Monét X Change Is Living Her Best Life

Christine Fitzgerald 19 Min Read
19 Min Read
Monét X Change
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The multi-talented Monét X Change has done it all – comedy, opera, podcasting, music, and winning RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. She is taking her talents on the road with her critically acclaimed one-woman show, Life Be Lifin’, which will hit the road across the country, kicking off on April 30 and running through May 19. She'll also be headlining the Netflix is a Joke festival with Bob the Drag Queen for “Sibling Rivalry Live” on May 6th at the Belasco in Los Angeles.

Written by Monét and directed by BenDeLaCreme, Life Be Lifin’ guides her audiences through a poignant, darkly humorous coming-of-age story with her signature ability to make audiences cry as quickly as she makes them laugh. We spoke with Monét about the new show, her upcoming new music, her adorable pets, and lots more in our exclusive interview.

Monét X Change

How did this one-woman show come about?

I had a show at the Edinburgh Fringe Fest called “Call Me by Monét” and that was just kind of a mixture of drag numbers and a little bit of storytelling, but at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival the show had to be listed as like an actual event. So, I sat down, and I started writing and I started telling all these stories and doing all these things and before I knew it, I had this 75-minute show that was super personal and super beautiful and very funny. And I did it for two weeks at the Fringe Festival – to rave reviews – and I just fell in love with the process of writing this show that became so personal. I didn't set out for it to be this thing and it evolved into this beautiful story. So that's kind of how it was born. And I've really enjoyed doing it and people laugh and they cry and they have a really good time with the show.  

Is there any significance to the title, Life Be LifIn’?
Yeah, ‘cause you know, the tea is life really do be lifin’, right? You really think you have your shit together. You really think that, oh, I have a plan. Nothing's gonna change. This is is the tea. Go outside of this and then some event happens, or some text message happens or some moment happens with someone that kind of fucks the entire thing up and you kind of have to reorient yourself and keep moving forward. So that's just what the whole premise is like. Life just be happening, girl. Life be lifin’.

BenDeLaCreme directed the show. What was it like working with her? 
Ben is such a brilliant mind. I had seen some of Ben's one-woman shows and they're so poignant and they're so smart. So when I was setting out to do this project, you know, writing a real one-woman show, I hit her up and I said, “Hey, I just want to pick your brain about your process and how you do this.”

And then we spoke, we had lunch – we had some Japanese – and afterwards, like a few days later, she's said, “Hey, about that meeting yesterday. I'm really interested in kind of helping you in this and directing the show for you. Would you like that?” I was like, “Of course I would, girl.” I jumped at the bit to have Ben direct the show because she just added so much and she's so great and I'm so happy that I had her on board for this process.  

Monét X Change
Photo by Yekaterina Gyadu

I saw the show from Joe's Pub and you shared a lot of personal things with the audience. What is it like being so transparent with your audiences?
You know, from the inception of Monét X Change, my drag character, I've never been someone who needed to step into a character to become this thing on stage. My drag has always been very personal and always been very much me and I've always been very forthcoming about my life and how I feel about things. I always have.

And I mean, I have a podcast with Bob the Drag Queen. In two shows a week, we’re oversharing – for lack of a better word. So, I've never been shy about sharing my life experiences and what my life is – the good, the bad, and the ugly, you know? Because I think that's something that my fans kind of expect of me, that they're going to get an honest experience from me. It's never going to be something fake or something superficial. You're always going to get the real Monét, the real Kevin, when you come see my shows, whatever that means, whether it be a one-person show, stand-up or music.  

Now what, if anything, was the biggest challenge of putting this tour together?
Ooh, the biggest challenge for the show would be…because I tell a very personal story about me and a friend, one of my first loves, Ricardo, and how that came to be. And I was like, is that too much to share on stage? Because I didn't change their name. That is their name. So, I was like, what if – and I don't think it would – but what if in some world he hears a story and he comes back, and what if he's still in love with me? I have a partner, but what if he wants to come back? And he's like, you know, everything that happened back in seventh grade, I remember it. And I love you too. And so that's kind of my biggest, ridiculous concern I have about this this show.

And, logistically, I'm going back to a lot of cities that I've been to before that I sold out before, like I sold out in Austin and in Portland and a lot of these cities, but I really love the audience in those cities so I'm going back again. I was like, Hey guys, I know I was just here like six months ago, but I'm back again. And so, if you're, if you're in any city on this tour, you need to get tickets now and sell out a bitch! I love a sellout. I love to brag and throw it in Bob's face. So, that's probably my biggest concern.

Monét X Change

What are you hoping that audiences will take away from the show?  
The biggest takeaway that I want my audience to have is that all the little nooks and crannies that life may shove you into or you fall into on your journey to whatever it is on the other side whatever your ideal is like you just kind of like let you have to let yourself experience those things honestly and just like it really might suck and inconvenience in the present may be a really beautiful moment in the future so all the things that I’ve gone through I am really grateful for them because I legitimately think that they're reasons that I’m sitting here in my home, in my drag garage, being able to talk about them now…like the little things that happened to me  10, 15, five days ago, years ago, there are all the things that have molded me and have afforded me the ability to be sitting and talking to you here right now about my tour.

