Beth Ditto Steps Into the World of Country Music for Monarch


You have spent most of your career in music and fashion and started getting into acting in 2018. How do you go about picking the projects you want to be a part of, and how did Monarch come to you?

Oh, honey, I don’t pick them. I’ve auditioned for a few things and didn’t get them. COVID definitely shook every musician I know, the touring ones, because that’s our bread and butter. So any opportunity for something, I would take it. I like acting. It’s easy. That’s oversimplifying it, but it’s different as opposed to writing a record because it’s already written for you. But I really was scared because I didn’t know what I was going to do, and I was considering what I could do remotely. During COVID, I had my nieces a lot while their parents worked, so it was Auntie Beth’s daycare over here. I thought, “I could actually see myself doing this and having a really fulfilling career.” So I thought maybe I could go into childcare development and take online classes or something. But then [Monarch] came up, and they described the character as a fat lesbian country singer, and I was like, I really want that part. I tried really hard to get it. I auditioned four times, and I was like, they are crazy if they don’t pick me. For one, I’m a Southerner and familiar with all of that stuff. I [also] play music for a living. I was up against really great people, and I’m really flattered that I got it. It came in at the 11th hour. 

You play Gigi Taylor-Roman, the daughter of two country legends, who is a country star on the rise herself. Can you tell me a little more about what we can expect from Gigi?

I’m one of seven kids, so I know that funny feeling of being the little sister. Even though my sister and I are close and we love each other very much, it wasn’t a rivalry or anything, but I can definitely really relate to Gigi and Nicki. I really understand how society and sexism create this idea that there can only be one queen, like this town’s not big enough for both of us. It reminds me of, bear with me if you will, you know Bikini Kill? It reminds me of in the ’90s when Hole and Bikini Kill, the media created this rivalry. People would ask in interviews, “Bikini Kill or Hole?” And I think it was Tobi [Vail] from Bikini Kill who said, “Why can’t you like both? There’s enough room for everybody. Why does it have to be this thing?” So I can understand that in sisterhood and being a musician and how the patriarchy sets us up to fight against each other and how that even happens in families. 

How do you personally relate to Gigi and her experience in the show?

I think with Gigi, there is a relatable person for the chubby kid or for whatever person feels like they are different than or other than. Not less than, but anyone who has carved their own path because they were like, this isn’t going to work for me, so I’m going to have to make it up as I go along. I really can relate to Gigi like that.

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