On Thursday night, RuPaul’s Drag Race brought back the time-honored classic Drag Race challenge: Snatch Game! After performing in the now-infamous reading mini-challenge, the queens were brought onstage impersonating their chosen celebrities, trying their hardest to make the guest contestants laugh, followed by a mermaid fantasy runway.
A number of queens rose to the occasion, including Aquaria, whose spot-on impression of first lady Melania Trump earned her the coveted win. A few queens, however, missed the mark; after a controversial discussion on the runway, The Vixen and Monique Heart found themselves in the bottom two. Lip syncing to Carly Rae Jepsen’s pop banger “Cut to the Feeling,” Monique Heart couldn’t remember the words to the song, giving The Vixen a win and ultimately booting herself from the competition.
Heart talked to Billboard the day after her elimination about her fiery argument with The Vixen in Untucked, the reality of performing political drag in conservative Kansas City and more.
How are you feeling after rewatching your elimination last night?
You know, I’m doing a lot better than what I actually thought I would feel. I would say before, for the past six to eight months, I’ve been depressed because I knew the outcome, and also I knew how hard I worked, and I knew that it would be seen. People … across the world have seen me and they’re like, “Oh my gosh, they’re sleeping on you, you could totally win,” and just knowing that I didn’t, that’s what kinda hurt. But I mean, it is what it is. The world knows my name. I may not have won RuPaul’s Drag Race, but I did win the world, honey. I’mma get my check.
I wanted to ask about the lip sync — on your way out of the show, you owned up to not knowing the words. What were you thinking during that lip-sync?
Oh, bitch, I was not home. I was not present, no one was there, the house was empty. I was gone, just literally out of my body. I think the last thing I do remember of the lip sync, I … I remember trying not to kick Vixen with my cartwheel. I do remember that moment. That’s why it was so awkward, because I saw her coming and I said, “Oh crap, I’m gonna kick her in the face,” and I didn’t want to do that. [Laughs] So I did that awful cartwheel. I just … kept going, “Jesus, get me through this so I can go home.” I was crushed, I was wrecked.
In my personal opinion, I don’t think it should have been me in the bottom two. At first, I thought they didn’t want another Season 9 elimination with Asia — she was wearing her mask. Her costume was cheap but … I mean, whatever. I’m just saying Asia’s Snatch Game was worse than mine, however her costume was better than mine. At that level of the competition, with everyone who’s in the competition, it’s real thick and it gets nit-picky. So it’s like, “Monique, you’re in the bottom because your costume sucks. Now hopefully, you can slay Vixen and send her home.” Well, I wasn’t ready because I stayed up working on this damn costume, sorry about it.
You were lip syncing against your friend, The Vixen. You guys seemed to have a close bond, and then this episode you had that very angry confrontation in Untucked. What did it feel like to have that fight, and where are you two at today?
That’s my best friend and that is my bitch. She is my sis, at the end of the day, that is my sister. As soon as we were done with the lip sync, they didn’t show this part, but I walked right on over and I hugged her. Before we talked or anything, I hugged her. That is my sister. But in that moment, I still thought she was bogus as fuck. There is no way in the world that I am going to be your friend and then lie to you and tell you that you should stay when you were awful! Done and done! I still felt the same way, and if RuPaul asked me that question now, I’m still gonna say “The Vixen.” You know what I mean? It was The Vixen!
Well truthfully, I wish I would’ve said Asia … actually, I really do. I was going to say Asia, to be very honest, but I didn’t want Asia to go home without me actually having the opportunity to beat her. I wanted to send her home in a lip sync. That’s what I wanted, that’s what I thought the producers were going to make happen. Me and Asia would’ve had that final moment. I thought that would’ve been perfect from what Reddit and everyone else was saying they wanted. That’s the lip sync the people want! Bitch, that would’ve been epic.
Another thing that you talked about a lot on the show, especially in this episode, is that you had to constantly put together your outfits on the spot. Did that ever impede your performance in the challenges?
Yes! It for sure took away from the focus. Girls got to go home at the end of the day and go over their words, relax, rest, sleep. There was not a night that — no, there was one night, where I went home and literally laid on the bed to work on something, and I passed the fuck out. Like, I was just so exhausted. I stayed up every night working on something just to make sure that if they called us, it was in a place that was all ready, or it was workable. I worked on wigs, I only had two pairs of shoes the whole time, which Raja and Raven have been reading me for. But those rhinestoned shoes, I came into the competition finishing them before I walked into the Werk Room the next day. It is what it is, girl.
