Neon-green waves, inches down to the floor, an Afro reaching toward the sky — that’s the magic of wigs. Snatched is a week-long celebration of wigs, the people who wear them, and their role in Black beauty culture.
For the finale of Ru Paul's Drag Race All Stars, Monét X Change strutted on stage in a platinum faux-loc wig and an African print gown, and she walked away with the crown (a prize she shares with fellow competitor Trinity the Tuck). The New York-based drag queen broke boundaries as the first Black winner of the competition, and she did it while representing her own personal style. The unique hairpiece Monét wore for the finale is just one of many fly and meaningful units sitting in her $15,000 wig closet — and we got an exclusive tour in the latest episode of Hair Me Out.
"Growing up as a West Indian kid, I've had strong women around me my entire life and they all had an obsession with wigs," she tells Refinery29. "It's why I feel the need to not just wear long, silky, straight hair all the time. That’s so boring; it’s so vanilla. I like to wear natural hair and show off the beautiful kaleidoscope that all different women have."
X Change prides herself on embracing Black culture through her hair choices, but it hasn't come without its challenges. "I’ve been called everything in the book for no good reason," she says. "I've been shamed for wearing Afros and box braids, and I've gotten backlash for not being as glamorous because of those styles. But just because you don't see them all the time doesn't mean they're not beautiful."
X Change went on to explain that — despite the diverse contestants on Ru Paul's Drag Race — queens of color aren't always supported by the show's fans. "The fan base does not always reflect how inclusive the show is," she says. "They can be very mean and nasty — especially towards queens of color, who have even more hardships to excel after the show."
But that doesn't stop the X Change show from going on. "If you don't like the fact that I wear Afros, I'm gonna wear three times as many, just to piss you off," she says. "When people look at me, I want them to see how proud and unapologetically Black and myself I am."
Click play to get a better look at Monét's massive (and meaningful) wig collection.