She’s A Winner, Baby: Jinkx Monsoon Reacts to Snatching the ‘All Stars 7’ Crown

She’s A Winner, Baby: Jinkx Monsoon Reacts to Snatching the ‘All Stars 7’ Crown

After 12 episodes of high-stakes and surprisingly low-drama competition, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars season 7 finally came to a close on Friday (July 29). In a lip sync smackdown for the crown, finalists Monét X Change and Jinkx Monsoon battled it out to Katy Perry’s “Swish Swish” to earn the title of Queen of All Queens — ultimately, Jinkx emerged victorious.

It’s an ending that makes sense to most fans — all throughout All Stars 7, Jinkx proved to be a fierce competitor, winning more challenges than any of the other queens present and easily attaining her spot in the finale. Whether it was her phenomenal Snatch Game run as Judy Garland, or a viral dance challenge that saw her hilariously teach us to make a peanut butter sandwich, Monsoon made sure that she was 100 percent herself for every step of the competition.

Billboard caught up with Jinkx, who is currently touring in Australia with fellow drag star BenDeLaCreme for their show An Evening With Jinkx Monsoon & BenDeLaCreme, about taking home the top prize, how she prepared for her final lip sync, and the importance of staying true to her brand at all times.

Jinkx, you did it! You won All Stars 7! How are you feeling after seeing the episode?

Thank you! It’s pretty surreal, I won’t lie — I’m in Australia on tour with BenDeLaCreme, and we were doing our makeup for our show last night, and we had to take a pause so we could pull up the episode. And then we just had to go back to doing our makeup and putting on our show last night — now it’s 6 a.m.!

That’s really beautiful that you got to be with Ben when that happened. 

Yeah, it’s actually really funny because when I was on season 5, DeLa and I hosted a bunch of viewing parties together in Seattle, but for the actual crowning, I was in New York so they could film our reaction. So, I went through the whole thing sharing the experience with DeLa, and then wasn’t with her the night that I was crowned. This time, it’s the exact opposite — I went through the whole season on my own, and at the finale, we got to celebrate together. We love it. 

I was going to ask you how you were going to celebrate, but it sounds like you’re booked and busy. 

[Laughs.] Booked and busy, that’s the mantra. We have a day off in a couple of days, so we’re just floating this celebration, essentially. That’s one thing you learn as an adult, is to simply float your celebrations to when you have time. 

Before we get into the episode, I have to ask — I’ve been obsessed with the fact that you released a cover of ELO’s “Strange Magic,” because it is something that no drag queen other than you would do. Why “Strange Magic,” what about that song made you want to cover it?

Yeah, Ginger Minj and I rehearsed the show Xanadu, and were doing this touring production of the show where Ginger and I played the wicked sisters. “Strange Magic” was one of my favorite songs from the soundtrack, and I already love ELO. I don’t know, it was the one cover I wanted to do on this new album we’re working on, and it’s one of those things where you hear a song and it checks all of the right boxes. It just needed to be a part of my project, and now it is!

This was clearly a blockbuster season for you — you won five of 11 challenges. What was happening in your head as you racked up wins, especially in challenges like the viral dance challenge that were perhaps outside of your wheelhouse?

I think one of the things that I learned being a fan of Drag Race, as well as a participant, is that Ru is always telling the girls to find their way into a challenge. Like, “How does this fit into the way you do things?” So the TikTok challenge is a pretty good example of me applying that lesson — I played to my strengths, and it’s kind of what I planned on doing the whole season. 

Another thing Ru is always saying is “Don’t overcomplicate things, trust what you do well.” So… I don’t know, this was really a chance for me to show off how well I’ve been watching the show for the last nine years!

The last time we spoke, you talked about how you had your strategy plotted out and ready to implement from the first episode — looking back now, obviously with the crown on your head, what would you say worked about your strategy? Is there anything that didn’t work?

Ooh, interesting. What worked … what worked? I guess all of it? [Laughs.]

You know, I think another big lesson I got from season 5 was — when I hit my stride mid-way through the season, Ru said something to me on the runway like, “If you’re gonna do your brand, make sure you’re always doing it at 100%.” Since season 5, and in all of my work with DeLa, we’ve always examined every joke from every angle, and aim to find the best way to present it to the audience so that the audience gets what you’re selling immediately, and knows how to watch you, basically. You give your audience the tools on how to watch what you’re doing within the first five minutes of your show. So, I had to do that with every challenge within the first five seconds. How do I convey the angle immediately so you know how best to receive it? And I think that worked well for me!

As for what didn’t work — braiding a dress together. 

All of this, as we know, came down to a series of lip-syncs. Ru told you that this would be decided by a Lip Sync LaLaPaRuza at the end of the season — was there anything special you were doing to hone your lip sync skills ahead of the match-ups in the finale?

Well, I think it’s no secret that most of what I do is live singing and stand-up comedy and theatrical vignettes — not necessarily lip-syncing. But, I do think that for every drag queen, no matter where you end up as a performer, it all kind of starts with lip syncing. I had many years in the bars doing lip sync numbers before I started singing live exclusively, and I always think of lip-syncing as a drag queen’s bread and butter, no matter what kind of career you have. I’m lip syncing every day of my life, when I’m listening to music and walking to the grocery store, doing the dishes, all of that. It’s just something you’re constantly doing as a drag queen. 

We’ve come to the end, you got $200,000 — if you’re at all willing to share, is there anything in particular you’re looking to use that money for?

I hate to be boring, I do … but I’m almost 35, I’m a homeowner, and there’s a lot of plumbing repairs I’ve been putting off [Laughs.] But also, my husband and I got married during the pandemic, and we’re still going through the throes of his immigration to America, because he’s British. We’ve had these kind of placeholder rings — we weren’t going to get the forever rings until he was able to move to America. So, when we move in together, I think my splurge with the money is gonna go towards getting our forever rings.

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