Meet Jinkx Monsoon, the Narcoleptic Jewish Drag Queen

Jerick Hoffer Created Persona After Learning of Heritage

Taking a Drag: Jerick Hoffer crafted Jinkx Monsoon as an overbearing single Jewish mother who is also an aspiring actress.
Courtesy of Jinkxmonsoon.com
Taking a Drag: Jerick Hoffer crafted Jinkx Monsoon as an overbearing single Jewish mother who is also an aspiring actress.

By Elyssa Goodman

Published May 30, 2013, issue of June 07, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

What role does Judaism play in your life as an out, gay man?

I think if you are raised with any religious background and you come out, you have a certain amount of reckoning. A certain amount of “can I be this and this?” When I found out so late in life, when I thought I was from this Irish stock and there was actually quite a bit more Russian Jew in me than anything else, it told me you don’t have to let your bloodline or the way you were raised dictate the way you live your life. I think religion, self-expression, all of this has to be in the hands of the individual.

Why drag?

Ever since I was a kid I just thought that women had the better outfits, women had the better hair, women got to wear makeup. I just got jealous of what women got to do onstage. You dress up a man and ultimately it’s just a different variation on the same kind of suit. There’s a whole wide world of what women wear onstage. I just always wanted to wear the big dresses with the petticoats and the hoop skirts and all the bells and whistles rather than just a three-piece suit.

What’s up next for you?

I am going to be performing the role of Velma Von Tussle in 5th Avenue Theatre’s concert production of Hairspray this summer in Seattle. In New York, I am doing a run of my show “The Vaudevillians,” which is an original musical comedy I created with my music partner Richard Andriessen, at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in July. We keep adding more and more shows there, it looks like we might end up doing a month-long run!

What is the greatest misconception about drag performance?

That it’s easy. I don’t think many people realize just how much of an endeavor it is. It’s a head to toe transformation. It’s not just putting on a little bit of makeup and putting on a dress. Some drag queens duct tape their heads, some drag queens are bound and strapped and pulled in every which direction. To be in drag is no small endeavor.

What are the challenges and rewards of performing in drag?

The greatest challenges are the time it takes to get into drag. When I’m going to be onstage, it pretty much takes up my whole day to get ready for it. Also, drag queens are not only critiqued as performers, but as “a vision of loveliness.” You get critiqued by not just how you act on stage and what you deliver for your performance but for how you look. But the greatest rewards are when you get those moments where you’re living this childhood fantasy onstage. When I get to perform the numbers that my favorite female performers did so long ago, like when I perform a number based on “Death Becomes Her” onstage, it’s like a dream coming true for me.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.