How Monique Heart Proved That You CAN Do Drag On A Budget


Known for her iconic, booming laugh and her willingness to address "America" as a whole on national television, queen Monique Heart was eliminated from RuPaul's Drag Race Season 10 on Thursday night. But, she made a great impression before she left — particularly as a queen who was beyond creative with her looks. In an interview with Bustle, Monique shares what it was like to leave so unexpectedly, and what's next for her.

Episode 7 of Drag Race Season 10 was full of suspense and drama — the highly anticipated and legendary "Snatch Game" challenge took place, and it was hard to tell who would be up for elimination. After the runway show, themed "Mermaid Fantasy" ended, the top and bottom three scaly tail-donning queens were perched on stools before the judges, and Ru asked them who they thought should go home.

Asia O'Hara, Monét X Change, Aquaria, and Monique herself all chimed in with "The Vixen," so it was obvious that she was going to end up in the bottom. But Monique was not expecting to be the one facing her in a lip-sync battle for her life.

"It should’ve been The Vixen and Asia," Monique says. "However, my look was horrible and so that’s what put me there. And so, I was crushed." On the show, the other queens knew Monique to frequently be the queen who was gluing together a garment minutes before stepping on stage. Much of that came as a result of her lack of resources coming into the competition. "I was in a financial situation that stifled me before leaving for the competition," she says. While other queens were able to commission custom designed looks, or even take out loans to pay for their Drag Race materials, "I didn't have those resources," Monique says. "But I still stood out."

Although drag can be an investment, especially in new careers, Monique says it's more important that an aspiring queen has creativity and vision, because that's what brings a queen to life. "Whether you have money or not — do you have taste, do you have imagination, do you have creativity?" Monique says. "I think that’s the main thing. And I have good taste, so I think whether it’s made out of cheap products or not, honey, it still looks stunning."

So, what's her advice for aspiring queens on a budget? "Learn how to sew," she says. "Have taste and some kind of creative element. I feel like with everything, it starts with nothing and you have to have a dream, and you have to have some kind of vision."

Another trait that sets Monique apart from the other queens is that although she was born and raised in Long Island, New York, she lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where drag is done a little differently than it is on the East and West Coasts. "Our drag is just very different," she says. "We try to look polished, we’re showgirls. We probably don’t work seven days a week like the other girls do because we don’t have those kind of venues, but we’re stunning ... We’re the talent, the entertainment, the production of the show."

Although she feels like she left Drag Race prematurely, she says that her experience on the show was overall, a good one. "I think the whole thing was challenging from start to finish, there’s no way that it could not be," she says. "I just tried to go through it with grace and excellence and integrity." And that, she did.

What's next on the list for Monique and her career in performance? She's claiming her spot as the next iconic face of daytime television, whether that's in or out of drag. "I wanna be a gay Steve Harvey essentially," she says. "That’s what I want." So watch out "America," TV may have not seen the last of Monique Heart just yet.