Metro Weekly

Monique Heart: “I’m really bummed” that I left Drag Race early

Heart also offers frank advice for queens with limited funds: "If you don't have money, you probably shouldn’t go"

Monique Heart — Photo: VH1

At this point in the evolution of Rupaul’s Drag Race, contestants need more than just charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent to be declared America’s Next Drag Superstar. They also need to come prepared with more than one option for Snatch Game, and they need to pull the funds together to get their drag ready for prime time.

This week’s eliminated queen, Monique Heart, kindly reminded anyone who forgot that gowns, sequins, and wigs don’t come cheap. That didn’t stop her turning out more than one sickening look, but it was a constant reminder that, for those without the funds, Drag Race can be tough competition.

It’s no surprise that after six weeks of creating outfits from scratch and serving charisma for days that Monique’s energy started to drop. Then, off came her wig — figuratively, in her ill-prepared turn as Maxine Waters on Snatch Game, and literally, in her lip sync against The Vixen.

Monique’s fiercely funny commentary and perceptive reads will be missed on the show. But fear not: the self-proclaimed “triple threat glam girl” from Kansas City assures Metro Weekly that she’ll soon be sharing her wit — and that “ooh ah ah sensation” — in a one-woman show and from Pride stages everywhere.

METRO WEEKLY: We have to ask, do you wish you had stuck to doing Cookie Lyon for Snatch Game?

MONIQUE HEART: I kind of do, but I mean, I didn’t have the thought of not calling it Cookie Lyon, because that’s a copywritten character. I could have said it’s Taraji P., like Ben de La did with Maggie Smith, but that was not my thought, you know? [In the workroom] Bianca said that Maxine would be the best fit and I was like, you know what? People love her right now. I watched a lot of interviews of her, like on The Breakfast Club, where she’s spunky and she’s with it. She’s funny. And some of it, I can kind of do, for sure. “Reclaiming my time,” I should have used it a lot more, every time there was a little debacle, a clusterfuck, I should have said, “Reclaiming my time,” and reclaimed the Blue Ivy from Beyoncé because she was a horrible mom. You know, things like that.

But I think that you have to have that mindset going in. I tried to read Melania, which, the world has read Melania about being one of the oldest whores. They called her Head of State, and then when I did the joke, the joke didn’t land. I’m like, what the hell? Like, you know what I mean? RuPaul said you either have to get Snatch Game or you don’t get it, and I didn’t get it.

MW: It seems like one of the hardest challenges in Drag Race.

MONIQUE: It really is.

MW: What’s your background? Did you start as a club performer or in pageants or the ball scene?

MONIQUE: I started as a host. I started hosting my own show called Boy Bar and hosting charity bingos, and I started hosting Sunday Drag Brunches and it kind of morphed into that, and then I started performing. So I was a queen that would just show up, be pretty, get my money and just make people laugh, you know. That’s my background.

MW: How would you classify yourself now?

MONIQUE: I mean, I don’t feel like I need a category of queen to place myself in. And you know, it’s funny, we’re in a world of labels and trying to get rid of labels, but I really, sincerely don’t feel like you can tag me as just a one-stamp queen. I’m really bummed that I left early, because this following week is the week that the queens sing. Bitch, I can sing! Y’all already saw me dance. You know I would make you laugh. I feel like I’m an all-around, well-rounded entertainer.

MW: You hit on a really key issue on the show, which is that drag at this level is very expensive. How much do you think money matters in a competition like Drag Race?

MONIQUE: I’m gonna say at this point in the competition, if you don’t have money, you probably shouldn’t go. The reason that I went is because I know that I’m that girl. I mean, clearly, the first challenge was Drag on a Dime, and I made that fucking garment out of straw hats and covered them in playing cards. Clearly, I’m that girl, so I just do it. But if you are not that girl, I wouldn’t recommend it. Season 11, if you don’t have money, girl, just go home. Like, just don’t even embarrass yourself, especially if you know you can’t sew. I can make my own hair. I can do my make-up. I can make my own garment. I can do it all. I have made jewelry from nothing and turned it into something. If you cannot finagle, I wouldn’t tell you to do it.

And to be honest? As a contestant who had to do it, it’s not the best. You lose so much energy, because you’re just trying to keep up. And it wears you out. You’re losing out on sleep, which means you’re not well-rested, which means that your brain isn’t fully-functioning. I would tell whoever’s signing up, give me a phone call, if you need a bill paid or something. I would love to start a MoMo fund to give girls an opportunity who have talent but maybe don’t have the resources. That’s something I sincerely want to do. Because there’s so many amazing entertainers out there that just — you need money. Girl, you just need to have money to look like you have money.

METRO WEEKLY: Now that you have a platform from the show, what is Monique Heart’s message for America?

MONIQUE: That this ain’t the end, honey. Just to continue. Latrice Royale, she said this a long time ago, that you have to let the world know that it’s okay to fall and to make mistakes as long as you get up, look sickening, and make them eat it, honey. And that’s what it is. Y’all saw my biggest fall, and I was depressed for eight months. But it is what it is, clearly seeing now that not only America but the world is in love with me, they’re attuned to what I have to say. They want to hear me comment on different things and speak on subjects and they know that I speak truth and love, so, that’s it.

MW: We’re heading into Pride Season. Where can fans find Monique Heart?

MONIQUE: You can find me on Instagram, my YouTube channel — IAMMONIQUEHEART — we’ll be posting more videos, and hopefully soon, you will see me in a city near you doing my one-woman show. Also I will be on daytime television, real, real soon. So, see you then.

MW: What’s the name of your one-woman show?

MONIQUE: My one-woman show, the MoMo Show. Actually, no, that’s the show that me and Monét Xchange are working on. Me and Monét are hysterical together, so, we’re totally like, we need to make the most money and do that. My one-woman show, I haven’t thought of a name. I am debuting my show at Kansas City Pride. I’m really excited. It’s a whole live show. Really excited. I haven’t thought about a name. But I do need to get on that. Get the flyer, get the graphic, buy your tickets, get the VIP. We’ll pop bottles, I’ll pray for you, I’ll make you laugh, I’ll make you cry. It’s gonna be a good time, honey.

Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 10 airs Thursdays at 8pm on VH1.

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André Hereford covers arts and entertainment for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at ahereford@metroweekly.com. Follow him on Twitter at @here4andre.

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