Seattle’s notorious Masked Monstress has one of the most unsettling drag aesthetics in the world… which made her a shoe-in for the cast of this season’s “Dragula,” a competition web series that celebrates the ghoulish glory of horrordrag. Although her time on the show was short, people won’t be forgetting this prolific queen anytime soon. Thotyssey gets behind the mask of Monikkie Shame as we talk about her time on the show, the creation of her trademark look, her place in Seattle nightlife, that adorable kitten in her death scene, and her much-discussed shade with co-star James Majesty and two popular Chicago queens, and the taste of pureed earthworm.
Thotyssey: Monikkie, hello! Thanks so much for talking to us! How are you today?
Monikkie Shame: I am doing well! Just unpacking all my drag from my Los Angeles trip, cause I’m lazy and have a gig tomorrow! How are y’all?
I’m doing very well here in NYC! So, I know it hasn’t been too long since the first two episodes of the new (second) season aired, but has your time on Dragula already drastically changed your drag?
Oh my God, yes. I went into Dragula thinking I was solid “Monster” and ready for anything they could throw at me, but I was wrong! So after being with such talented people, I learned a lot more about painting, sewing, padding. Now I’m not a garbage drag queen – I’ve upgraded to a recycling bin! Ha!
But all jokes aside, it has changed the way I think and hold myself now. I’m a lot more polished since I landed on the show, that’s for sure.
You definitely made for great television! So if you could, just give us a little background on how you got into drag, and how your aesthetics evolved into Masked Monster Realness.
I got into drag working at a local year-round costume store. I was working with latex a bunch, and doing scary faces at work for Halloween. And then one Halloween, I said fuck it and I covered half my face with cheesecloth, a jockstrap and some contacts, and won the first place prize [at a costume contest]! So I started playing with the idea of covering my face and going out: kinda androgynous, still boy, but in a mask.
And then I found Austin Young’s art work and the Tranimal workshop he did. I instantly wanted that: giant tits, ugly face, big hair, all of it. So I practiced with fabric, tights, pantyhose, you name it – none of it worked. So a few years ago – I believe 3 years ago – my friend Jordan Christianson of Jonquil & Mr. Black designed a mask for me that would be easy to put on and take off, and not make me melt. And I’ve been using those ever since.
And I think what got me into my character was, I was insanely obsessed with horror movies and the club kids back in the day – so I figured to stand out and just do the most disgusting shit as possible to freak people out. Marilyn Manson was a big influence in my life, and I think following him growing up definitely added to me being the monster I am today. Who doesn’t wanna wear a scary mask and make people’s mouths drop!?
The first time I discovered you was a YouTube video from a few years ago. You were doing Britney’s “3” on this huge stage with a human centipede crawling behind you!
OMG, that silly performance!
Does the Seattle scene easily accommodate “alternative” performers like you, or had it been a struggle to establish yourself?
Seattle didn’t really accept me at first. It was definitely hard to make a splash here. I think there was a huge alternative scene back in the day – and everyone just grew up and got older, and stopped. So when I was just starting, I believe only me and Ursula Major were the scary queens. And when Ursula moved to Los Angeles, I was kinda dubbed The Scary Queen.
As time moved on, people began to accept me more, and realize that I was a good performer. I was nominated “Drag Queen of the Year” up against Robbie Turner and BenDeLaCreme, and after coming in second place I started to get booked a lot more. People saw that I wasn’t just playing around, and that I wanted to be something bigger.
Seattle drag is very diverse, but very cliquey. And now that I’m on Dragula, lo and behold, everyone who hated gross drag and what I did wants to be nice! Who woulda thought!? Lol!
By the way, back to your masks for a sec… as far as lip sync performances go, do they ever feel like a hindrance for you?
No, ‘cause my lips are very exposed, so you can see me lip syncing. As for facial expression, it does, ‘cause nobody can tell if I’m happy or upset! The only thing about it that does bother me is, it gets so hot that it sweats the makeup that’s underneath into my eyes, and that fucks things up sometimes.
Hey, did you really drink a blender full of mashed-up worms onstage?
