(Editor’s Note: This interview with “Tha Original Gata” Monique Dupree was conducted back in December 2011 by Tom Heckbert for the now-defunct website Eyestrane.com. It’s been republished at Idol Features courtesy of Tom.)
Tha Original Gata™ is the lead vocalist for a balls to the wall band called Negro Childe. Negro Childe is a fusion band often compared to a cross between Eminem & Juliette and the Licks. Each song can vary from genre to genre, going from rock to R&B to hip hop to mental. When GATA gets on stage, her grungy manga-anime cat-like persona and unique voice stylings will make it clear to you that she’s not your average front grrl.
Actress Monique Dupree; often referred to affectionately as Tha Original Gata™, has become an underground cultural icon. She tows the line between independent/genre film leading lady and the fringe of the mainstream. Loved ,hated, often challenged she continues to infect the very bloodstream of the horror/sci-fi universe on every media level with her dominating presence and tireless work effort. You can find Monique Dupree’s films online or in stores such as Walmart, Target, FYE, Food Lion, and many other locations.
MONIQUE DUPREE: I play the character Becky. I think the director, John Johnson made sure to keep the spirit of Ed Wood while adding his own style to it.
EYESTRANE: You are known as the first Black Scream Queen and have appeared in an impressive number of horror movie roles. What is it about the genre that you like?
MONIQUE: I’ve always had a love for horror even as a child. I never actually planned to be in horror films, it just happened that way. I love playing the bad guy though, the killer. If I HAD to be typecast, I’d be okay with that.
EYESTRANE: You are also known for being a cult symbol and a sex symbol. How do you feel about the image you portray?
MONIQUE: I know that no matter what I do, people are going to portray me the way THEY see me. I don’t set out to be a sex symbol or a cult symbol. I simply like being myself. I love changing up all the time. That’s why I’m also known for my anime/manga style, Japanese fashion and cat-like persona. I have so many different looks that people hold on to the one they like and they run with it.
EYESTRANE: Was acting something you always wanted to do?
EYESTRANE: Out of the numerous characters you have played, do you have a favorite?
MONIQUE: I really enjoyed Bachelor Party in the Bungalow of the Damned. I loved sitting through 10 hours of makeup for the transformation. I love makeup effects and I especially love when I have to sit through it for some kind of crazy transformation.
EYESTRANE: You’re a model, an actress, the lead singer for the band Negro Childe (ReverbNation.com/negrochilde), and the busy mother of nine children. You also juggle any number of projects at a time. How hard do you find it to find time for yourself and how do you manage it all?!
MONIQUE: Its really hard to find time for myself. Especially since I also manage my daughters’ careers, one who is training to be a wrestler and the other who also have a passion for acting. I have to take things one moment at a time. If I can get five minutes in my steamroom, it’s a good day.
MONIQUE: Yes I have, but nothing as big as this. modeling for Ginger-Stein has been a dream come true! It takes a lot fo acting to do the photo shoot and act out the script with still photography and I get to work with my son Chance Dupree-Thomas, who does all of my photography currently for my character Edie Van Horne. Dennis Willman is BRILLIANT and I’ll continue to work with him for as long as he’ll have me. Such a great cast of people in this project and it just keeps getting better and better.
EYESTRANE: Do you also attend conventions to connect with your fans?
MONIQUE: I attend conventions all the time. I feel its important to make that personal connection with my fanbase. They are the ones who put me on the map, its only right that I meet them up close and personal. I have some VERY cool fans, by the way.
EYESTRANE: What are some of your favorite movies, horror or otherwise, and are there any actors or actresses you hope to work with someday?
EYESTRANE: Is there a film or scene in a movie that has ever scared you?
MONIQUE: There’s been plenty, but I think that having a man that invades your dreams who can kill you, REALLY messed my head up for a bit (referring to Nightmare on Elm Street).
EYESTRANE: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
MONIQUE: As always, I thank my fans for always supporting me and coming to conventions to say hello. I’m also very thankful for all of the artistic creations patterned after me and the gifts. You guys ROCK. Be looking out for my Tumblr site and my official website (see below for links to both), both of which will have my merch for sale. The re-launch happens January 15, 2012.
EYESTRANE: Where can we find out more information about you and your work?
MONIQUE: I have a TON of websites, but here’s a few of my favs:
Facebook Fan Page
Latest demo reel