‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Queens Willow Pill and Jinkx Monsoon on Adulting, Sobriety and Eating Haggis

“Drag Race: All Stars” Season 7 winner Jinkx Monsoon made “Drag Race” her-story when she became the first queen to win twice. Willow Pill is still coming to terms with winning the main show in April. She made her-story when she became the first Trans contestant to win there.

From drag brunches to musical appearances to fringe festivals, there is no stopping the reigning queens of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The show’s “All Stars” Season 7 winner Jinkx Monsoon is on Zoom long after midnight after a spot at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She’ll be up in a few hours ordering UberEats — her go-to is a large coffee with almond syrup and a bacon roll. Pill just dropped a single “Angle” and a music video. After having a moment to go to the beach, she will soon be on the road with fellow queens touring with her fellow Season 14 finalists.

For now, Monsoon and Pill are taking a moment to indulge in a conversation about the “Drag Race” sisterhood, things they plan on doing with their prize money and eating haggis.

Congratulations! Has it sunk in that you are winners yet?

Willow Pill: It finally kicked in last month that I won because I’d had some time off. I had time to relax, go to the beach and hang out with my friends. So, now that I’m out of the tornado that happens, post-“Drag Race,” I’ve had the time to say, “Oh my gosh, I achieved my dream.” I’m having anxiety about what to do now that I’ve reached the apex of my life. Where do I go?

Jinkx Monsoon: I haven’t had that time to go to the beach with my friends. I keep joking that it doesn’t live in my body yet. But I’m here at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and so many people stop me and congratulate me. I think it becomes real with every person who runs up to me. But, I’ll be listening to my music, slightly stoned, walking down the cobblestoned streets of Edinburgh, and the next thing I know, someone’s jumping out from behind a trashcan to congratulate me,. It’s startling, but it’s always very sweet. I want them to approach me slowly, calmly with a sugar cube or a carrot and then maybe I’ll get less spooked.

What are you both doing with the prize money?

Pill: I’m putting it in my kids’ college fund. But beyond that, right now, my plan is just to keep it in savings, and hopefully retire early. I would love to retire at 35.

Monsoon: She’s not joking. That’s what she told me when we were last together. She said, “I’m gonna do a few more gigs.” But, I want to stash some away and sit on it for a little bit while I do some thinking. My husband and I put off getting our forever wedding rings until he’s able to move to the United States. So, as soon as he moves to Portland, we’re going to get our rings. I know it sounds cheesy and sappy, but we’ve put it off for a while. I’m wearing a costume ring. I’ve got a niece who might want to go to college someday, and I’ve got some home plumbing that needs to get fixed. I want a new refrigerator. Is that boring?

There are always adult issues like plumbing and a fridge can never be boring.

Monsoon: Bob, the drag queen, has a fridge and I want to get the same fridge she has. It has a cooler built into the door to keep your drinks separate from everything else.

We hear so much about how sisterhood is a part of the show. How does that evolve when the season ends?

Monsoon: I’m fiercely bonded with all the girls that I just filmed with. When you go through that experience, it bonds you. That’s why we call ourselves a sisterhood. It’s very familial and that love is unconditional after filming a season. The first time I met Willow, it was like meeting an old friend. She came backstage at a show that I was doing in London and two days later, we had a gig together. I had just watched her on TV and she had watched me, but because we had both been through that experience, it’s like you already have a shared experience.

Pill: It’s so easy to talk to the other queens across the seasons. I went to Florida and met Roxxxy Andrews. I also met Symone. You have a million things you can chat about. And with the queens that are on your season, these are people I call every day. You experience something that is closed off to everyone else. You were locked away with these people who are your forever friends. Being on “Drag Race” is a very not-human experience that doesn’t happen naturally in biology and is a part of the Matrix.

What were your favorite challenges from the season?

Monsoon: My favorite challenge for both of my seasons was the snatch game. I love seeing the way all the performers’ minds work because you really get a look into that person’s sense of humor and the way that person’s brain works when you watch snatch game. I love when we all roast each other because then we get to laugh at ourselves and our sisters before the actual enemies out there in the world try to tear us down with the same remarks. There’s something about a sister making a joke about you that doesn’t make it hurt as much as when the toxic people out there trying to hurt you with the same observations.

Pill: I was nervous to do that reading challenge. I remember watching every season and being like, “Oh my God, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do any sort of roast or reading challenge. It’s not really my style of comedy.” And I succeeded. They didn’t show everything, but all my jokes landed.

