Drag Race icon Mo Heart wants to show you can be spiritual and sickening on UK vs The World

Mo Heart

Mo Heart, the artist formerly known as Monique Heart is back on screens for Drag Race UK vs The World.

The last time we saw Mo Heart compete on Drag Race, we watched as she was narrowly beaten to a place in the All Stars Hall of Fame by Monét X Change and Trinity The Tuck.

Tonight she returns to our screens once again, this time for the first international crossover series, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs The World, on BBC Three.

Now going by simply Mo Heart (“Mo heart, mo love, mo everything!”), the Palm Springs queen is one of the franchise’s most successful alumni and a bona fide fan favourite. So then why return again and risk not living up to your previous success?

For Mo Heart, it was driven by a desire to come back and show the world you can be both sickening and spiritual.

“You know, before the show I didn’t consider myself a rebel,” she told PinkNews.

“RuPaul says that drag is very punk rock, it’s about being a rebel and going against the grain. I really didn’t see that for myself but I recognise now that I am going against the grain because, for one, I love God as a queer individual, and that has always been a big thing for me.”

“So being someone that says: ‘Hey, you can be who you are, and still love the Father,’ that has always meant something to me. I bring that with my music, I bring it back with my looks. I think there’s just a level of freedom now just sitting in there which has allowed my drag to be a lot more freer. I’m really excited to express that and show the world.”

In RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs The World, viewers will watch as queens from the UK, US, Canada, Holland and Thailand battle it out for the crown.

Fans of the show will know that styles of drag can differ drastically between countries, something that Mo Heart was also conscious of going into this new competition.

“I think that here in the States, we have more opportunities that yield themselves to the girls. So therefore they can express and develop, and kind of refine their skill set a little bit, whereas I feel maybe overseas spaces are more limited. 

“So maybe because there hasn’t been a lot of those same opportunities, that’s yielded, in my opinion, more comedians than ‘glamazons’ or whatever. Not to say that they don’t have them [over here] but I can’t count 50 on the top of my head, you know what I mean?

She did make a point to acknowledge that these days it’s not all slapstick humour and one-woman cabaret shows on the UK drag scene. “But then you have Miss Bimini Bon Boulash. We have Miss Tayce, even Miss Lawrence Chaney girl, in her ways.

“Now drag is so much more than just looking like a woman or presenting female, I think it’s more of that club kid look or whatever that you might see overseas in the UK and in Europe.”

Somehow, despite a jam-packed schedule which includes touring, recording new music and doing press for this show, Mo Heart has managed to catch up on the ongoing US season 14 of Drag Race, which has made headlines for featuring the show’s first ever cisgender straight male drag queen, Maddy Morphosis.

Although some fans have been critical of Maddy’s inclusion in the show, arguing that he is taking the spot of a queer performer, Mo Heart feels that he has earned his place in the competition.

“Well, this show is called RuPaul’s Drag Race, so if you do drag, I guess you audition… right? And clearly, they brought it to RuPaul because the drag is giving! It’s not like he’s straight and the bitch is crunchy!

“The bitch walked in, the mop was right. He was giving me somebody’s mom who was like, ‘I’m done with this long hair, cut it short, give me the little spike in the back but I like rock and roll and barbecue. My husband’s mechanic and we got a Harley Davidson and we go driving on Sunday’. That’s what he was giving, I was here for it.”

Despite her admiration for her Maddy’s cropped mop, Mo understands why some members of the community might feel put out by his presence on the show and hopes Morphosis understands the onus on him to give back to the community as he reaps the benefits of this level of exposure.

“I feel it’s sensitive so I want to be tender… RuPaul’s Drag Race is producing stars who are then going to be able to live their dream. So you’re like: ‘Yes! Queer folks finally have that opportunity,’ right?

“So I will say, I am interested to see what this individual is going to bring with his new platform, like what are the avenues you are now going to open up and create? Is he gonna open up his barbecue joint and we have drag shows at the barbecue joint on Thursday and Friday nights? That’s only my thing, will you open things up? Is he the bridge?”

In spite of her reservations, she also sees the potential that a spokesperson like Maddy has to engage and communicate messages of love and acceptance to people who may not otherwise be listening: “They’re going to be able to speak to straight people. And he’s from the sticks, it’s not like he’s from New York City.

“He’s from the sticks, being bold, and his girlfriend also does drag so he is amongst artists. So I’m very here for it. “

“I‘m also excited to see what does that do for the son that felt insecure all those many generations ago and now maybe he’s got a dad that can play baseball with him, and he can sit and do me a smokey eye? Like, what does that do? For your child, that straight child. There’s no more hang ups because it’s art.

“But now, if he is at a Trump rally and ain’t bringing good conversations then we will have to have a conversation!”

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs The World starts at 9pm Tuesday (1 February) on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer, with new episodes airing every Tuesday.