This week, you talked about how being political in Kansas City is hard because it’s dangerous for you as a black gay person to do that. What is it like working as a black drag queen in a place that’s not friendly to black and gay people?
[Laughs] It’s really not [friendly]! Girl, you know … right before I left for the shooting, during that time I remember that the KKK had a big protest and things were getting crazy, tensions were very high back in August and September. Right before I left, that weekend, there was supposed to be a protest rally at the fountain on The Plaza, which is around where I worked. So me going and doing something super political in a place where it is not safe to do so … at my shows, it is 85 percent straight white women, you know what I mean? So, first of all, their turnout where they let loose and get tipsy, they kind of go away from their traditional values and have fun for the moment. So, for me, to do something overtly political just to kind of shake you and make you go “Oh, that’s what’s really going on in the world at this time,” for me, it would not be beneficial. Because I need to make sure that I can pay my bills.
So what I try to do is instead of doing something political, I’m gonna take a funny moment and then make you think about it. Whether it’s me tying it to men who have a small penis, and how we have small-d**ked motherfuckers out there that try to control things … you can connect things and make it an educational moment where people get to laugh and think at the same time. People love to say, “We want change, we want to bring change,” but how many people are actually willing to live in that uncomfortable place of tension in order to create change? It’s that type of thing. I also think in order to do political drag that shifts minds and hearts, you need to have a budget! People will at least stop and look because it looks interesting or amazing or the visual is grabbing you. And I am the queen to say that you don’t need money to work all this out, but if you want to change the masses, you kinda need some production value.
Now you moved to Kansas City for seminary school, but dropped out to study hair. On the show, though, it seemed as though you were still very in touch with your spirituality. What is your relationship like to spirituality being a gay man and a drag queen?
Can I kiss you right now? Because you said the language right, you said “spiritual” and not “religious.” I am very spiritual. You know, I will say that … it’s better than it’s ever been before. I rely on scripture more than people think I should because of some of the scripture that talks about homosexuality and all of these scriptures that have been twisted throughout time to use as tools of manipulation. However, I know that God sees me, and he wants his kids to really know him for him. And I feel like a lot of times, people run to God because they just … we just don’t want to feel pain or feel any of this shit. You ever seen Westworld? Because there’s a quote in there where one of there where a character says to his creator, this old white dude, “Why would you give me that vision or that dream of me losing my son when that’s not real?” And he says, “It’s from the hardships that the best stories are built.” So, I feel like the beauty of God is that he will never leave you. The only time we feel that is when we choose to not believe the truth that he was there.
So while I feel like coming out is hard, when you come out and you survive, and you have the ability to know who you are, that means you can continue to fight and make this world better. When I was in seminary school, I would pray “God, on my back may a generation run.” That means to plow — no pun intended — and create a way for these kids to come through and run. That means my story might be hard, but that’s fine because just like Jesus stood up in the middle of the boat when everything was going wrong around him and said, “Peace, be still,” I try to do the same thing. I get to love and encourage. I get to really allow love to trump hate. I really get to allow light to trump darkness. It’s in that place of tension when you really get to know God.
That’s beautiful. So now that you’re off the show, who of the remaining queens are you rooting for?
Oh, god. My bitches that I want to win are … probably Monet, Asia and Aquaria. Those would be my top three at the moment.
And finally, before I let you go, who would you say is your favorite local queen from Kansas City?
My favorite local queen? Moltyn Decadence. Look them up, Moltyn Decadence, they make all my clothes now that I have money. They’re my big sister, they were the ones who really helped me. I did get to borrow some stuff from them for the show, but they’re kind of skinny and small, so there’s only so much shit you can borrow when you’re bigger than them. They’re the one who inspired me to be that girl. Kansas City girls are showgirls, and we are true entertainers, we want to give you whatever fantasy we’re feeling in that moment. We just really give you like, “Oh my gosh, bitch that’s man? You’re lying.” Yes, bitch that’s a man! We’re very that. We’re those girls, and we can do it all.