Jinkx Monsoon is the stage name of American drag performer, and winner of RuPaul's Drag Race season 5, Jerick Hoffer.
Jerick Hoffer was born in Portland, Oregon. The oldest of four children, they attended daVinci Arts for middle school and graduated from Grant High School. They came out as gay in middle school, also identifying as genderless. They first performed in drag at the age of 15 at the underage nightclub, Escape.
Hoffer was raised Catholic. When they were eighteen, they found Russian-Jewish ancestry on their mother's side. Their drag character, Jinkx, is characterized as Jewish. Hoffer also suffers from narcolepsy, a fact that they revealed in the season premiere of RuPaul's Drag Race.
Hoffer worked as a janitor through college and graduated summa cum laude with a BFA in theater from Cornish College of the Arts in 2010. They have lived in Seattle, Washington since 2006.
After moving to Seattle from Portland, Hoffer and creative partner Nick Sahoyah wrote and starred in multiple Funny or Die webisodes titled Monsoon Season in which they played Jinkx Monsoon as an over-bearing, substance addled, near-psychotic mother to Nick Sahoya's character, Kamikaze Monsoon.
In 2011, Monsoon appeared in Wes Hurley film Waxie Moon in Fallen Jewel. On February 28, 2013, the first screening at Seattle's Central Cinema was hosted by Monsoon and Waxie Moon.
In January 2012, Hoffer appeared as Moritz in the rock musical Spring Awakening at the Balagan Theater in Seattle. Controversy arose from The Seattle Times review by Misha Berson, who said that they were "overly flamboyant" for the role. Dan Savage defended Hoffer's portrayal of Moritz. From July 21 to August 19, Monsoon starred as Angel in the 5th Avenue Theatre's production of the musical RENT.
In January 2013, they played Hedwig in the Moore Theatre's production of the rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Balagan reprised the production in December 2013 for a week long run with Hoffer and the original cast/production team.
In June 2013 Hoffer played Velma Von Tussle in the Seattle Men's Chorus/5th Avenue Theatre's production of the musical Hairspray . This was a limited run staged reading/concert of the musical with costumes and limited props but no sets or elaborate choreography and featured the Seattle Men's Chorus onstage with the cast.
Hoffer also performs as Jinkx Monsoon in the original one act cabaret musical The Vaudevillians under the name "Kitty Witless." Hoffer is accompanied by musical partner and co-creator Richard Andriessen, who performs under the name "Dr. Dan Von Dandy." The Vaudevillians performed at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York City from July to November 2013.
In 2013 Hoffer was chosen as one of the Artists of the Year by City Arts Magazine along with Megan Griffiths, Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, and Wes Hurley.
Monsoon played Tallulah/Dennis, the owner of Lipstick Lounge in Blue Bloods "Manhattan Queens", which aired on January 31, 2014.
Drag Becomes Him
In June 2011, Hoffer became subject to a YouTube docu-series by Alex Berry, a Seattle videographer. Named after Death Becomes Her, one of Jinkx's favorite movies, Drag Becomes Him explores Hoffer's life in and out of drag. The series has continued since the finale of RuPaul's Drag Race and will offer insight into their life since the show.
In October 2013 it was announced that Drag Becomes Him was being turned into a feature-length film with Seattle based producer Basil Shadid on board. A Kickstarter campaign in March 2014 successfully raised funds to complete the project. March 26, 2015 Hoffer announced on their Instagram page that the film will premiere at the Cinerama in Seattle on April 29, 2015.
RuPaul's Drag Race
In November 2012, Logo announced that Jinkx Monsoon was among 14 drag queens who would be competing on the fifth season of RuPaul's Drag Race. Hoffer was inspired to audition after seeing Sharon Needles, another high-concept, character-driven drag queen, on the fourth season of the show. Monsoon won the main-challenges for the episodes "Snatch Game" and "Drama Queens." For the "Snatch Game," Monsoon impersonated Edith Bouvier Beale, who was known for appearing in the documentary Grey Gardens. Monsoon also impersonated third season contestant Mimi Imfurst for the episode "Lip Synch Extravaganza Eleganza." As part of RuPaul's Drag Race, Monsoon sang on the "We Are the World"-inspired song "Can I Get an Amen?" The song's proceeds helped benefit the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. Monsoon also holds the record for most consecutive weeks being in the top, at 8 weeks. On May 10, 2013, Monsoon was named the Season 5 winner of RuPaul's Drag Race, winning the title of "America's Next Drag Superstar."
Hoffer's drag persona is inspired by their mother and the comediennes Lucille Ball, Maria Bamford, Deven Green, and Sarah Silverman. Their last name, Monsoon, is derived from the character Edina Monsoon from the British sitcom Absolutely Fabulous. Hoffer also performs as the drag character Deirde A. Irwin, who is a Southern medium.