Drag sensation Mo Heart has an eye for serious style and brilliant marketing

June 27, 2023 | By Justin Kirkland, Copywriter

Mo heart

The truth about being a drag entertainer is that the most difficult thing to wear—beyond the makeup, the sequins, the glitter, and the wigs—is, perhaps, the hats. Of course, the hats in question are the figurative ones: artist and businessperson and marketer, to name a few. Mo Heart knows that better than most.

Heart, born Kevin Richardson, has starred on three different seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race, released two Eps of her original music, and hosted the Amazon Music series “The Walk-In,” which takes her inside the closets of some of the music industry’s biggest names. You don’t cultivate a career like that without knowing how to market yourself.

As drag and queer art is experiencing more mainstream visibility than ever before, Heart is navigating the balancing act of maximizing the opportunities before her, creating a brand that resonates beyond Drag Race, and building a career that honors Kevin’s art as much as Mo’s “ooh ah ah sensation.”

You’ve had your own experience with branding and revamping your image, specifically as it pertains to your name—going from Monique to Mo. Can you elaborate on that?

I changed my name for branding, but most importantly, I changed my name because I’ve honestly never wanted to be a drag queen. My original name was Kuthabetch Heart but the name wasn’t really drawing people in at the time. [When I changed to Monique], my name got in the press so I kept it. I no longer feel this desire to portray an illusion of a woman. I know that I am a queer individual that is gorgeous in makeup, but I don’t want to portray something that is not my truth, even in art, especially seeing that so many people right now are. I find my joy in artistry being “other.”

When I think “Mo Heart,” I think of your Drag Race catchphrases—"brown cow stunning” and “ooh ah ah sensation.” As someone who has established and evolved your brand on an international level, how important is it to maximize those viral moments?

It is imperative for one to maximize their opportunities with branding and with building relationships with brands anytime you have a chance. You must always try to build and grow your connections once you have been given a big moment, otherwise it could be a waste of time and you could lose out on other big opportunities.

With Amazon Music, you hosted the series “The Walk In,” which highlights the stage wear of megastars like Lil Nas X and Katy Perry. When choosing projects, how do you decide what is most in line with your artistry and brand?

I am always honored and blessed when given an opportunity to work on a project, especially with other celebrities. Very rarely will I not do a project given to me. I have a great team that understands what works best for me and always knows what truly aligns with my persona.

The opportunity to work with Amazon Music has been nothing short of amazing. I’m actually planning on going back in the studio soon so having this relationship with this major platform I am very grateful for because it can help shine light on my upcoming project.

As someone who works with larger brands, I’m sure you see an influx of requests during Pride month. What’s your advice to brands who want to create an authentic relationship with the LGBTQ+ community?

Work with queer people throughout the year, not only during Pride month. Stop coming to queer people only in June. I think brands should figure out a way to continue to include the queer community in various celebrations and holidays.

You sit at the intersection of a number of identities—can you explain through your eyes why it’s important for brands to seek out diverse talent?

Sometimes I think we get caught up in accepting a placeholder seat of representation rather than seeing actual change. Although, I do think queer and trans people should be on the frontline for roles and opportunities because more often than not we are talented and we can do them just like our straight counterparts. I think that when brands are seeking representation from the queer community it should make sense. Seek out diverse representation in the community that also aligns with what your brand is selling to customers.

We’re seeing more queer representation in the music industry than ever before. How do you manage the balance, honoring your identity without having it engulf your art?

I think the mass media has presented what queerness is. I don’t know if I identify with that, but I cannot run from my queerness because I was introduced to the world through RuPaul’s Drag Race—multiple times—and any exposure I’ve had has always been through performing in drag, so there’s not getting away from that. there’s no getting away from drag because I love it even when I’ve tried to distance myself from drag so I could be seen as an individual and as an artist. But I just want to be able to allow Kevin to unveil and come out in my artistry, even it gets performed by Mo.