Ginger Minj is thriving despite the state of the world. The hellfire that’s been 2020 hasn’t slowed down the Drag Race superstar, as she’s served up a guest spot on Netflix’s AJ & The Queen, her own streaming variety shows, and her newest role in Broadway Murder Mysteries’ digital gaming experience, Drama At Drag Brunch.
We caught up with the legendary queen and self-proclaimed “glamor toad” over zoom to talk about how murder mysteries led to her drag career, the creative freedom of quarantine, and the Drag Race spin-off she’d love to see (and host).
Hey there! How are you?
I’m doing great, thanks. How have you been holding up during quarantine?
Surprisingly well. I mean, there’s only so many times you can put on the pearls and rearrange the furniture before you end up where you started – but I try to keep as busy as possible.
It feels like folks in drag and theater communities have been pushed to be more creative during the pandemic just to get by. What kind of projects have you been working on during lockdown?
The one thing I can say is that art is timeless. There’s always been a way to find an artistic outlet, from the beginning of time to now. So it doesn’t matter what kind of obstacles are in the way, there’s always some solution. Because we as humans need an outlet. We need to be creative! And I think art also helps to heal.
So I’ve been doing as many online shows as possible. We completely converted the garage into a little old fashioned TV studio, and we’ve been putting on variety shows.
Has that felt freeing in some ways? Getting to explore more of your creative voice.
It’s forced me to be a lot more creative and think outside of the box. Especially after Drag Race, I’ve been on tour constantly for six years now. And it’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s also the same show. You put together a show and you go out for six months. Then you come back and put together another one. It’s always the same thing.
The one thing about the digital platform is you get a lot of repeat audience members, so you can’t do the same thing. Every show’s been different. We were like, “Let’s do a Disney Spectacle!” So we started making animals out of feather dusters. Literally whatever was laying around the garage we’ve turned it into costumes and props.
I feel like I’ve worked harder during quarantine than I have in the last seven years. It’s been really great! It got to the point where I wasn’t tapping into the creativity so much. I was just trying to do the things I knew that worked. I was a product. I was on the road. Now it’s forced me to step outside and say things like, “Look at that plant! Let’s put it on our head.” Just silly stuff. It’s been really fun and very freeing.
Some Drag Race girls are criticized for being “instagram queens.” Do you think your theatre background helped you during your two runs on Drag Race?
I think there’s a certain level of confidence that comes with a theatrical background. I think that confidence really helped me reach the end of season 7. But it’s a double-edged sword, because sometimes when you’re like me—when you’re a theatre baby—you put the emphasis on the performance aspect and the aesthetics are on the backburner. I feel like I put so much focus performing well that I kind of viewed all the fashion and the runway as a second thought, and I think that bit me on the ass in the very end.
The Drag Race franchise continues to grow, with Canada’s Drag Race and RuPaul’s Drag Race: Vegas Revue. If you could produce your own Drag Race spin-off, what would it be?
I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do a…I don’t wanna say rip-of because that cheapens it, but a rip-off of Dance Moms called Drama Queens. Where you get someone like me—ya know what? I’m gonna say me, because it’s my idea and I wanna host it! But you would get new up-in-coming drag queens and teach them and put them through their paces. They’d go to competitions every week, and open mic nights, and see how they grow. Do they win? Do they lose? What are the dramas? I think it would be fun!
Speaking of new drag projects, you’re starring alongside some drag legends like Alexis Michelle, Mayhem Miller, and Landon Cider in Drama at Drag Brunch, an interactive murder mystery game produced by Broadway Murder Mysteries. How did you get involved with the project? Are you a murder mystery fan?
Here’s the tea! I got my drag footing when I worked at Sleuth’s here in Orlando. It’s the longest-running murder mystery theater in the world. I started the show as an old Scottsman and then I’d come back fifteen minutes later as a policewoman to investigate my own death. It really taught me a lot about how to do drag, how to do it quickly. It really forced me to create a fully developed character of my own – which is where Ginger stems from. So I did that for 12 years. I love murder mysteries! I think there’s something very classic about it.
I got involved with Broadway Murder Mysteries when my agent reached out to me about it and I read through it, and I said, “Oh, this is right up my alley!” It’s exactly what I did for years and years. It’s something that’s familiar to me and it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. I was happy to be a part of it.
And doing a drag murder mystery is great because drag queens and detectives are both famous kind of nosy and shady.
Yes! Everyone wants to be in on the secret. Everyone wants that insider tea. That’s what murder mysteries are all about. It’s a puzzle. I think that’s why people really get into this sort of thing.
Plus it gives folks a way to get together during quarantine!
And it’s something that makes you work together.
Before we go, speaking of quarantine. What’ve you been binge watching during lockdown?
I just watched this movie called Don’t Talk to Irene, which randomly popped up on Amazon Prime. It’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in years. I’ve watched it three times already. It’s about this little fat girl—and she’s a beautiful little fat girl—and she wants to be a cheerleader. But everything steps in her way. It’s really funny. It’s very sweet. It has a satisfying ending. It’s completely perfect. I really recommend it. So go and watch it, watch it again, and then call me and we’ll watch it together.
I love it! What have you been listening to on repeat?
Oh, I always have my Broadway stations going in the background.
And finally, what’s been your favorite snack recently?
Actually, I know it’s so random, but I really love stuffed peppers. So I’ve been on this stuffed peppers from around the world journey the past few months. My favorite so far was the polish version – it has a mixture of turkey, beef, golden raisins, and couscous instead of rice. It sounds really strange. When I was making it I thought, “this is going to be disgusting.” It is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. If you ever come across any stuffed pepper recipes, just send them to me. I love how adaptable they are, but they’re always kind of familiar.
Like a Murder Mystery!