So to be the first is just an honor and Kansas City was so excited it was me representing. I’m happy to be the first one, and I really kind of made a way for other girls that have been an inspiration to me in Kansas City to be on the show.
How would you describe the Kansas City drag scene?
Kansas City drag scene is it’s the same thing that happened on the show. We’re slept on. We don’t get the TV time or the recognition that we should, but facts are facts, honey! You can put any Kansas City girl on that damn stage and I promise you, we’re entertaining honey.
You spoke a lot about your own financial issues getting onto the show. Do you think that the nature of the show kinda prohibits some queens from participating or succeeding?
I would say at this level, the drag is no longer what you can make or what you can create. Rather it’s what’s the “look,” you know what I mean. It’s sad because it’s more of a “look queen” type of thing which in my opinion it’s because a lot of queens don’t have talent, they just have visual aesthetic. Monet said I didn’t come here with money either, but you had all 12 looks ready! Cracker she said that one look was expensive, so one of her looks she dropped a lot of money on. That’s not my life, but that’s fine!
What was it like to walk into the workroom in the first episode and see so many queens of color, specifically black queens, on the show with you?
Well, it was life-changing. About damn time. For so long we’ve had one or two and then you had, and let’s just be honest, we go all the way in! We’ve always had tons of white queens and tons of Latino queens, who are honorary whites, but you have never brought in five Black girls. And you brought in some of the baddest bitches in the game. I was standing right there with them so, it was like “Let’s go!”
Do you think America has benefitted from seeing this cast of black queens on the show?
It’s so necessary because our stories are not heard. Specifically when being black and gay, every day we feel that. If there is a black gay film, it’s very low budget. You don’t hear about many black gay films that change culture or change society. You don’t hear about our experiences. And it’s just necessary to hear if you really want a queen to be whole then it has to be the whole queen and not just the face. It’s necessary. Little gay boys have been messaging me saying I changed their life. The fact that they can’t say that about Miz Cracker or Aquaria, but to have someone that looks like you, knows the struggle and has the same challenge as you is so necessary. It’s powerful!
You spoke on the show about your own experience in seminary. Can you talk a little bit about how your faith informs your drag?
It does, the two coincide together. I just said this in another interview that I was homeless and I was couchsurfing, and I used to hang out with a friend at Hamburger Mary’s. And I got a job at Mary’s and it helped pay the bills so that Kevin [Monique’s boy name] could have a space to cry and process in all that it was to come out and reconcile with, “God, I know that you have six scriptures against me, but you have thousands about how much you love me.” It was truly me just sitting alone in a room with an invisible God and talking to him and working on a costume or my makeup and hearing his voice saying, “What are you doing?” and hearing Him say, “Oh, you look beautiful” or, “I like this costume.” Or saying, “Why don’t you put this here instead of there?” And it was like, “OK!” Why would my Father not be proud of me? A Father comes in and speaks to his son, whether it’s baseball, theatre, whatever, for his straight son, why would the Father not come to His gay son and affirm him in the same way. To be very honest, money as an issue but everything I needed He provided.
It’s so funny I feel like the qualities that would make you a great pastor would also make you a great drag queen. Being able to lead people, be up on stage, inspire people, etc.
You know what the funny thing is for me, this is how I know God is very real and involved in my drag. If you think about the people who are the color in the community it’s the drag queens. If you think about the people who bring change, if you are to tell a group people who wanna go a different direction, you don’t bring the hot guys on stage, you don’t bring the politicians, but you bring the drag queens, whether she’s rude, crass, glamorous or petty. She’s going to grab the attention. Once they find out she’s good on the mic, she’ll “Listen!” and it’s the same with drag and coming into full-time ministry. I used to say I was on a platform saying “God loves you,” and now I’m in a wig and heels saying “Hey, the Father loves you!”
During Untucked this week, you said specifically that you didn’t know the words to the song. What was going through your head before the lip sync?
I mean, I did try, I went back to look at my paper and learn my words and I was just it was just like I was so like annoyed because I’m like, you want me to vote someone out just because I might have a problem with them, I’m that took my time away. It wasn’t like I didn’t try to learn my words, so boom boom boom I was making sure I tried to have a finished project, that’s what jacked me up. I personally believed going in, I was like, “God help me,” but you can’t say that if you don’t help yourself first. And I did try, but at the same time, I was like, “Dear Lord Jesus, it should not be me in the bottom two, don’t let it be me!” I started out good but by the time my wig slipped, I’ll let you know that’s when I checked out. I’m a hair queen, so the only weapon I felt like I had left and, you know what I mean. I tried to do a cartwheel and I see The Vixen coming and I didn’t want to hit her, it was bad.
I’m real happy that you know a bitch can work, though! We don’t know what happened last week but you know a bitch can do something!
OK, before we run out of time, I have to askdo you still have your playing card dress? Have you worn it in public since you debuted it in episode one?
No, I threw that shit in the damn trash! I was pissed. “Step your pussy up!” What, bitch? But really, there was no way I could pack that up and not destroy it. I was thinking about how to recreate it with different materials so it wouldn’t crack and fall apart.