Fin Argus / Design by Tiana Crispino

Fin Argus Opens Up About Playing Mingus on Queer As Folk

Queer as Folk—Peacock's reboot of the seminal 2000 series (itself a remake of the 1999 British series)—premiered on June 9 and it's already whipped the internet into a frenzy. It's racially diverse, deeply trans, and unafraid to tackle frighteningly relevant issues. The first episode features a shooting at a gay nightclub, and much of the first season grapples with how the cast reacts in the aftermath of that traumatic event. It's clear from the show's beginning that this isn't Russell T. Davies' Queer as Folk—it's a new story for a new generation of queers.

And thank god for that, because otherwise, we might not have borne witness to the glory that is Fin Argus' performance as Mingus. Argus plays a queer, trans teenager whose overconfidence belies their naivety in the ways of the real world. Mingus is irascible, irrepressible, and full of joy. The character is truly a co-creation between the writers of the show (among them such literary all-stars as Roxane Gay, co-star Ryan O'Connell, and Brontez Purnell) and Argus. "Their genderqueerness wasn't a thing in the original script, and it was really cool to be able to bring that to the table," says Argus about how their gender influenced Mingus. Argus is also an avid skater, so the writers made Mingus a skater too.

That's not to suggest Mingus is a carbon copy of the actor that's brought them to life. "Mingus is 17 years old and very self-actualized at a young age," reflects Argus. "I imagine Mingus never had qualms about coming out. They're the type of person who didn't even come out. They probably were dressing up as Cinderella in elementary school, and it was just always a known thing—which unfortunately wasn't my experience growing up in a pretty conservative community. There was a lot of figuring out and waiting."

These days, the actor, singer, and budding drag performer is self-assured and certain of their identity—even if a bit less-than-confident in their makeup abilities. Over Zoom, Argus and I discussed astrology, turning looks, and exploring new frontiers of gender.

How are you?

Good. I'm in New York right now. It's nice to be here—it's been a while. I'm just catching up with friends and doing some shoots here and there.

Did Queer as Folk film in New York? 

No, it's set in New Orleans. That's where we filmed as well, which was fun. Have you been there?

Not in a long time.

I love it. It grew on me. At first, I was a bit overwhelmed; it's just so high energy. All the time, people are partying. But I got used to it, you know? I found my little corners. I'm a stay-at-home girl, for sure. I post up and love having little game nights—that's my thing. But I like being in the middle of high energy and being able to, like…

Fin Argus / Design by Tiana Crispino

Fin Argus / Design by Tiana Crispino

Going to a party but hanging out with the cat in the corner.

Yeah, that's me. It was fun to have the parade outside my door, and I was just sitting at home. But New Orleans has a beautiful queer scene, so I'm glad the show is based there. It was nice to showcase that. It's unlike anywhere I've ever been. New York and L.A. are extremely queer, and you'll find those pockets, but there's something about New Orleans that feels like there's more of an edge. New York and L.A. are so polished, but New Orleans has a bunch of gritty artists. I loved it. If you go, you should go around Mardi Gras season. There's the whole ballroom scene, and they have this thing called Not Your Dad's Ball. It was the best party I've ever been to.

Tell me about these game nights of yours.

I love throwing game nights! I invite all my friends over. I'm an introvert, so it's hard for me to go up and talk to people. One way I love to socialize is to invite people over that I have just met or sort of know to get to know them better. We'll play get-to-know-you games or social games like Mafia. I love board games, too. I'm a geek.

Have you ever played We're Not Really Strangers?

Yes! I love that game. One of my best friends, Alexis, has this insane collection of question games, so whenever we hang out, I ask her to bring them, but they're probing questions. One of my favorite things is quality time. Whether it's someone I've known for a long time or just met, I like to know what people are feeling and thinking. It's nice to have a forum to explore that. Because, as I said, I'm shy, and I am also a Virgo. So, this structured format of socialization is really helpful for me. 

Do you know your big three or just your sun sign?

I'm a Virgo sun, Scorpio rising, and Capricorn moon.

Fin Argus / Design by Tiana Crispino

Fin Argus / Design by Tiana Crispino

So, you're very grounded, but come off as very intense.

I guess so. It's funny because I don't know if I come off as very intense. I'm very shy, so I have to prep myself to go to events and tell myself, Okay, tonight I'm going to talk to three new people. I was at some fashion event two weeks ago—everyone looked amazing, and I was feeling my oats as well, but I was just in a corner like, Oh my gosh, what do I do? Do I go and talk to a stranger? But the thing is, the questions I like to ask people are not normal "just met you at a party" questions.

You say you don't come across as intense, but the first thing you do when you meet someone is ask them about their greatest fear.

You figured me out! When I think of intense, I think of high energy, which I'm not. But I guess I am pretty intense. I've been told I intimidate people, but I think it's because I'm shy. Also, I can't help but turn heads every time I step out my front door. I wear the craziest outfits, and then I just stand in the corner all moody, so I'm sure people are like, "Who is this girl?"

I feel like I'm relearning how to get dressed after the last two years.

All I did was play dress-up during the lockdown, which was fun. I learned a lot about my queerness, regarding my gender especially, because I finally felt like I was presenting for myself instead of worrying about what people would think when I was going out to buy my groceries in a dress or skirt. 

I started wearing dresses all the time during the lockdown and was like, Oh, this feels good. This feels correct. I'm so grateful for that time because I've been able to take that experience and build up that confidence in my daily life now that the world's opening back up.

What about makeup? Was that part of it too?

I used makeup during the lockdown, but I never got good at it. I'd put lipstick on and maybe some glitter on my eyes. I'm very into makeup as an art form, and while I was filming Queer as Folk, I got into makeup because my character in the show does drag. My best friend also worked on the show—we met while filming. Their name is Chris; they play Daddius. They're super talented at makeup, so they're helping me find my drag persona because we both do drag in our personal lives.

Fin Argus / Design by Tiana Crispino

Fin Argus / Design by Tiana Crispino

I was going to ask if you do drag in your own life.

Before working on the show, I didn't, at least not in the traditional sense. I make music, and when I did shows, I'd put my heels on, wear a dress, and do crazy punk makeup. I guess you could say that was drag because it is gender expansiveness. But the line between my genderqueerness and drag is so blurry. It's only drag if I say it's drag.

Is there any line between your organic self-expression and what you consider to be drag?

The only difference is if I'm getting on the stage and doing the performance. If I'm just putting on makeup and dressing up, I would say that's just me going out to live my life. If I'm getting on a stage and have something prepared, that's drag. The line is very blurry, which I love because I feel my daily life is just as much drag as a man wearing a business suit to a nine-to-five. That is straight-up drag.

What does your beauty routine look like in your own life or when you're doing drag?

I use the heck out of Drunk Elephant. They're a vegan company, and I'm vegan, so I'm super into that. I definitely like don't switch it up super often, but I'll do a face mask or use some oils and nice serums every so often. I'm still finding my products for the more glam stuff because it's pretty new to me, but I love Nars for makeup. I got so much makeup as a Christmas gift from my best friend Chris—it was like a whole drag starter kit. I look in my makeup kit, and I'm like, I don't even know what half this stuff is for, but I'm going to see what happens.

Related Stories