Hahaha! Yes, I was running for the title of Miss Bacon Strip! Bacon Strip is a drag variety show that I’ve been a cast member of forever. So I ran for it three times, and I was like, “okay, I gotta do something fucking gross.” So I had about 100 worms, put them in a blender with Coca-Cola, and blended it and drank it. And I still came in second place. Bitches!
Oh Lord. How did it taste?
I’ve done the worm thing a bunch of times, and all I can say is it just tastes like a giant loogie. When I blend them, not all of them really got blended. So I was trying to swallow halfies and stuff, haha! It was rough!
Whoah! Well, that’s certainly commitment.
So, what did you do when you found out that you were cast on the second season of Dragula?
Um, I cried, haha! Ever since the first season came out, I knew I had to be on Season 2. So I got my audition tape in last minute – like, the day it was supposed to be turned in. And I got a call later the next week. I was happy, scared, and excited all at the same time.
Was it hard to keep your casting a secret a first?
Keeping it under wraps was insane. Everyone practically knew – it’s hard being booked solid, and then you have to cancel all the bookings and disappear to Los Angeles for three months! It was definitely hard, but so worth it when we all got announced!
Let me ask about an exchange that happened after your casting was announced, or at least some things that went down in the past that resurfaced as a result. Chicago queen Soju, who is a popular YouTube personality, came out against you in a video saying that you had made racist comments to her in the past. Lucy Stoole, another beloved Chicago queen, backed Soju’s claim online, and then Facebook suspended her account for bullying.
Oh, that entire mess.
From your point of view, what happened there?
Here’s the thing about that. What I said [to Soju] was completely wrong, and coming from a dark place of drugs and alcohol, and fighting with everyone online.
So when this happened about two years ago, Soju made a post regarding all of this, and [saying that no one should] book me, and I got a lot of hate and a lot of threats. I didn’t know who Soju was. She was just a person bad mouthing me on a post, and making fun of my porn or whatever, and I lashed out. So I brushed it away and completely forgot about it… until I got announced. And then Lucy came out of nowhere, and I still completely had no idea who Soju was and didn’t remember even fighting with her.
I never flagged Lucy’s account. I had fans that did ‘cause people were telling me to kill myself and go die, and yada yada. And then after all this, Soju dropped a song. Perfect timing.
Did that all catch you completely off guard when it happened, or did you expect it?
It came as a shock to me ‘cause I don’t know why it got brought up again, and why I had to go through that again. I made a public apology, and everyone said it was fake. I can only say that I know what I said was fucked up, and I have apologized, and I’m trying to be a better role model for those who look up to me. But I have to move on with my life.
I knew something like this would happen, I just didn’t think they were gonna use the show to do what they did. I had people blowing up my sister’s page, my brother’s Facebook, and family members and everyone seeing kids telling me to go kill myself and go die like my mom. I didn’t deserve any of that. And those girls knew what they were doing. But that’s in the past, and I can’t keep focusing on that negativity coming at me. ‘Cause I now have the world to dominate and scare!
It’s increasingly awful when “fans” insert themselves into situations like these and make them so much worse.
Well, another conflict that certainly made for great television – but probably born out of a similar angry online place – was the onscreen confrontation between you and castmate James Majesty, whom you knew from Seattle. You two went at it almost immediately in the boudoir during the first episode.
I take it you both had no idea that you were going to be on the show together?
No. I thought that bitch was gonna be on Drag Race until I was waiting for my car to pick me up, and James came strolling out… I was like, what the fuck!? James isn’t very well liked in Seattle. She has one gig, and it’s an underage night at a nightclub that’s slowly losing patrons. James didn’t deserve to be on the show.
Obviously there was a lot of history there. Among other things, you accused James of sharing your nudes online and just smearing you on social media in general.
She made a public post calling me a drunk and pill popper, all ‘cause I called her out for fat shaming a fellow queen, Vivien Gabor. James went to her show and turned on Facebook Live and recorded Vivian calling her fat and ugly while she was performing. So after I called her out on all of that, she made hella posts about me.
Me and James are okay now. She still talks shit about me, and that’s okay. I’m more booked than she is, now that I’m back. Nobody in the cast cared for James. I mean, he is an amazing makeup artist – don’t get me wrong. But he’s a selfish, compulsive liar as well. That fake ass apology in the second episode? Haha, please Mary!
