Mother has arrived!
We could not be more thrilled and honored to have the Queen Of All Queens, Jinkx Monsoon, as the host of our 12th Annual Queerties Awards, set to queer Hollywood on March 12, 2024.
You know her, you love her, you’ll never again hear someone say, “Do we have time for one more?,” without thinking of her Judy Garland impression and cracking up. Yes, we all know where we were when Jinkx was crowned the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 7—something shifted that day.
How about we take this to the next level?
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And she spent the bulk of last year on an extended (and well-deserved) victory lap, first heading to New York City to make her Broadway debut as Mama Morton in Chicago, then to England where she filmed a mysterious “major role” in the upcoming season of Doctor Who, then back to the States, touring the country for the remainder of the year with another crowd-pleasing edition of The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show.
So, how could Jinkx Monsoon possibly top a herstorical 2023? Why, by hosting the Queerties Awards, of course! We broke the news in The Wrap this week and now, with voting closing in just 20 days, we sat down with the queen herself to tease the big night. In our chat, Jinkx previews some plans for the show, reveals what hostess with mostest most inspires her, and get misty-eyed sharing why it’s so important to have events like the Queerties that bring out community together.
Jinkx, my dear, hello! You’re a multi-time Queerties award winner as recently as last year’s prestigious Badass award—
Yeah, you see that Queerties award sitting in background? Where I have all my awards. [Laughs.]
Naturally! Well, we’re so thrilled and honored to have you at the ceremony for the first time ever this year as our emcee. What made you want to host the show?
Well, part of what made me want to host was what you just mentioned: I’ve never gotten to go before! You know, the first year I won was during the pandemic, in quarantine. So they they mailed me—no, wait, I didn’t even have the award at the time that filming my acceptance speech! [Laughs.] And then last year I was on Broadway doing Chicago so I wasn’t able to make it.
Then this year, I didn’t even know I was nominated when I said yes to host. And I would have tried to go either way, but now I get to go without the looming anxiety of, “Oooh do I have to do a speech or not?,” you know? Because now I’ll get plenty of stage time.
I’m gonna just be backstage schmoozing, and just turn this whole thing into a lounge act!
And that’s exactly why we wanted you for the job! There’s this storied tradition of hosting awards shows, a role held by many, many icons over the years. Are there other stars whose hosting expertise you take inspiration from, or that you might be channeling on March 12 at the Queerties?
Yeah, Whoopi Goldberg! It’s just the fact that, every time she’s hosted the Oscars, she could be doing this big crazy bit, but she’s just so true to who she is. Like, it doesn’t matter if she’s dressed up as Queen Elizabeth—she always had this ease and confidence about it. She’s hosting this huge awards ceremony, and when that many people are buzzing with anticipation, that creates an energy in the air. But Whoopi Goldberg never seemed affected by any of that, she was just cool, calm, and collected every time she hosted.
I used to think that I thrived off of the stress and the anxiety; I used to think that that was how I operated best. Well, turns out I operate even better when I’m chilled the f*ck out, and when I just trust that everything’s gonna be exactly how it’s supposed to be. I’ve created this mantra in my head, because I’ve been doing this now long enough—I hosted shows for years even before Drag Race. So I’m at this point in my career where I’m like, “there is nothing that can happen out on that stage that I can’t handle.” And that’s not meant to be cocky—that’s just meant to say I have done this long enough that I actually trust myself. I’m not saying the imposter syndrome is gone, but I have been tested and I came out the other end godd*mmit! So I have a new kind of confidence—a Whoopi Goldberg-esque confidence.
Oh, she’s the perfect inspiration. I mean, aside the fact that she was basically doing drag with that Queen Elizabeth look, she plays it cool, she’s casually funny and witty, she does great crowd work—
That’s the part I’m most excited about! I’m going to get to do crowd work with our queerest of the queer! I don’t know who’s going to be there, but I love improv. I didn’t do five years of college improv—yes, five, because we we stayed together after we graduated. [Laughs.] I don’t mean to sound like I’m bragging because that’s nothing to brag about, but it does come in handy in this one specific arena. I knew it was worth the degradation!
Speaking of your past experiences that may have prepared you for this moment: Last year, you were such a smash in Chicago on Broadway. Any big lessons or takeaways from doing that show?
That thing I just said—about how nothing’s gonna happen on that stage that I can’t handle—I learned that doing Chicago. Because, when you do eight shows a week, you never know what f*ck your voice is gonna decide to do that day. And that used to just destroy me because I’m a Virgo, I want to do my best every performance, I want to give an Oscar-worthy performance I do anything in front of an audience. This is what I live for, this is what gets me off, right?
