To say Monet X Change made an impression during Season Ten of RuPaul’s Drag Race is putting it mildly. From the moment she hit her first runway challenge in a dress made almost completely of sponges, viewers knew that this talented and crafty New York City queen was officially in the game! She may have been eliminated just shy of the Top Five after a scorching lip sync against Kameron Michaels, but this queen is going to be giving her fans plenty to soak up. I caught up with Monet to talk about her Drag Race experience, the issue of race and the Drag Race fans, and what her new single Soak It Up is all about.
Monet X Change, with your RuPaul’s Drag Race experience now a bucket list check, do you think you made the absolute most of your time on Drag Race?
I think I did exactly what I wanted to do and that was to show the audience exactly who Monet X Change was.
Your drag mother Honey Davenport is a legendary New York City queen and a member of the House of Davenport (home to Season Two contender, the dearly departed Sahara Davenport and Season Seven/All Stars 3 finalist Kennedy Davenport). What lessons did Honey teach you that you were able to convey on the Drag Race runway?
I think that I learned how to have a good time from Honey. Honey knows how to do that and is always charismatic, and I think I get a lot of that from her. She would have rocked the hell out of a sponge dress too! (laughs).
You brought up the notorious sponge dress that has almost become a contestant on it’s own this year! We knew you created it as your initial challenge outfit, but it has definitely taken on a life of it’s own!
Let me tell you, at Drag Con this year so many people had their own versions of the sponge dress! It was amazing, I loved it! As for the dress, it was my really just own inception for that challenge, and it has just taken off. People are making their own dolls made of sponges, they’ve made sponge crowns, it has really become wild.
What happened on the show this season that we did not get to see that you may have been surprised that we did not get to watch happen as viewers?
I think maybe my interactions with Miz Cracker. We were literally always at each others stations and always together, and I don’t think a lot of that was shown. In terms of anything else, I feel like they really showed everything else. All of the stuff with the Vixen that I witnessed, everything.
One thing people are going to be not missing is your new single “Soak It Up”. Between the summer vibe feeling video and cameos by Bob the Drag Queen and Boomer Banks, you may have a summer hit on your hands. The girls of Season Ten are really putting out some strong musical material!
Thank you so much! First, Bob is a huge opponent of the sponge dress all together, he hated it. I told him that I was doing the video, and he was doing a rap in it and he would have to wear a sponge-something in the video. His response was “Monet, I’m not doing it” (laughs). He eventually did it and now that he has his own sponge leotard, he feels all sexy in it and I just told him, “I told you girl”.
I did Soak It Up because I wanted to do a song that was about me. Throughout the season, whether it was about my pussycat wigs, or the the sponges themselves, people had some not so nice things to say about them sometimes. I would say “well, like a sponge, I’m gonna soak all this stuff up. The positive and the negative and I am going to use it to be an even fiercer Monet X Change”. That is what the song is about, soaking up all the positive, the negative, and living your life to the fullest and being fierce, free and unbothered.
You mentioned soaking up the positive and the negative. With both in mind, do you think that there is a race issue within the drag community?
With the whole race thing, I see it this way. I don’t think RuPaul’s Drag Race has a race issue. I mean, in terms of the show, RuPaul’s Drag Race is probably the most racially diverse competition reality show ever aired. If you take a look at the contestants, so many of them are people of color; in Season Ten alone, half of us were people of color. You had five African American girls, you had Kalorie (Karbdashian), you had Yuhua (Hamasaki), it is so racially diverse in terms of the show. What gets racial about Drag Race is the fandom. You have people who are fans of the show that either come into your inboxes with either really nasty and rude and disgusting things to say in terms of race.
Do fans somewhat divide the cast racially as well?
Oh absolutely. Once the cast is revealed, you have people looking at the cast and seeing Aquaria, Blair St. Clair and Miz Cracker and Kameron, and assuming that they are going to win because they are the “skinny white girls with blonde hair”. I know why Miz Cracker is fierce, I have known her for years, I know how funny and talented she is. YOU don’t know that, you don’t know anything about these girls, because you have never seen the show. To pick those four girls as the ones that are going to do the best because of what they look like is really the issue. If you look at this Season, I won the mini challenge on the first episode and Mayhem (Miller) won the maxi challenge. Vixen and Asia (O’Hara) also had wins in the first few episodes. African American queens were statistically well in the first couple episodes, but they were the least followed on the show in terms of social media. I think there is a correlation between all that stuff and nuanced things that the fans may not even realize are happening, but they are.
What advice do you have for the Season Eleven girls heading into the workroom?
My only advice to them is to be authentically yourself. Fans can smell you being fake from a mile away. At the end of the day, your job and your goal is to let fans fall in love with you. The best way to do that is to be authentically you. They latch onto something real if you are able to do that. Then, when they see you at Drag Con, on television, or at a bodega in New York City, they get a real experience and they are able to grow and love you.
RuPaul's Drag Race starts the last lap of their season on June 7th 2018 on VH1 (check local listings). (Note: There will be no new episode on May 31st)