'Drag Race' Star Monique Heart Talks 'All Stars 4' & Plans For an EP: 'My Music Will Completely Crossover'
One thing we know about Monique Heart is that she’s a natural-born director. During an acting challenge on season 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, she memorably insisted on yelling “cut” while filming scenes, sending judge Michelle Visage -- who was the actual director for the challenge -- into a laughing fit.
It turns out that Heart’s penchant for direction also makes her a natural editor. Throughout this interview, she provided several pointers, like “write that” and “put that in all capital letters.” We obliged.
Something else we know about Heart? She is determined to prove herself. After finishing in eighth place on season ten, the queen returned to the workroom in less than a year to film All Stars 4. She quickly proved worthy of the redemption: she won the first challenge of the season and was one of the four competitors still standing in last night's (Feb. 15) season finale, narrowly missing a top two finish.
Billboard caught up the queen on Thursday (Feb. 14), the day before the finale, to talk about her run in the competition, her advice to the new batch of drag queens making their Drag Race debut and her plan to leave a mark in the music industry: “You will not pigeonhole my music. My music will completely crossover, it will be completely successful.”
What were your thoughts when you first entered the workroom this season? Did you feel like you could really win this or were you nervous with the competition?
I knew I could win season ten and the only reason I didn't get there is because the Butterfly Killer had a better mermaid costume. That’s the only reason I didn't get to the finale last time. This time, it was different. You clearly saw that I walked in looking like money and the bitch delivered. Make sure you put that in there too, that Butterfly Killer part. Write that.
You had some incredible moments during All Stars 4. Which is the one that you are the most proud of?
All of the ones that I was robbed. Those are my most proud moments. Write that. I mean, the brown cow was stunning, you know? I loved my Josephine Baker even though Michelle Visage said no to the thing. I tried to really give a strong, beautiful, black representation honoring our culture. It bugs me that they're not living for it, but the fandom sure did.
On the show, you mentioned that you attended and led a gay conversion therapy camp. How do you go from that to being in the top four of the gayest competition in the world? What has that journey been like?
Beautiful. The kindness and mercy of God shows you that the bullshit that the gay community has been taught, through the nature and character of God, is clearly a lie. That He really is tender and compassionate, that when He says He'll never leave you, obviously He meant that. So, I can look at my life and say, "Yeah, I was trying to pray the gay away,” but clearly it wasn't happening. I came out, and He was there with me from the beginning surrounding me around good friends. I came out in a safe space. I got to develop my drag in a safe space. Then He put me in Drag Race, and then He brought me back. You cannot tell me that is not God. You cannot look at my life and tell me that I am not blessed. God loves His gay children. God loves Monique Heart. Stunning.
I think I know the answer to this, but out of the top two, who are you rooting for?
Monique Heart. Write that.
You released “Brown Cow Stunning,” which is a total bop. Do you plan on releasing more music?
I totally plan on releasing more music. We're actually finishing up my one woman show. Shangela said, "You have a lot on your plate, just focus, focus, focus." So, we finish the one woman show this week, and then I jump into the studio to do an EP. I just left Hollywood doing some filming for a new television show. I'm really, really excited. We're auditioning for a key roles in some actual films. I'm really excited now that she's doing it.
Would you say the music you're going to record will have the same sound as "Brown Cow Stu --"
No, no, no. It will sound nothing like anything drag-related. You will not pigeonhole my music. My music will completely crossover, it will be completely successful. It will be a bop like "Brown Cow Stunning,” but it will truthfully be an alternative R&B, gospel, jazz, funk EP.
Who are some of your musical inspirations for that?
James Brown. The church. SZA, H.E.R, James Blake, S. G. Lewis. I love Kendrick Lamar. I love Travis Scott.
It'll be well rounded, but it's going to be completely beautiful. We need to cross over and really make our mark in history. I feel like the gay community, in art and culture, we have been exploited and people have made money off of us. And I feel like out gay people -- 'cause there's tons of ones in Hollywood that aren't out that have made great music -- but as far as people that are out, I feel like our music has not transcended the club, and we need to do that because we are the shit. Amen. The gay community is the shit. Like, Jesus put us here because we are the what? The shit. We're the extra. What God did not give to Adam and Eve, he gave to us, and that's why we are what? Fabulous.
We just need to completely transcend it over, and I know it's an uphill climb. It's a battle, especially being one that participates in the beautiful world of drag illusion art. You know, the world's going to try to pigeonhole us, but they won't, 'cause Jesus is real. I'm anointed, and I'm talented as well, just watch. Sit back and be blessed.
I love that. And how you're saying it's an uphill climb, it really is. But I do think we're very close to that point.
Very, very that. I mean, Aja is making moves in this, do you know what I mean? I mean this bitch is killing the game. And I just want to do that. I want to be a little bit of Aja in the music game, a little bit of Shangela on television. Put it like this: my name -- this will be the drag queens. It will go RuPaul, Lady Bunny, Alyssa Edwards, Shangela, Monique Heart. There you go.
What else do you have on the horizon?
Well, we've talked about music. Like, you said that. TV I have, you know, non-disclosures. NDAs are real, so you can't talk about that until they release it. But stepping away from reality television and really crossing over into mainstream -- you know, TV sitcoms, NBC, WB. You know, just trying to get on real, you know? I mean, Mona Scott can totally put me on Love & Hip Hop if she wants to, you know? I can get one of them together. Mr. Bravo, what's his name? Andy Cohen, he needs somebody to get these housewives together, cause you know they’re a little out of order.
What is your advice to the season eleven girls as they start to come into the public consciousness?
First of all, I want to say to the seven black girls: congratulations and job well done. And then just to all the girls of color: super job well done. And to all of the girls who have made it: stunning. Now, here you go. Starting off with the girls of color. Don't take their shit to heart. These hoes don't give a damn. Their opinions don't mean shit, and that's for all the girls. Amen.
I will also tell them to have a back-up plan. Yes, it's true, you can get a new booking fee at a different price point and yes, you can pick your other bags, but let us not be foolish with it. Because honey, they may book you today, and fire you in the same breath. Amen. Let us not be disrespectful, let us be professional.
Also, remember that if you are blessed with this opportunity, and girl, just cause you think you're hot, at the end of the day you are a man in a dress. And a new hot bitch will come and take your spot real quick, you know what I mean? Just to remind the girls again, THEY’RE ALREADY AUDITIONING FOR TWELVE. (Editor’s note: Heart requested that be in capital letters.) So, bitch don't put your shit too high, because season twelve will be right behind you. Very that.
Watch Monique Heart's music video for "Brown Cow Stunning" below.