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Three of the biggest stars in drag, Jinkx Monsoon, Monet X Change and Trinity The Tuck, talk about breaking into the mainstream with massive stage and TV success, discovering themselves through drag and how they intend to use their platforms to give back to queer communities. 

Its a warm Christchurch night when we meet three of Drag Races biggest success stories: Jinkx Monsoon, Monet X Change and Trinity The Tuck, who have come to New Zealand together on the Legends tour following the success of Drag Races All Stars, All Winners season – which cast only previous Drag Race winners.

The thing about going back to an All Stars is that you have toured with these girls, so the repartee is there. It makes things a little bit more comfortable because you know them and you can banter with them,” Trinity tells us, confirming, I would totally do it again!”

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Despite Trinitys gushing, it was Jinkx who ultimately won All Winners, and, at our meet and greet, is being treated like the biggest star in the room. A local queen supporting act even tells us that Jinkx has her own dressing room, while Monet and Trinity share!

Their success on Drag Race has led to huge opportunities for the three, but it is undeniable that her star turn has set Jinkx on a path that could see her become the biggest star that Drag Race has ever produced.

Jinkx has been cast as the villain in the new series of Dr. Who by legendary gay TV creator Russell T Davies (Queer As Folk, Its a Sin), and as much as we might want to ask her all about it, she is quick to remind us, Im contractually not allowed to talk about that.”

What we do know is that Jinkx will be rubbing shoulders with other queer stars such as Nouri Gatwa (who will be the first black actor to play Dr. Who), Heartstopper star Yasmin Finney and Harry Potter actress Miriam Margoyles – and is rumoured to be playing the shows first musical villain.

In a statement, Russell T Davies tells us, In a galaxy of comets and supernovas, here comes the biggest star of all. Jinkx Monsoon is on a collision course with the TARDIS, and Doctor Who will never be the same again.” He adds that Jinkx’s presence makes the whole world of Doctor Who wider and richer and deeper and better.”

The All Stars, All Winners season also changed the game for Monet X Change, who wowed audiences by singing live opera, as she does on the Legends tour.

While performing at last years Edinburgh Fringe Festival, she told their magazine,
“Since I did that operatic performance on All Stars, people have been excited to hear me sing. To me, it’s so wild to see people responding in such a big way to classical music because, growing up and taking lessons and getting my degree in it, I never thought that people would be so excited to hear a bass-baritone sing.”

Following the All Winnerssuccess, she was even cast as the Duchess of Krakenthorp in the Minnesota Opera’s production of The Daughter of the Regiment.

It was so exhilarating to get to see my two loves – opera and drag – coming together. I hadn’t done a role or been back in that world since 2013, so I was nervous going in. But when I got the chance to do it, I found myself dusting off my old music books, using all those skills that I learned so long ago – and activating them and being a good little musician,” Monet said.

Jinkx was also invited to star on stage, fulfilling a childhood dream of starring as Mama Morton in Chicago on Broadway.

She told thrillist.com, If you are someone who sings and acts and performs and dresses up, you probably have some aspirations for Broadway… My Broadway debut feels like some kind of magical spell I cast a long time ago thats finally coming to fruition.”

This attitude is shared by all three of the girls.

Trinity tells us she loves touring because, I would spend my money on travel, but this way, I get brought to these places for work, so that’s even better!”

I never thought, as a little kid from a small town in Alabama, that I would ever get to do what I’m doing now. If you had told me in high school that this was gonna be my life, I would never have believed you,” she says humbly.

Even without the international travel and diverse career opportunities, Monet concludes that drag is still her dream job.

“I was so content just doing drag in New York City, and had I never got on Drag Race, I would still be doing drag there happily, proudly, freely. Just living my best life,” she told Edinburgh Fringe Magazine.

While all performers love a stage, the girls are adamant that drag gives them something more.

“Drag is one of these art forms that helps people to discover who they are. I learned so much about who I was and how I interact with the world. Drag was something that really made me grow up,” states Monet.

Trinity tells us that even watching Drag Race, now in its sixteenth season, still has an impact on her and how she views her gender identity.

I watched Drag Race two seasons ago, where all those girls were coming out [as trans]. And it was very unexpected, and it made me have some sort of feelings. I had tried to transition years ago; I had started hormones, and it just didn’t feel right at the time and didn’t work out for me. But it’s because I wasn’t on the right hormones,” she tells us candidly.

Confirming her identity as trans-non-binary in a social media post last year, she says, Transitioning physically might not be the right direction that I’m going in, but this has all been a very long journey for me, so who knows where that’s gonna go? All I know is I love myself!”

All of the girls say they are so grateful for the opportunities, growth and self-awareness that drag has given them. They are also keen to give back.

Jinkx tells us her favourite part of touring is meeting the queer communities in different parts of the world and hearing their stories. Its a wonderful way to gain perspective on issues facing the queer community worldwide. Our fight for equal treatment and representation in the world isnt done until all queer people are free to live their truth.”

Despite this, Jinkx tells us she is extremely optimisticabout the state of drag in the world and how high-profile artists like her, Trinity and Monet can impact the lives of queer communities for the better.

“Every day we are throwing doors open for future generations of drag artists. Thats why were facing so much backlash – conservative assholes are fucking scared of our immense, growing power. Sooner or later, theyll have to accept that were everywhere, were everyone and were not going away!”

Trinity agrees, calling for all drag artists to unite and stand up for all our rainbow people.

Drag has the power to be political,” she tells YOUR ex. If you are not using your platform for good, then what are you doing? It’s Drag! It’s radical! We have to be voices for our community!”

A powerful message that resonates this Pride season more than ever.

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