Jinkx Monsoon says Little Shop of Horrors role ‘affirming and wonderful’ amid transition

Jinkx Monsoon poses following her performance in the Off-Broadway production of Little Shop of Horrors.

RuPaul’s Drag Race legend and upcoming Doctor Who star Jinkx Monsoon has spoken about the “affirming and wonderful” experience of undergoing medical transition while starring as a woman in Little Shop of Horrors.

The 36-year-old actor is currently starring as leading lady Audrey in the Off-Broadway musical revival of Little Shop of Horrors, alongside High School Musical’s Corbin Bleu as Seymour.

At the same time, Jinkx, who identifies as trans-femme, is currently undergoing her medical transition. She recently shared that she underwent Facial Feminisation Surgery (FFS) earlier this year, and has changed her personal name to Hera Hoffer.

In a new interview with Autostraddle, the star of stage and screen explained that she was “anxious” about entering a new phase of her career at the same time as stepping into her authentic self in her personal life.

“There’s a lot of things changing in my life and in flux and in metamorphosis right now personally and with my career. But it’s all working out in a way that makes sense and I’m in a really content place,” she explained.

In addition to her stint in Little Shop of Horrors, Jinkx made Broadway history last year after becoming the first drag artist to take on the role of Matron “Mama” Morton in Chicago, a role she will reprise in June for a limited run. 

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Jinkx Monsoon in Doctor Who
Drag Race icon Jinkx Monsoon will appear in the new season of Doctor Who. (BBC)

She will also star as the campest villain in the Whoniverse in the upcoming new season of Doctor Who, led by queer Sex Education actor Ncuti Gatwa. It’s also been less than two years since she became the first ever Drag Race contestant to win the show twice, first in 2013’s season five, and then 2022’s All Stars 7.

Jinkx described medically transitioning and taking estrogen while completing her current theatre role as a “really special thing”, considering Audrey’s song “Suddenly, Seymour” includes the lyric: “I can learn how to be more, the girl that’s inside me.”

“It’s this wonderful moment of coalescence and serendipity and timing. I never imagined I’d be transitioning while playing Audrey in Little Shop, I never imagined – I didn’t even know any of that was possible for me,” she explained.

“Now it’s all happening at the same time. And instead of feeling overwhelming, it feels really affirming and wonderful, because I’m just as much an actor as I am a transfeminine person. Actor feels like part of my gender identity.”

Is Jinks Monsoon’s Audrey trans in Little Shop of Horrors?

Some queer fans of the Little Shop of Horrors film and musical have long seen Audrey as trans-coded, with some suggesting that the way she is portrayed “fits the stereotypes of trans femininity”.

In 2019, trans Pose actress Michaela Jaé Rodriguez was critically acclaimed for her take on the role at California’s Pasadena Playhouse.

However, Audrey is not canonically a trans woman, and Jinkx Monsoon stressed that she is “not intending to play Audrey as a trans woman”.

Jinkx Monsoon
Jinkx Monsoon. (Getty)

“I’m just trying to play Audrey,” she explained, but she added that it would be “totally plausible” to view her as trans.

“A trans woman in the 1960s would likely be living on Skid Row where she’s an outcast of society. So I use my life experiences and that knowledge to inform this character, but at the end of the day I’m not thinking about Audrey’s genitals,” she added.

“I’m thinking about who the character is and how she fits into this story. That’s what I’m playing. I’m bringing my life experiences but I’m playing Audrey the character.”

Jinkx Monsoon stars as Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors at the Westside Theatre in New York until 26 May and you can buy tickets for the show via ticketmaster.com.

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