“The online election to determine this year’s Miss Congeniality was made null and void due to outside interference,” RuPaul announced on Thursday [June 28] during the finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10. “But unlike those other shady elections, we’re doing something about it.”
The host explained that each of the season 10 queens voted on which of their sisters deserved the title and last year’s Miss Congeniality, Valentina, joined the telecast from the Werk the World tour stop in Berlin to announce that NYC queen Monét X Change would be her successor.
The day after it was revealed, Monét hopped on the phone with Billboard after a viewing party in Newfoundland to talk about everything from her new role as Miss Congeniality, her upcoming YouTube series I Feel Skinny and how her lucky sponge could have potentially stopped Asia O’Hara’s butterfly reveal snafu from happening: “Sponges are definitely a good omen, girl, and when you alleviate your body of the sponge you let fortune take control.”
So first of all, congrats on Miss Congeniality. What does it mean to have that sort of validation from your sisters?
It puts more of a value on who I really am as a person. Now that the show is so big, some queens will come in thinking, “What are the fans gonna think, or how are people gonna think about this?” I did not go into that mindset — I went in, tried to be as honest about who I am as a person. And that’s laughing; that’s being able to take jokes about myself, and — as you know — make fun of other people, but in a silly way.
With the whole bot thing with online, the Miss Congeniality voting got kinda fucked up. So as you saw, we ended up having to vote amongst ourselves. And honestly, that’s how most pageants do it; the girls vote for Miss Congeniality. So I’m happy that my sisters think that I was very congenial and I was a sweetheart through and through, because that is really how I am in the world.
Can you speak more about this bot thing? What happened with the voting?
I mean, I don’t know, listen — I don’t f–k with technology. Apparently there was some type of interference. You know, it’s probably some 11-year-old kid on his grandmother’s iPad. And it just fucked up the goddamn vote, you know what I mean? I had jumped from, apparently, 100,000 to 800,000 [fan votes] in two seconds, to a big number like 18 million. So I think that Viacom and the powers that be realized that it was ridiculous and they did it the right way by letting the girls vote and I think that’s how it should be going forward always: the girls should vote for who should be Miss Congeniality.
Totally. May I ask who you voted for?
I voted for Monique Heart. I thought that Monique was always someone who wore her heart on her sleeve in the competition. And, you know, some of the show is very strenuous, and to have people like Monique and myself and Asia, who would just fill the room with energy because — yeah, we’re here to win $100,000 and make TV, but we’re also there to have fun. This is an experience that none of us will likely ever get to relive again, so why not relish in that moment and have fun as much as possible? And that’s what the three of us strived to do as much as possible while doing the show. And I think that showed to our other competing sisters and to the people at home.
Did you know that Asia O’Hara was gonna bring out a sponge during her finale performance?
I did not, girl! I gagged when she pulled out that sponge and she was soaking it up on stage and then she saw me sitting at the front and threw it at me and I picked it up. It was so cute that she did that.
Can we talk about that? She said that that sponge is good luck, and you went home when you didn’t have a sponge on you, correct?
And then she threw the sponge into the audience and we had butterflygate. Do you think the sponge could have saved the butterflies?
Sponges are definitely a good omen, girl, and when you alleviate your body of the sponge you let fortune take control. It’s the luck of the draw, girl.
What was it like being in the audience, watching your friend’s reveal go wrong?
Asia is a legendary pageant queen. She is known for pulling out these really intricate and crazy numbers that she has snatched crowns and trophies for. So I think that it was just the time and place and I guess the butterflies may have had a little stage fright and it didn’t go according to plan, but Asia is a very smart person. I think it was just a misstep and just some I’s weren’t dotted and some T’s weren’t crossed to make sure it would go over as well as she wanted it to.
I mean, personally had it been me, and the song was [Janet Jackson’s] “Nasty,” I would’ve done something a little more nastier — like I would’ve put a bucket of slime in my pussy and then do a cooter slammer and just have green ooze all over the stage. I mean that would’ve been real nasty.
That’s so good. Totally 360 here, but your season 10 sisters weren’t the only people that gave you validation. You tweeted that you had a phone call from your mother recently. Can you tell me about that?
Yes! I was filming some stuff for my new YouTube series I Feel Skinny and we were coming back from the shoot, and I missed a call from my mom. She doesn’t usually call me on weekdays, it’ll be the weekend. But yeah, she was just telling me about how in her group chat with her friends, she got this video that I did for Ru and everyone was like, “Do we know who this person is?” and she watched the video. And she was like, “Oh my God! That’s Kevin.” Even though I had told her, “Yeah mom, I’m doing RuPaul’s Drag Race on VH1,” I guess it just didn’t click on what it was. So then when she actually saw me in drag in this video, she started looking up the show, and she started reading-up about Monét X Change and all that stuff. So she told me she wants me to know that she’s proud of what I’m doing and that she loves me and I’m doing a good job. It was just a really sweet moment and sweet words to hear from my very conservative — my mom is like a spitfire, like a very straight shooter all at the same time. She does not mince words, so to hear her express her love for me so sweetly and so serenely, it was so genuine.
That’s beautiful — I’m glad you had that moment. I’m not going to make you rehash your beef with Azealia Banks, but I am curious: a year ago, you wouldn’t have been on her radar. Is it weird that you’re able to get into these beefs that news outlets cover?
You know, it is weird, but I think it’s good because often times certain people in our community don’t have the voices — or don’t have the verified check mark to do so, you know what I mean? So the fact that I can directly access Azealia Banks and call her out on her bullshit and be like, “Hey, so girl, we’ve loved and supported you for all these years, how dare you!” And I think I echoed what so many people in our community wanted to say to her and want her to see; but because they don’t have a little blue check mark on their profiles, she may not necessarily see it. So I am totally happy to represent the voices in our community as best as I know how. Now listen, I don’t always say the right thing, and I’m wrong a whole lot of the time, but when I am right, I’m happy to be a voice for our community.
You’re a classically trained singer and you released your debut single “Soak It Up.” Are you going to be following that up with more music?
Yes! I am starting to work on an EP that I’m very excited about. Music has been a part of my life for a very long time, so I’m very excited to have my audience see more facets of Monét which involve music. And not just necessarily pop or R&B or disco, but other genres. Different types of genres inspired me in high school and in middle school and in college so I’m happy to share those things with my supporters.
Do you have any other projects that are coming up? Maybe All Stars 4?
Listen, if RuPaul wants to call me right now, I would, without blinking or batting an eyelash. I would be game to go. So, please, RuPaul Andre Charles, if you happen to be on your Twitter, or your Instagram, or your Facebook right now, text me. You have my number. I don’t have yours. But I’m down!
I have a whole bunch of different YouTube series — what is the plural for series? Seri? I don’t know! Serieseses? Anyways, I have one called I Feel Skinny, where I do group workout classes in full drag because — well, Chelsea Handler is one of my biggest inspirations in life, and the part of her show that I really loved was how she would do things that we’re all curious about. Group work and classes is something that everyone has dabbled in, you always try to find the right one. So I just had an idea to just to do a whole bunch of them in drag, and it was a lot of fun. I did Crossfit and Bikram yoga in full drag. I’m excited to release that and to see how fans and supporters react to it.