AUSTIN (KXAN) — Drag superstars Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme are returning to stages across the nation for the holidays — and they hope it helps LGBTQ+ communities find a little bit of themselves in holiday fare.
On Sunday, the two alums of international TV juggernaut “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” will bring their “The Return of the Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Show” to downtown Austin’s Paramount Theatre for a sold-out show.
But while those tickets are gone, Austin-area fans can still catch a new and different show — at Austin’s own Alamo Drafthouse! More on that below.
The special’s described as “the story of two queens who set out to create a classic Christmas TV variety show, but just can’t agree on how.” But the queens also say the show hopes to serve a bigger purpose at this time of year than just giving laughs.
“Our mission statement has always been to give people in the queer community a sense of belonging and a sense of that familial connection to a larger network of people at this time of year when there’s so much emphasis on family and being together and gathering around a fireplace,” says Monsoon. “Queer people don’t necessarily have access to all of that, whether with their blood family or in their financial situation.”
Coming from misty Seattle, Jinkx Monsoon would go on to be crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar in season four of “Drag Race” in 2013. Known for her theatrical and Old Hollywood aesthetic, Jinkx’s elegant but off-kilter style cemented her as a perennial standout among contestants.
BenDeLaCreme, or “DeLa,” as she’s referred to, is known for being “terminally delightful.” The cheery and glamorous showgirl from Seattle made her “Drag Race” debut on the show’s sixth season in 2014, where she snagged the Miss Congeniality prize. She later made a splash on the third season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars,” where, in a much-talked-about twist, she sent herself home.
Both queens created, wrote, and star in the show: which features singing, dancing, and acting. DeLa also directs and produces. Both of the gals perform around the country during the regular (non-pandemic) year and have appeared in various TV and film spots. But their holiday show holds a special place for both ladies.
While Jinkx says her favorite holiday memory was going to her grandmother’s house on Christmas Eve — “the one time of year we all came together and played at being a ‘Hallmark’ film family”— DeLa says she doesn’t really have a favorite holiday memory.
“I didn’t love the holidays growing up,” she says. “My character in the film is very, very pro-holiday. She has an attachment to some mystical childhood that she had but that was not my experience. I very much felt alienated and like I had to go home and be with a family who didn’t really get me and I didn’t get them. And so, I started creating holiday content about 14 years ago and a big part of that was really that I wanted a place to go where I could be surrounded with people who shared my values and who I felt a sense of love and connection with.”
While the season presents various stressors for most people, for LGBTQ+ people, being home for the holidays can trigger a wealth of anxiety and depression related to whether or not they’ll be welcome.
Whether it’s family members who won’t accept their identities, pronouns, or significant others, queer people may feel unwelcome to attend festivities or as though they can’t be themselves if they do attend.
“While experiences vary by individual, most of my LGBTQ and non-binary identifying clients report similar feelings of tension and stress during the holiday season,” Psychologist Dr. Logan Jones, head of NYC Therapy and Wellness told NBC News. “Common struggles range from anxiety and depression to feelings of rejection for freely expressing their authentic selves. For these clients, going home for the holidays is not always a time of bliss, but a painful reminder of moments of their ‘otherness’ within their families.”
Many in the LGBTQ+ communities may find more solace staying with their circle of friends or specific family members — their “chosen family.”
Jinkx and DeLa say they are seeing their special become popular among queer communities, as friends gather to watch together and carve out their own family tradition.
“We created the show to give a sense of homecoming,” says Jinkx.
“The Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Special” will be shown at Austin’s hometown Alamo Drafthouse, where it’ll air Dec. 8, 13 and 15 at the South Lamar and Lakeline locations. The queens emphasize the movie’s not a recording of the live show, but a completely new special for the holiday similar to a classic TV holiday special.
You can catch a peek of the film above.
For more information, visit the Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special website.