We spent some time speaking with Monica Beverly Hillz from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5. Most noted for outing as a transgender woman on the show, she has since conducted several interviews where she’s let the world know her struggle. We asked her to spill the “T” a little more.
Monica Beverly Hillz grew up in Chicago with her adopted mother, who is also her Godmother & Mother’s Sister. She grew up with everything she needed, took nice vacations and had openness about her relationship with her birth mother. Her aunt was a beacon of light and brought her up right. She was so thankful for never having gone without and always having an open and honest relationship.
Her mother passed when she was in junior high school and it left her in a terrible state. She ran away from home to her birth mother’s hometown bordering Kentucky in the southern tip of Indiana. When in Indiana she said she’d felt more comfortable living as a girl, so she would during the weekend; five days at school as a boy and two as a girl. People called her “Miss” and she didn’t understand it, but there was something more than just being gay.
When in high school, her freshman year, she “ended up in the hospital, I tried to kill myself.” The torment of her gender issues with the kids in high school kicking, punching and hurting her because she was different led her to feel the need to die. Her sophomore year she decided to keep true to herself, she “grew out [her] hair,” and stopped trying to fit in. It still didn’t feel quite right to be in Indiana so she dropped out of school and returned to Chicago.
Fast forward ten years. Even though she’d been doing drag for a decade already, she admitted it may not have been the right time to participate in RuPaul’s Drag Race because she was still discovering herself during the show. She has since developed her inner self and she looks back thinking, “I was going through so much stuff that nobody even knows.” It put a level of doubt in her head that she could do what she was being asked to do. She was glad she was cast on Season 5 with all the experienced queens. She bonded a lot with Coco Montrese while on RuPaul’s Drag Race but “the first to know about [the] T was Roxxxy Andrews… I look up to her.”
“Drag is what I do, Trans is who I am… People don’t realize how hard it is to explain the situation.” Monica Beverly Hillz turns into “Victoria The Vixen” when she’s performing and admits when she’s performing drag she does have some sense of empowerment that doesn’t exist as her daytime version. But she does have a lot more confidence during the daytime about herself since she’s come to terms with herself.
As far as future plans, she does hope to do more public speaking and possibly turning her life story into a memoir or chronicle. She wishes she could help everyone who writes to her because she knows the difficulty of a transgender woman. She received fan mail from someone who was in the same place as her when she was an escort and she felt really bad but didn’t “want to be the person to say, ‘it’s gonna be ok,’ it’s not gonna be ok… If you don’t get yourself help now it’s gonna get worse for you.”
She did say she was a shy person. She has “a horrible fear of speaking in front of people.” She said, “I’m shy as hell, but I just know how to hide it.” But she did admit to once she opens up she is “loud as hell.” She doesn’t consider herself “this huge freakin’ superstar.” She considers herself, “a person who has followed [her] dreams, who has [not] let [anybody] come between what [she] believes and what [she] expects.” She said she’s always followed her heart and isn’t on a pedestal. She wants to go “down in history as the person that had enough courage to speak for those who don’t have that voice.”
In her down time, she’s dating and enjoying her fan base. She’s got a very supportive group of fans who she’s very thankful for. She’s able to enjoy the day to day more than ever and we look forward to seeing what’s next for her. She gave a big shout out to her current management company, Shooting Star Management Company. She said they are so professional, personal friends and confidants.
We want to thank Monica for spending time with us and letting us in on her journey and congratulate her on being honored as one of the 30 most influential people in the LGBT community under 30, “30 Under 30.” Monica’s strength, endurance and resilience is astounding and inspiring.