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Jinkx Monsoon reveals why she isn't saying 'water off a duck's back' on RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7

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For RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7 queen Jinkx Monsoon, it's famously water off a duck's back — until it isn't, that is.

The season 5 winner tells EW she isn't saying her iconic mantra in AS7 following an emotionally taxing battle with fan perception after she popularized the catchphrase during trying times on the Drag Race set before taking the crown 10 years ago.

"I still do talk myself up because you have to work against your own anxieties and self-doubt. I wasn't repeating it to myself out loud this season because I didn't want to give any fuel to any criticism," Jinkx says of why she kept the saying internal across the first all-winners season in franchise her-story, noting that a certain sect of the fandom perceived her as weak for boosting her own self-confidence on the Main Stage. "But that doesn't mean it wasn't there with me the whole time and that I wasn't using that mantra."

Jinkx Monsoon on 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7'
Jinkx Monsoon on 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7'

World of Wonder/Paramount+ Jinkx Monsoon wears her handmade purple dress on the 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7' ball challenge

Before the show continues Friday on Paramount+, read on for Jinkx's full AS7 episode 3 recap, in which she tells us why she hasn't taken a sewing class since season 5, how she feels about Raja getting booted on Fashion Photo RuView, and why Rolaskatox played into her decision to decline an invitation to join Monét X Change and Trinity The Tuck in their budding alliance.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You were nervous about your ball look, but it turned out beautifully.

JINKX MONSOON: My friends and my loved ones want me to find a way to channel that anxiety into confidence so I can do well without outing myself through so much rigmarole and chaos and torture. But also, as an artist whose only ever done things one way, if I take out the anxiety, torture, and chaos, will I still be me? That's what therapy and witchcraft are for.

It's a torturous cycle: People around you want to channel that into confidence, and all RuPaul wants you to do is take a sewing class.

[Laughs] I don't know if it aired, but we did have a conversation about how there just hasn't been time. I didn't know I'd be going back on All Stars, so I didn't put work into learning new sewing skills because over the years I've worked with so many amazing designers, most notably The Lady Hyde, who designs about 90 percent of what I wear. One of my strengths I've learned throughout the years is how to delegate. I had a plan for the design challenge, but I kind of lost sight of that and second-guessed myself throughout the process.

What was the game plan?

Just braid an entire dress together, so even if it wasn't the most stunning creation, at least it showed some craftsmanship and ingenuity.

How much did Trinity actually help with on the garment?

What Trinity did was talk me off the ledge. There was no time to start over, and if I had started over, who knows what I would've worn down the runway. There was part of me that wanted to take everything apart and start again, which wasn't realistic. When Trinity came over and saw me at that tipping point, what she did was say, okay, here's what you do from this point to finish. That little boost kept me going and kept me from making a huge mistake of starting over.

Vanna White and Jinkx Monsoon on 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7'
Vanna White and Jinkx Monsoon on 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7'

Paramount+/World of Wonder Vanna White and Jinkx Monsoon wear the same look on 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7'

Monét and Trinity then asked you to join their alliance, which you declined. Did the dynamic change after that?

It was flattering to be invited into an alliance this time, but it was also nerve-racking because I had confirmation that there were two people working together, and it's usually every queen for herself. I had a very clear-cut game plan for the whole season, and an alliance wasn't part of that. Even though it was tempting and flattering, I had to stick to my instincts of knowing that I had already mapped out how I was going to play this game and I didn't want to be derailed. I have nothing against them, everyone's entitled to play how they want, but for me going solo was the way I saw this working out.

I know season 5 was filmed 10 years ago and things aren't always as they seem on TV, but did an aversion to Rolaskatox play into your aversion to the alliance?

I think so. Having been on the other end of an alliance, there was a part of me that didn't want to contribute to that in this season, but there was nothing malicious about this alliance. I think more than anything Trinity and Monét wanted to put to rest rumors that they have animosity towards each other, and that, I fully support. Season 5 was often a very isolating experience for me, and it was hard at times, filming All Stars 7, not to go back into that place and have flashbacks of when I felt very alone in the competition, and any time I started to feel that way, it was nice that there was a room full of queens reminding me that I'm not alone and we all have each other's backs. That sisterhood carried us all at different points through the season.

You're still playing a game. How did finding out about that alliance, which you clocked last week, change your strategy going forward?

It informed that I knew, if it ever comes down to Trinity or Monét blocking someone, they weren't going to block each other, so I just kept that in mind. I tried to be realistic. I tried not to focus too much on the blocking because if I am to get blocked, that just lights a fire under me to win another challenge so I can't get blocked.

You can prepare like that, but after the ball Jaida Essence Hall of course won and blocked you. How did it feel to be blocked?

It felt fine. I took inspiration from when Trinity was the first person blocked; she could've thrown a fit and been upset, but she took the plunger and made a joke out of it. I found that to be inspiring. I made a joke on the runway to make myself feel better, I said, "Watch out, this is my only weakness," which isn't even true. I wasn't trying to be too braggy or cocky, I was just trying to make myself feel better when I knew I hadn't done my best. It was clear the moment it came out of my mouth, like, why did you say that? Because of course you're going to get blocked because you just told everyone you were good at everything else. I hope it's received as me just trying to have fun with the moment and not being a cocky bitch.

Trinity The Tuck and Monét X Change attempt to bring Jinkx Monsoon into their 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7' alliance
Trinity The Tuck and Monét X Change attempt to bring Jinkx Monsoon into their 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7' alliance

World of Wonder/Paramount+ Trinity The Tuck and Monét X Change attempt to bring Jinkx Monsoon into their 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7' alliance

I've also noticed that you haven't said "water off a duck's back" this season. Are you consciously not saying it out loud?

It was more of an internal monologue this time. I don't like to give too much weight to fan criticisms, but I did notice that my first time on season 5, there were times I saw people saying things like, "A winner isn't someone who has to talk themselves up like Jinkx does," and there was a part of me that wanted to show that I had that strength within myself without having to remind myself… What I'll say to that criticism is: We're human beings. I've been reminding myself that everyone has an opinion on how you should do things, but you can't put much weight on that until that person has done what you've done… The expectation that we should be perfect human beings with zero character flaws is so unrealistic. Until you've gone through it, until you've done 18-plus years of drag, until you've been on Drag Race twice, you can't really tell me how to do it, because out of the two of us, only one of us has done it.

Let's also talk about the drama in the fandom this week: Raja getting booted on Fashion Photo RuView. How do you feel about that?

I don't know that I have big feelings about that other than that I don't understand, because Raja's looks are always so well thought out. Everything is so subjective, and Raja's booted so many people before… I know Raja is confident in what she's put on the runway, and I don't think a boot from anyone is going to slow Raja down or impede on Raja's sense of self. But yeah, I don't agree with the boot because I thought Raja looked fantastic and the story behind it was fantastic. Her and I looked great standing next to each other in our period costumes!

Subscribe to EW's BINGE podcast for full recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race, including weekly All Stars 7 recaps and reactions with the cast, special guests, and more.

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