Monet X Change Talks Racism Among Fans, a New Single and That Notorious Sponge Dress
From the moment Monet X Change hit her first runway challenge of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10 — in that dress made almost completely out of yellow and green sponges — we knew this talented and crafty New York City queen was officially in the game.
She may have been eliminated just shy of the Top 5 after a scorching lip sync against Kameron Michaels, but this queen is going to be giving her fans plenty to soak up. Hornet caught up with Monet X Change to discuss her time on Drag Race, the issue of race in the Drag Race community, and the message behind her brand-new single, “Soak It Up.”
Monet X Change, with your RuPaul’s Drag Race experience now a check mark on your bucket list, do you look back and think you made the absolute most of your time?
I think I did exactly what I wanted to do, and that was to show the audience exactly who Monet X Change is.
Your drag mother Honey Davenport is a legendary New York City queen and a member of the House of Davenport. What lessons did Honey teach you that you were able to convey on the runway?
I think I learned how to have a good time from Honey. She knows how to do that and is always charismatic, and I think I get a lot of that from her. She would have rocked the hell out of a sponge dress, too! [Laughs]
You brought up the notorious sponge dress that has almost become a contestant on its own this year. You created it as your initial challenge outfit, but it has taken on a life of its own!
Let me tell you, at DragCon this year so many people had their own versions of the sponge dress! (See Hornet chat with Monet X Change at DragCon L.A. here.) It was amazing, I loved it! As for the dress, it was really just my own inception for that challenge, and it has just taken off. People are making their own dolls made of sponges, they’ve made sponge crowns — it has really become wild.
What happened on the show this season that we didn’t get to see as viewers?
I think maybe my interactions with Miz Cracker. We were literally always at each others’ stations and always together, and I don’t think a lot of that was shown. I feel like they really showed everything else. All of the stuff with the Vixen that I witnessed, everything.
Tell me about your new single, “Soak It Up.” Between the summer vibes video and cameos by Bob the Drag Queen and Boomer Banks, you may have a summer hit on your hands.
Thank you so much! First, Bob is a huge opponent of the sponge dress altogether — he hated it. I told him that I was doing the video and he was doing a rap in it and he would have to wear a sponge-something in the video. His response was “Monet, I’m not doing it.” [Laughs] He eventually did it, and now that he has his own sponge leotard, he feels all sexy in it, and I just told him, “I told you, girl.”
I did “Soak It Up” because I wanted to do a song that was about me. Throughout the season, whether it was about my pussycat wigs, or the sponges, people had some not-so-nice things to say about them. I would say, “Well, like a sponge, I’m gonna soak all this stuff up — the positive and the negative — and I am going to use it to be an even fiercer Monet X Change.” That is what the song is about: soaking up all the positive, the negative and living your life to the fullest and being fierce, free and unbothered.
You mentioned soaking up the negative along with the positive. With that in mind, do you think there is a race issue within the drag community?
With the whole race thing, I see it this way. I don’t think RuPaul’s Drag Race has a race issue. I mean, in terms of the show, RuPaul’s Drag Race is probably the most racially diverse competition reality show ever aired. If you take a look at the contestants, so many of them are people of color; in Season 10 alone, half of us were people of color. You had five African-American girls, you had Kalorie Karbdashian [who’s Latinx], you had Yuhua Hamasaki [Chinese-American]. It’s so racially diverse in terms of the show.
What gets racial about Drag Race is the fandom. You have fans of the show who either come into your inboxes with really nasty, rude and disgusting things to say in terms of race.
Once the cast is revealed, you have people looking and seeing Aquaria, Blair St. Clair and Miz Cracker and Kameron, and assuming they are going to win because they’re the “skinny white girls with blonde hair.” I know Miz Cracker is fierce. I have known her for years; I know how funny and talented she is. You don’t know that; you don’t know anything about these girls, because you’ve never seen the show.
To pick those four girls as the ones who are going to do the best because of what they look like is really the issue. If you look at this season, I won the mini-challenge on the first episode, and Mayhem Miller won the maxi-challenge. Vixen and Asia O’Hara also had wins in the first few episodes. African-American queens did well in the first couple episodes, but they were the least followed on the show in terms of social media. I think there’s a correlation between all that stuff and nuanced things the fans may not even realize are happening, but they are.
What advice do you have for the Season 11 girls heading into the workroom?
My only advice to them is to be authentically yourself. Fans can smell you being fake from a mile away. At the end of the day, your job and your goal is to let the fans fall in love with you. The best way to do that is to be authentically you. They latch onto something real if you are able to do that. Then, when they see you at DragCon, on television or at a bodega in New York City, they get a real experience and they are able to grow and love you.