'Drag Race' Winner Monét X Change On Being First-Ever Black 'All Stars' Winner: 'It's Beautiful To Me'
When Monét X Change entered the RuPaul’s Drag Race workroom for All Stars 4, she was confident she could win thanks to a pep talk from fellow NYC queen and season eight Drag Race winner Bob the Drag Queen.
“I wasn't intimidated by the competition because Bob really taught me a great deal about self-confidence,” X Change tells Billboard. “He taught me, ‘Girl, when you through that workroom, you won.’ That's the mentality that I had walking in.”
It turns out: he was right. Monét ending up winning All Stars 4, alongside Trinity the Tuck in the series’ first-ever double crowning. While the decision to have two winners has been met with controversy among fans, X Change is thrilled that her and Trinity both have the platform that comes with the title.
“Of course all the fans are up in arms, and they think the only way to have a resolution for the season is having one winner,” the star tells Billboard. “But I think that it is a great opportunity for both of us. It gives us both the resources to do what we want to do with the win, the title, and the crown -- whether that is just going to KFC and buying a house and having some kids if we want to.”
Billboard talked to Monét about what it means to be the first black All Stars winner, her new Beyoncé-inspired visual album and being invited onstage at Kacey Musgraves' L.A. concert to celebrate her victory: “It's beautiful to have straight allies who are loud and proud about supporting gay and queer people and really loving us for who we are.”
Billboard: You are one of the first two queens to be crowned winner of the same season. What does that mean to you?
Monét X Change: I think that it's great. At the end of the day, Trinity and I both got the same thing from this, from All Stars, and I think it just gives us both the resources to do whatever we want to do with the crown and the title and the resources that come with that. So, I think it's great. I mean, ego would have you be like, "No, I wanna be the only one. I want it to just be me." But, I'm choosing to look at it outside of ego, and just be grateful that I am having the chance of being the first chocolate All Stars winner.
What does that mean to you -- being the first black All Stars winner?
It's amazing and it's beautiful to me. I think that it just reflects more of what the drag community looks like. Drag is made up of people of so many different colors -- black, purple, yellow, green, pink, beige, fluorescent beige. Everyone is represented. Everyone's in drag. The fact that I'm the first chocolate All Star is beautiful to me and hopefully as we see more All Stars, we will start to represent more of what the drag community looks like at large.
What do you intend to do as the winner of All Stars?
My goal is to make drag like a regular thing for people in the straight world. Why aren't drag queens at the Grammys? We should be at these places and I want to look up in five years and it become a place that drag queens are on these red carpets with celebrities, cause we're doing the same hard and devoted work, and we should be treated as such. We have to be bold and be proud of what drag is cause honestly, I think the world needs more fucking drag. It truly does.
On the show, you spoke about young gay kids who might be sneaking around their house to tune into Drag Race to see themselves in you. Growing up, what kind of representation do you remember seeing?
Queer as Folk was the first time that I can remember looking at the TV and seeing gay men. I remember having to sneak around cause Queer as Folk would come on every Sunday night, I think at 10 o'clock, and my bedtime was 10 o'clock. I would have to be in my room, have the door halfway cracked so I could hear if anyone was coming, and have the TV volume on one, so that no one could hear fucking Brian Kinney moaning 'cause he's getting a blow job in the bathroom. So that was my experience of trying to figure out what this gay thing was.
Some kids are doing that with Drag Race and it sucks and it's really unfortunate, but it's kind of a rite of passage. We've all been there, every gay man has been there sneaking shit. It sucks right now, but you're gonna learn from it and then soon you're gonna be pumping down your block, or your neighborhood, or wherever you are, living your dreams. But sneak around if you have to for now.
Naomi Smalls took a lot of heat for sending Manila Luzon home, but you had chosen her for elimination as well. I know there was tension, as she had chosen to eliminate you at one point as well. What is your relationship like?
I've not spoken to Manila. I forgive, I don't forget. I am not mad at Manila at all. We are all aware that this is a TV show and it is what it is. Sometimes you win and sometimes you don't. Fans need to realize that no one is sitting at home mad, bitter, angry, or confused. No one. Well maybe Gia, but no one else. [Laughs]
You just released a visual EP, Unapologetically. How would you describe your sound?
I think that my sound is really representative of the lower-voiced singers out there. Like the real baritones, you know what I'm saying? I wanted to make an album that sounds like the other songs in my shuffle queue, which were the people like Beyoncé and people like H.E.R. Like SZA and Sylvester. I wanted to make music that makes me happy.
Kacey Musgraves brought you and Trinity on stage at her L.A. concert after you won. What was that like?
That was so cool. Kacey Musgraves. I didn't know how much of an LGBTQIA+LMNOP advocate she was, and she is so sweet. She is so kind. And, she welcomed us to be at her concert. It was like, so unexpected. It's beautiful to have straight allies who are loud and proud about supporting gay and queer people and really loving us for who we are. Especially drag queens. People love to shove drag queens in the corner, 'cause we might be a little weird and crazy, but Kacey Musgraves is like, "No, fuck that, come on my stage." And it was beautiful.
Maybe she’ll take you on tour with your new EP?
Oh, hello. Child, let me open up for Kacey Musgraves. It's a wrap. I would be up for that.