You are such a good storyteller. I just love the way you tell a story. Do you have any plans of writing a memoir?  
You know, I do want to get into the book business. I'm a big audiobook person. So, growing up I had a really bad stammer, like super, super bad and to fix that, my mom would have me every night. I would sit at the dinner table, and I would read for hours. I would read books out loud, and over time, it fixed itself. So, I'm more of an audio book listener. And getting to be able to write my own book and narrate it and people hear my voice. I would love that. So, that is definitely a journey that I want to have.

Secondly, I would love to write all my stories and there are so many more outside of the show. I really feel like they will really lend themselves to a really great half-hour TV sitcom like Everybody Hates Chris but like the fat, black gay version. I would love that, and I think that some network – Hulu, Netflix, you know what Paramount+, Peacock…I'm talking to y'all – taking these stories and crafting them into this half-hour sitcom I think would be kind of brilliant and really great  

I love “Love Like This”. Are you planning on releasing any more music?
Yes. I have this R&B album that I've been working on for the past three and a half years and the first single came out, “Body” which is available now. Everyone stream “Body” by Monét X Change…it is a like all of my things deeply personal and a lot of the mishaps in my life regarding love, surrounding love and sex and identity. It talks about all those themes, and it talks about it again, really honestly and truly about how I feel about them. So, this R&B album that's coming out in May is my heart for the past three years. I've done a lot of hard work.

It's a full R&B moment, right? I don't think I've seen a queen release like a full R&B project. They're like two, I can think about – Jujubee and Peppermint – but this is like real true vibey R&B music that can contend with the greats out there now. So, I'm really excited about that. And everyone stream “Body” right now, the first single.

Monét X Change
Photo by Yekaterina Gyadu

Is there anything that you still want to do on your “to do bucket list”?

I mean, I kind of did it before, and the pandemic squashed it, but I want to bring back my show The X Change Rate. I would love to find a new home, a new reality, a new multiverse for The X Change Rate because it's a show that was so fierce and it was so successful and people really love this show. We had two and a half really great years and the pandemic happened and the studios closed down permanently, so if there was a world where I can find a way to bring The X Change Rate back, I would love to. People still watch the old episodes on YouTube, and I get messages all the time. Tweets, retweets. “Oh my god, Monét, please bring The X Change Rate back.” I love the show. It was so good. I'm like, girl, I agree. I think so, too. So, to bring that back is one of my biggest goals.

Now you and Bob are bringing Sibling Rivalry to the Netflix is a Joke festival. Are you surprised at the enduring popularity of the podcast that you do?
To say I'm surprised, no, because before the podcast, people – like friends and strangers – would always be enamored by the way Bob and I would sit and talk and find something to argue about or debate about. It's always been something that people have loved about our friendship and our dynamic.

And so when I was cast on Drag Race, and he was living across the country for a while, our only way to kind of do it was talking on the phone for literally hours, and we took those conversations and just put a mic on either end of the telephone, and then we started recording them and releasing them as a podcast. People just really love our perspective and our point of view about world issues and life. And now, to see how it has endured, and five years now, we've been doing a podcast, and now we get to do these big live shows. We just sold out the Castro Theater. We're doing shows in San Diego. We're doing Netflix is a Joke. It makes my heart so happy that something that I would just be doing anyway, which is talking and yelling at Bob for an hour, I get to go out and let people listen to it and be on my side.  

Now, besides Bob, are there other queens that you would want to work with that you haven't yet?
Ooh, yeah, there are a lot of them. I mean, I get to work with Naomi Smalls and Kim Chi, who are really good friends of mine. I love those girls so much. I would love to do something with Trinity the Tuck. I feel like Trinity and I could do something really fun together. I also love working with her and she's so funny and she's so smart and I would love to find a permanent way to work with Trinity the Tuck.

Monét X Change
Photo by Jamie Prada

How are Potato and Colleen?
Oh my God. Well, Colleen…I'm actually looking at her. She's over there in the sunlight. And Potato is probably somewhere clamoring under a stool, scared or something, because they have some people doing work on the house. So, it's a lot of noise. So, you get a little scared. You try to put them away, but Potato is literally Courage the Cowardly Dog. Like that is his existence. Like that cartoon from Cartoon Network. That is Potato.  

Besides the tour and everything, what else is upcoming for you?
I can't really talk about the whole thing right now, but another dream I had was a show that I worked through with a company. I got to produce it, and it’s coming out in July. I can't say fully yet, but people should be very excited about a very fun show of mine coming out in July.

And outside of that, this album again…we haven't put the name out yet, so I can't say what the name is, but I'm so excited for people to hear the full body of work and all of the time, all of the late-night sessions, all of the things I went into creating this album. I cannot wait for people to see it. And I'm filming another music video. The first music video is coming out very soon and I'm filming another one this month for the second single. And then, you know, the album is going to be here so I'm just really, really excited about people listening to my new music.

Monét X Change
Photo by Yekaterina Gyadu

Get tickets and information about Life Be Lifin’ here. Lisren to Monét’s new single “Body” here and keep up with  Monét on InstagramTwitterFacebookYouTube and on her website


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