Since you both talked about the roast, what advice would you give to future drag queens on how to pull off a successful roasting?

Monsoon: Start with what you love about that person and work out from there. I truly believe that roasting with my sisters is one of the things that’s brought me closest to some of the performers that I’ve worked with. So, start with what you love about that person and then exaggerate it.

Pill: I would say delivery and charm go very far in reading or roasts. You can deliver something very poisonous, very sweetly, then it will go over pretty well.

What about your favorite looks from the season?

Pill: I think my favorite look that I wore was the house look. That dollhouse was made by my roommate and my neighbors and it was just huge labor of love. It came from just having this vision of being like a doll that has outgrown her home. You envision all the looks that you want for the show and rummage through the nooks and crannies of your mind. Some of them are perfect and some of them don’t live up to it and that one that lived beyond my expectations it resonated a lot with the audience.

Monsoon: Symone’s statement piece. I did “Drag Race” for the first time 10 years ago, and I’ve watched it ever since. But when Symone wore that down the runway and spoke so beautifully, it really, it ignited something in me. That was before I got the call for “All Stars,” and I remember feeling like Symone was one of the reasons I said yes because I was so inspired by her journey.

Beyond the show, how have you grown and progressed?

Monsoon: A big thing that changed for me since Season 5 to “All Stars” is confidence. I’ve been very sure of myself. I’ve had a very strong sense of self for most of my life, but that doesn’t always go hand in hand with confidence. I’ve done a lot of work on myself as a human being, not just as a drag artist. I got so busy after Season Five that my whole life became about work and I put myself on the back burner. Lately, I’ve made a lot of choices for myself that were really important choices, like cutting alcohol out of my life. I’m California sober because I still smoke weed, but alcohol is no longer a part of my life. I’ve been three years sober from alcohol and that was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself. Combined with therapy, witchcraft and meeting the love of my life, I’m in a pretty solid place.

Pill: It’s been a very short five minutes since I won, but I’ve been very lucky to have so many queens before me give me some of the best advice. That was, “Preserve yourself and know when to say no and know when to step out of the spotlight because it’s a little bit all-consuming at times.” Since the show, I’ve really taken some time to relax and take time for myself which is hard when everyone’s telling you that this is the hot time to strike. As much as I want to do that, I know that I’m not able to do that. I’ve really had to learn when I just need to protect myself.

Jinkx, do you want to ask Willow anything?

Monsoon: What can I say publicly? I want to know, what’s the nicest meal you treated yourself to since winning? Was it that papaya salad?

Pill: Me and Symone went to this nice Steakhouse in DC. It was great to just share filet mignon with another winner. The filet mignon was fine, but the better part was sharing with Symone.

Monsoon: That’s a lot more tasteful. I took my friends to the Cheesecake Factory. I did tell them they could get whatever they want.

Willow, what do you want to know?

Pill: Jinkx, what was the meal that you ate for breakfast?

Monsoon: I’m in Edinburgh, Scotland and I’ve had like the same breakfast for the last four days. I UberEats Starbucks to my house. It’s the largest black iced coffee that they’ve got — which is not an American large, it’s Scotland large. I get it with almond syrup, and then I get a bacon sandwich which is literally a roll with bacon and that’s all there is. I live for it.

Pill: I wanted to ask you a more legitimate question. Now have you found the joy and the will to keep going in drag after 10 years since winning the first time?

Monsoon: It is the love of performing because I would be happy if I never had to do my makeup again or never wear a corset again, these are the physical attributes of drag that get tiresome over time. Some girls live for putting on their makeup but if I could push a button and it pie gags the makeup into my face, I’d do it. But I just love being on stage and I love having fun with an audience who wants to hear me complain about my day and then sing a song about it.

Jinkx, I was going to ask you since you’re in Scotland, have you had haggis yet?

Monsoon: I just tried it for the first time the other day. My partner got a haggis breakfast sandwich and I tried a little chunk of the haggis. I’ll say the taste was lovely and the texture was questionable.

Willow?

Pill: I’d love to. I’m going to be in Scotland in October, so maybe I’ll give it a go.

Monsoon: It’s like creamed meat.

Willow, one last question, Katcy is our social media manager and she wants to know if you’ll be her best friend.

Pill: Who is Katcy?

Our social media manager

Pill: Oh, absolutely. Just tell her to give me a call. My number is 911.

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