And there were shows where just wonky things happened, and you know what? No one cared. The audience didn’t care, the producers didn’t care. No one cared, because there’s another eight shows to do next week. And that really taught me, yes, do your very, very best every time, but give yourself some grace. Because the beautiful thing about live entertainment is those moments.
As you know, your friend and fellow queen Bianca Del Rio was our hilarious host last year. Over your years of knowing her, what’s something you’ve learned—or learned not to do—from her?
Well, first of all: Bianca, the stage person… rotted c*nt. [Laughs.] Bianca, the human being—she is just one of the best people I know. Honestly, I have no problem saying that. She’s generous, she’s kind, she’s thoughtful, she’s real, she’s honest—and, in that way, she’s someone you can really trust, and so she’s been an incredible friend to me.
Having said that… our stage presence? Very different. [Laughs.] I love anytime I’m onstage with Bianca—it does not happen enough. We have such opposing archetypes, but our commitment to what are doing, our laser-fast back-and-forth—we tell very different types of jokes, we have very different delivery styles, but we can volley. So, yeah, don’t expect me to be such a rotted c*nt, but do expect that… no one is safe. [Laughs.]
You mentioned earlier that you are a nominee once again this year—yourself and BenDeLaCreme were nominated in the “Live Theater” category for your holiday tour. Now, I would never want to speak anything into any kind of existence, but in the event you two somehow did lose while you were hosting… are you prepared to just burn it all down?
[Laughs.] No, no, I will go with the flow! But I’ll tell you candidly: in Seattle, there is an annual award called the Genius Award, sponsored by The Stranger, the independent newspaper in Seattle. And, one year, I was nominated in the Theater & Arts category, and they asked me to sing a song, so I sang the Janis Joplin cover of Big Mama Thornton song “Ball And Chain” with a live orchestra, and I did the full monologue that she did at the end of her live performance—it was like this baffling monologue that came out of nowhere, and I did all of it. Then I dropped the mic and walked offstage and proceeded to lose the award! [Laughs.] And, you know what? I felt fine. I felt f*cking fine. I went up to my dressing room smoked a pack of Menthols, and I was fine.
But I have a feeling that both DeLa and I will be completely fine because we’ve had a blessed couple of years with the Queerties. And I would love for that feeling to be shared with some other young hopeful! Matt Rogers—he’s got his whole future ahead of him—why not? Give the kid a thrill. [Laughs.]
Oh wow, so can we expect another full-orchestra musical performance and extended theatrical monologue from you at the Queerties? I think folks would eat that up!
I’m up for anything, honestly. I don’t know when we’re going to start planning. [Laughs.] But I’ve got ideas up the wazoo. So I’m ready to start. But, you know, with me, it’s like you could you could hire me to do a 20 minute set, and that doesn’t mean you’re not gonna get like an hour-long medley of a variety of talents!
No, I’ve been really excited to kick off the new year with a little rest and relaxation. And then the Queerties starts yet another exciting and fun-filled year here for Jinkx Monsoon, LLC.
Now I’m picturing you in some window-filled penthouse office in a giant skyscraper downtown!
Oh, nope, it’s a swampy little witch hut in the middle of North Portland. [Laughs.]
Lastly, you know, The Queerties are one of the all-too-rare opportunities where our community actually gets to make their voices heard—everyone can vote once a day between now and February 22nd—and celebrate one another. Why do you feel it’s important we have opportunities like these to gather together and party?
Well, this is not pandering to get more votes, but this is just a factual thing that happened, okay? At the end of our holiday tour this year, every night, we would thank the audience for being there and ask them to take the feelings of joy and happiness that they may have felt that evening back out into our dark and scary world and pay it forward.
And BenDeLaCreme would say, “we have so much division in the world right now. Everywhere you go, someone’s asking you to choose a side and be pitted against someone else. And we do not need to be fostering that within our own communities. We need to encourage unity amongst our queer community right now, and come together to fight our true enemies.”
There’s so many things that can distract us from that—competition, fame, money—all of these things are distractions. So I want to look at this awards ceremony as a chance to celebrate one another, as a chance for us to remember that we need to be allies to one another. Because the queer community contains people from everywhere else—our community is global, our community includes everyone—and that means we need to make sure that we are being an ally to our fellow queer people. That means you need to be an ally to trans people, people of color, people of different backgrounds. Be a true ally at this time so that our community can come together and unify in the way that we are known to do. And when we do that, we get sh*t done.
Beautifully put, Jinkx. Well, we’re can’t wait to watch you do your thing up there on the Queerties stage on March 12—we’ll see you soon!
See you then! Bye-bye!