Jinkx Monsoon’s ‘Doctor Who’ Turn Proves ‘Drag Race’ Stars Can Go Mainstream — and That’s Great for Everyone

As drag shows become the latest target of conservative ire, a non-binary queen joining the BBC's long-running series is a major windfall.
Jinkx Monsoon Drag Race
Jinkx Monsoon
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If anyone knows how to do the absolute most with their fifteen minutes, it’s a drag queen. While an appearance on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” can catapult a showgirl to a new level of fame, most of the former contestants can still be seen hustling for tips at the club long after their seasons are over. That’s just the way the game is played, and the savviest ones know to keep the show going if they want a lasting career.

Since first launching on LogoTV in 2009, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has brought the art of drag worldwide recognition, introducing a new generation of drag artists and innovators. Shangela, Trixie & Katya, and Bianca del Rio have all parlayed their “Drag Race” fame into sustained and successful careers. But for every former contestant who established lucrative comedy, podcasting, and reality TV careers, there are dozens more who were never heard from again.

As with all breaks — it’s only a launching pad if you know what to do with it.

As a two-time winner and fan favorite, Jinkx Monsoon’s flair for the theatrical always placed her a cut above the rest. The lovable oddball won the fifth season of “Drag Race” and the second season of “All Stars” (which included a very memorable Judy Garland in “Snatch Game”), so it’s no surprise that she has been one of the most successful queens beyond her “Drag Race” tenure. An accomplished cabaret singer and performer, Monsoon made her Broadway debut as Matron “Mama” Morton in “Chicago” earlier this year, earning rave reviews for her quirky take on the Sapphic jail warden.

Now she’ll cross another new frontier when she takes on a “major role” in “Doctor Who,” the BBC’s beloved and long-running sci-fi series, per Deadline. Without diminishing the success of other beloved “Drag Race” alums, Monsoon landing a major role in a wildly popular scripted show may be the most significant crossover milestone for any former contestant.

“In a galaxy of comets and supernovas, here comes the biggest star of all. Jinkx Monsoon is on a collision course with the TARDIS, and ‘Doctor Who’ will never be the same again,” said showrunner Russell T Davies of the casting.

“I’m honored, thrilled, and utterly excited to join ‘Doctor Who!’ Russell T Davies is a visionary and a brilliant writer — I can’t wait to get into the weeds with him and the crew! I hope there’s room in the TARDIS for my luggage,” Monsoon said.

“Doctor Who” has taken a significantly more LGBTQ+ bent since Davies returned as showrunner in 2021 (he previously oversaw the relaunch of the series in 2004). In May of 2022, the BBC announced that “Sex Education” star Ncuti Gatwa had been cast as the titular Doctor, an extraterrestrial known as the Time Lord who has a human appearance.

Gatwa, who also played an out-and-proud gay character on “Sex Education,” is the first Black actor to lead the series. With non-binary Monsoon in the mix, there’s no limit to how fun, fabulous, and queer the future of “Doctor Who” will be. Also breaking ground on Season 14 is Pete MacHale, the first trans man in “Doctor Who” cast history.

With anti-trans legislation rolling out across the country, drag shows have become the latest target for conservative politicians. A barrage of anti-drag bills have been introduced in at least 14 states, using language targeting “adult cabaret performances” that include “male or female impersonators” in an attempt to target trans people.

In the face of renewed attacks on LGBTQ+ rights, the news of Monsoon’s “Doctor Who” casting is a much-needed boon for queer audiences and their allies. Now, if we could only get that memo across the pond.

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