HIIIIIEEEEEEEE. We have something ridiculously exciting coming up this week, Australia. Yeah yeah, the federal election blah blah blah politics whatever.
No, we’re talking about ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons‘ finally hitting ‘Straya. It’s going to be extravaganza of eleganza, and the queens are coming to the sunburned country to battle it the hell out and lip sync for their gaddamn lives, hunties!
Hosted by RuPaul‘s right-hand woman Michelle Visage, the show includes winners and ya faves from the show, including Jinkx Monsoon, Adore Delano, Sharon Needles, Alaska Thunderfuck, Detox, Manila Luzon, Ivvvyyyyyyy Winterssssss and Violet Chachki.
The first city they’re hitting is Melbourne, and your fave gals touched down on our dusky shores at midday today:
In preparation for the greatest night of her life, PEDESTRIAN.TV News Editor Chloe Sargeant spoke to season 5 winner, the illustrious Jinkx Monsoon, about the tour.
Jinkx spoke about all the theatre work she’s been doing since her season of Drag Race finished – she played Velma Von Tussle in a Seattle production of ‘Hairspray’, won a ‘Best Acting’ award for her performance as Hedwig in ‘Hedwig & The Angry Inch’, and her show ‘The Vaudevillians’ has played in theatres all over the world. She’s been kicking ass and living her best life, imho.
We chatted while her tour bus was stopped in Saskatoon on the way to Edmonton in Canada; her accent immediately disarmed me purely because it is just so – damn – charming. She explained why this massive tour has been so different to other drag shows:
“Not only is it a travelling show, it’s a highly produced, heavily curated show.
So it’s not just drag queens doing solo numbers like you’d see in a drag bar, we bring a huge amount of production value to it with visual effects, lighting effects, backup dancers, we bring the best of our costumes, we bring the best of our talents. The reason we put it up in a rock concert venue is because it simply could not fit in a gay bar, you know? [laughs]”
Personally, I cannot image what it’s like to spend months on a tour bus with some of the feistiest, fiercest drag queens in the world. I asked Jinkx if it had been tense, considering she’s touring with queens she competed against (including Detox, who she sent home in what this writer personally believes to be one of the greatest lip syncs Drag Race has ever seen), or whether they’re all friends now. She giggled at my question, as if the concept of tension or hatred between drag queens is impossible:
“[laughs] Oh yeah – I always say that once the filming stopped and it was over, it didn’t even take a moment. There was no animosity, we all knew what we got ourselves into, and we all brought our best to the competition.
But as soon as the competition was over, that just became my sisterhood, y’know? Something really bonds you when you do Drag Race.”
Jinkx has been to Australia a handful of times before, on the Fringe circuit to Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane with ‘The Vaudevillians’, and she loves it here. Not only for the theatre, but also because she’s seemingly adored meeting people:
“[I] went all over the Australia; I love it, it’s amazing there. I love meeting all the Australian drag queens; they’re fantastic.
And I have to say, your boys are super, super cute.”
But our chat wasn’t all about success, lip syncing for your life and meeting cute boys – when I spoke to Jinkx, it was mere days after the tragic and fatal shooting in gay nightclub ‘Pulse’ in Orlando, about which she posted an impassioned letter on Facebook. Despite the fact she lost a friend in the incident, she spoke bravely and eloquently about the incident and what it has been like being on tour while the world grieved:
“It’s difficult because the show’s about joy and laughter and celebrating the drag culture and about being out and loud and proud. And sometimes it’s hard sometimes to summon that joy when you feel like utter shit because of the way the world seems to be going right now.
Even thought we’ve gained so much progress, it still feels like we’re so far away from being safe in our homes, our own nightclubs and in our own community.
But that’s also why we bolster the strength in each other. We know how important it is that we remain a beacon. We’ve got to find the strength within ourselves to get up on that stage, and show everyone that this is a time to unite as the community and continue to make our voices heard, and say that we will not be threatened into submission, we will not be frightened into not being ourselves.”
She explained with passion that an attack on LGBTQIA people is an attack on the entire global community, saying,
“The attack was on all of us. We continue to go on stage to show people that we can’t let the joy and the laughter and the love in our community be stamped out by anyone.”
Her words are a timely reminder that despite drag shows being a bright, joyful, comical party, drag began and remains a display of the LGBTQIA community being loud and proud of their sexuality. Drag queens are a beacon of hope for happiness and acceptance, and often bridge the gap for those once prejudiced against homosexuality – I mean, haven’t y’all seen ‘Priscilla: Queen of the Desert’?!
We may not allow same-sex marriage yet, but we’ve got a loud and proud LGBTQIA community here in Australia, and helluva lot of allies. And this queer writer, for one, is so excited to see those luminous queens do their thing.
Tickets are here, if you want to enrich your life by witnessing this bloody magical show: RUPAUL BOTS.
Just remember to bring your Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent, hunty!
Now, sashay away.
Photo: Frank Hoensch / Getty.