Jinkx Monsoon’s London: Drag bars, G-A-Y heaven and whiskey boys
Jinkx Monsoon, aka Jerick Hoffer, began her career in drag at at the age of 15 at Escape Nightclub in Portland, Oregon.
After moving to Seattle from Portland, Jinkx created and starred in Funny or Die‘s Monsoon Season in which she played an over-bearing, addicted, deragned mom. Soon thereafter, RuPaul tapped her as one of the contestants on Drag Race. In 2013, she won the 5th season.
Queerty caught up with the drag superstar to help guide us through her own personal London, starting from the hotel Aloft London Excel.
Hey Jinkx! Thanks for joining us. Where do you head out from the hotel?
Just wander down some of London’s residential streets and take in the architecture. Aloft is right next to Excel London convention center, so I might take a trip to pick up some quick drag accessories at Gallions Reach Shopping Park.
What’s on your bedside table?
I travel with a collection of H.P. Lovecraft short stories. I find that the flowery language, describing terrifying events, helps put me to sleep when I have insomnia. You have to excuse a lot of the outdated, early 1900’s terminology. But it’s fun to read about giant flying squid monsters. It makes for a good break from reading about the current day giant flying squid monsters on reality TV.
Room service menu?
When I’m feeling a little self-indulgent, I start with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, and perhaps a cheese and charcuterie plate. And if I’m feeling especially bourgeois, I may order something equivalent to a Sunday roast even if its Tuesday. Roast meat and potatoes is the international comfort food.
What’s up with the London drag scene?
When I go drag bar slumming, its gotta be SoHo. There’s a tiny, charming pub, Molly Mog’s when I wanna just sing along to show tunes and get sloshed. There will be a lovely, slightly more mature queen there, done up in her nicest frock and headdress, and she will serenade you with the oldest standard show tunes. The whole bar will join in, drunkenly singing at the top of their lungs.
Sometimes, I’ll go check out G-A-Y Heaven, especially when one of my drag race sisters is guest judging the amateur strip competition, or when I want to dance. When I am performing in London, you can find me doing one of my original cabaret shows at the SoHo Theater, which has all the pomp and circumstance of a real, honest to God, theater piece, with all the raucous energy of a queer-friendly pub. There are sandwiches to shove in your face if you’re hungry before a show. If you need a drink and some homosexual interaction quickly, you can’t lose at any of these places.
You’re going to the At Aloft Hotels performance series. What’s your best lounge attire?
I am a fan of sleek black looks. You’re likely to find me in black, skinny slacks, a slouchy black sweater, and very likely, a black turban. I complete this witch look with black suede wedge heels and quartz crystal jewelry. As a queen, all my outfits are colorful and loud. When I am out of drag, I like to dress more understated but of course not without a flair for the dramatic.
What do you order you and your beau at the W XYZ bar?
I find that even though I am a strict vodka drinker, I often date whisky boys. I can’t handle whisky or any of the dark spirits but I like a man who can. So the typical round for me and my sweetheart would be a vodka martini for me and a Manhattan for him. After a few of those, we may just switch to shots. I like someone who can keep up with me when it comes to drinking, so any boy who’s gonna get into my cookie jar is gonna have to be able to throw a few back.
How does Edina’s Absolutely Fabulous London differ from yours?
Well, we both take cars everywhere. We both shop too much and too often. We both go everywhere with our tall, emaciated, skinny bitch of a best friend at our side. We both go out drinking most nights and pour ourselves into bed. So I guess they don’t, actually.
Favorite Brit Food?
I love meat pies. I mean, mainly because I am obsessed with Sweeney Todd and I like to pretend that I am Mrs. Lovett. I love a pub that does good pies, my favorite being chicken, leek, and mushroom. You can also find more portable pies that you can grab and walk around with while eating. Cuz who doesn’t like to peruse the Top Shop with a pastry pocket full of gravy in your hand!?
Seattle or London?
Both scenes have a variety of options from alternative to more mainstream, Top 40’s. My favorite bar in Seattle is a punk rock, gay dive bar with 70’s gay porn as the wallpaper. I have yet to find a place quite like that in London, but maybe I am looking in the wrong corners. Everything in Seattle closes at 2am, whereas London rages all night long. When I am out in London, I have to cancel all morning plans the next day. That’s just how they do it.
What does a drag queen wear to the hotel pool and gym?
When you find me at such places, I will be wearing a leotard, leggings, and some kind of giant kaftan to hide everything from everyone.
Check out the live, complementary, concert series from Aloft Hotels. Artists have included The Lumineers, Ed Sheeran, Green River Ordinance, and Better Than Ezra. For a complete and up-to-date list of all performances, visit LiveAtAloftHotels.com and join the conversation @AloftHotels using#AloftLive. Cost: Free
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