'I don't want to be funny, I want to be beautiful': Meet the man who hopes to become Australia's first drag supermodel after storming the runway in both menswear and couture

  • Monty Thomas, 26, was the first drag queen to walk in Queensland fashion show 
  • Monty was endlessly bullied as a child and teen for his feminine features 
  • But it was fuel to the fire as he combined his love for dance and art into drag 
  • He has been performing in drag for nine years as the gorgeous Jess Whoo
  • Now he's out to prove that drag queens have a place in the fashion industry
When Monty Thomas was a child and young teen, he was endlessly bullied for his feminine features. 
From one building of his Queensland high school to another Monty would be verbally abused, as peers and even teachers made fun of his looks. 
But now those chiseled cheekbones, arched eyebrows, and pouty lips help Monty transform into Jess Whoo, his gorgeous drag persona.
And one day he hopes to take her where few drag queens have gone before - the runway.
Monty Thomas, 26, walked down the runway at the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival both for Myer's Menswear and in couture as his drag persona
Monty got to appear in drag twice for his runway debut as Jess Whoo
Monty Thomas, 26, walked down the runway at the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival both for Myer's Menswear (left) and in couture as his drag persona, Jess Whoo (right)
Now Monty, from Queensland, is working to become Australia's first drag queen supermodel
Now Monty, from Queensland, is working to become Australia's first drag queen supermodel
It has been a long and hard journey for Monty, who never felt accepted in his little town of Noosa on the Sunshine Coast.
'I was a very feminine-looking child,' he told Daily Mail Australia. 'People would say I looked like a young girl.' 
'I was very harshly bullied at school, it was the worst environment for me in terms of being myself.' 
'In small towns, people have small minds,' he added. 'I don't say that as an insult, but when you live in a small town you don't get to see different things.' 
'I was doing something different and, instead of praising my individuality, it was brought down. But it would always add fuel to the fire.'   
Monty, now 26, was able to find an escape from the cruelty through dance, throwing himself into ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary and musical theatre. 
Dance, as well as his tight-knit group of friends from church, were his safe zones. 
'With dancing, I could just be myself,' he said. 
It has been a long and hard journey for Monty, who never felt accepted in his little town of Noosa on the Sunshine Coast where he was constantly bullied for his 'feminine features'
Both students and teachers at Monty's high school made fun of how he dressed and looked
It has been a long and hard journey for Monty, who never felt accepted in his little town of Noosa on the Sunshine Coast where he was constantly bullied for his 'feminine features' 
Monty found an escape from the cruelty through dance and his passion for wearable art, which a friend suggested he combine to join the drag world 
Monty found an escape from the cruelty through dance and his passion for wearable art, which a friend suggested he combine to join the drag world 
'I was usually the only boy in the class, but it didn't matter. Since you're doing the same thing with all the girls, you're not really discriminated against.' 
In fact, within those four walls of the dance studio, it was quite the opposite. Monty often got to be the star. 
'Being the only boy meant I got to be the center of attention,' he said. 
That place on center stage is no longer unfamiliar to Monty, who has been performing in drag for the last nine years.
It was an organic transition as Monty combined his love for both dance and wearable art to performing in his own creations. 
Monty first dipped his foot into the world of drag long before it became known in mainstream pop culture thanks to RuPaul's Drag Race.
When Monty first began, he found that much of the drag world was still based in comedy - a direction he didn't feel really fit him. 
'It was very Priscilla Queen of the Desert,' he said, referencing the famous 1994 Australian dramedy starring Guy Pearce. 
Monty first dipped his foot into the world of drag long before it became known in mainstream pop culture thanks to RuPaul's Drag Race
Monty first dipped his foot into the world of drag long before it became known in mainstream pop culture thanks to RuPaul's Drag Race
When Monty first began, he found that much of the drag world was still based in comedy - a direction he didn't feel really fit his desire to be 'creative and beautiful' 
When Monty first began, he found that much of the drag world was still based in comedy - a direction he didn't feel really fit his desire to be 'creative and beautiful' 
'I didn't want to be funny,' he continued. 'I wanted to be creative and beautiful.' 
Monty describes his drag style as being on opposite sides of a spectrum, sometimes beautiful and ethereal and other times androgynous and grungy.  
His 'conceptual' drag is always inspired by a feeling, whether that be empowerment or sadness, that he then turns into a look.
One such design was inspired by the death of a close friend, who lost his battle with leukemia. 
'I covered myself in paper butterflies and pastel colours. They were the colour of his skin when he was suffering. I took that memory and turned it into a visual.'  
No matter what Jess is wearing, Monty has always tried to show everyone from his family to his small town that there is art behind drag.
'I want to show that when people dress in women's clothes, or something that isn't supposed to be for them by social standards, it doesn't make them weird,' he said.
No matter what Jess is wearing, Monty has always tried to show everyone from his family to his small town that there is art behind drag
No matter what Jess is wearing, Monty has always tried to show everyone from his family to his small town that there is art behind drag
He has worked club gigs and weddings, but is now hoping to take his act onto the runway
He has worked club gigs and weddings, but is now hoping to take his act onto the runway
'Drag is creative, it's freeing. I feel free.' 
And now Monty is hoping to take his mission to bigger stages, specifically those that come with a runway. 
Monty got his first taste of modelling last October, when he became the first drag queen in Queensland to walk in a fashion show. 
He was asked to come to a casting for the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival after winning a prestigious style award, and was selected to walk for Myer's menswear. 
But Monty also emailed the festival organiser pictures of him in drag, and she also decided to cast him in two other shows as Jess Whoo. 
The experience of walking down the runway as his drag persona was unforgettable. 
'The response was really amazing,' he said. 'Usually with each model there's some applause, but there was cheering and clapping when I came out.'  
'It was nice to look out and have acceptance, and people celebrating my work.'
After that show, Monty realised just how influential drag could be in the fashion industry and decided he wanted to become Australia's first ever drag supermodel.
Monty describes his drag style as being on opposite sides of a spectrum, sometimes beautiful and ethereal and other times androgynous and grungy
Monty describes his drag style as being on opposite sides of a spectrum, sometimes beautiful and ethereal and other times androgynous and grungy
He is now working to turn that dream into a reality, spending the last five months building a portfolio that he can show agencies to gain representation. 
Monty has also living back at home and is working at a high-calibre salon as a hairdresser to save money so he can move to Melbourne within the year. 
He's hoping to show how powerful a diverse model can be in the fashion industry, and prove they can model anything - and sell products to anyone. 
'Drag is diverse and progressive,' Monty said. 'And it can be presented in elaborate and understated ways.'
Monty hopes that making a name for himself as a model would prove to people that they can do whatever they want in life, no matter the society norm
Monty hopes that making a name for himself as a model would prove to people that they can do whatever they want in life, no matter the society norm
Monty hopes that making a name for himself as a model would also prove to people that they can do whatever they want in life, no matter the society norm. 
'Women don't have to subdue themselves to a feminine job or lifestyle and men don't have to wear pants if they don't want to - they can wear a skirt!' he said. 
'We shouldn't be ridiculed for that. It doesn't matter what a person is wearing or what they're doing, as long as they're good people.' 
It's a feeling of acceptance that Monty was denied for most of his life, but that he felt full force on that catwalk.
'Walking on a runway, it was like putting the cherry on top of the sundae,' he said.
'I entered a world that drag is not usually seen in and I'm showcased and shown off for exactly who I am.'