What did think of James winning the Cenobite challenge in in the first episode?
I was really excited when they said “Cenobite” was the challenge. I figured this was a perfect time to show how trashy and scary I was… and it fell super flat. James’ win confused us all. It was hot glue painted black on wires; Victoria built that entire spine and face within a few days. She worked her ass off, and James basically did the bare minimum and won. It was a cool concept, in my honest opinion – I just didn’t think it was better than Victoria’s. None of us did. Even Bob the Drag Queen was upset Victoria didn’t get that!
And I knew the Cenobite challenge would be about pain; I just didn’t think they were gonna be loading us up with a shit ton of needles on the first day!
You took those damn needles really well, though. How many were in you in the end?
I don’t actually remember, as you all saw. I was just pissed I was in the bottom, and didn’t really feel anything. But I think it was about 20 something. The 8 gauge needle was the fun part, haha! I definitely won that challenge.
All those worm shakes gave you a thick skin!
Willam was there for that episode. What’s she like?
It was great to see Willam as a judge. She was funny and cracking us up. I also got her book bloody on accident behind the scenes (sorry Willam).
Were you surprised by how negatively the judges received your second episode look in the Western challenge?
Yes, I was shocked. I stepped out of my comfort zone and made that dress in 24 hours, and I really thought I told my story. My character was based on a true story about some white girl that was traveling with her family selling tobacco. The Native Americans kidnapped her, tattooed her face, and forced her to be their slave. I made the props and everything, and it still fell flat.
My type of drag doesn’t need to be shut down and frowned at. It needs to be celebrated, like all forms of drag. [Hosts] the Boulets actually said good things about my look this episode. It was that [guest judge] Miss Kitty girl’s critiques that were kinda rude, and not called for. I mean, I didn’t like that giant thing on her head, but I didn’t rag on her for 15 minutes about how bad I hated it.
It just goes to show, that you never know what to expect from Dragula, or the judges.
True! How about that paintball shootout between you and the other bottom queens in the extermination challenge? I was actually kinda bored with how that played on screen to be honest, but I bet it was intense to experience in real life.
Meh, it was fun. We all thought it was gonna be a “branding” extermination, where we were branded with something. Thank God that wasn’t the case.
I still don’t understand how the scoring went on that, ‘cause I shot Biqtch several times in the back and front. And it was painful when I got hit in the mouth… my lip was so swollen for two days! Disasterina killed that challenge; she had us laughing so hard, ‘cause of the funny stuff she kept saying. I wanted to shoot James, but they set me up with Biqtch, and, well… I died, haha!
I was also a little disappointed in your death scene (all the eliminated contestants get a staged murder scene at the end of their last episode). I know it paid homage to classic Halloween and that was cool, but I bet you were hoping for something bloodier.
It was too nice of a flat to have blood spraying everywhere! Everything was white and clean. I thought mine was cool ‘cause of the mask, but yeah, I would have enjoyed, like, the walls being sprayed with blood and my crawling away bleeding. I love drama!
That little white kitten in the scene was adorbs, though.
Sprinkles! He was a dwarf kitty, that’s why it was so adorable! I was so scared ‘cause she kept running around the flat, and I didn’t wanna step on her in my 8 inch heels!
So now that you’re off the show, who are you rooting for to win?
If I had a Top 3 to pick it would be Kendra (cause she’s my bitch) Victoria Black (cause she deserves to win) and Biqtch Pudding! Even though Biqtch sent me home, she has such a good story to give, and I can see her doing well.
Tell us what’s coming up for you!
I️’m actually working on a song called “Xanax” featuring Jackie Hell, an infamous glamour trash queen. I am traveling to a few places such as Texas and Philly next month. You can follow my Instagram or Facebook for local shows coming up. I’m performing every weekend in Seattle, And I️ will be at Drag Con this year as well!
Lastly, what’s the best piece of advice you can give the queens who get cast on Dragula Season 3?
COME PREPARED. If you think you got it in the bag, think again. There is a twist to every challenge. Save up a lot of money, ‘cause you will be spending every penny of it in Santee Ally looking for fabric. And just have fun. It’s the best experience I’ve ever had in my entire life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Oh, and don’t be a villain. They never win.
Thanks again, Monikkie!