Fan-favorite Pandora Boxx made an early exit from RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race. One of the top four in Season 2, Pandora was hoping to show off her improvement in the intervening years. And then the contestants were told they were to compete in teams of two. She talked to Channel Guide about the experience and her new music video.
Channel Guide Magazine: Obviously the way you left All Stars was not the way you wanted to leave All Starsbut now that it’s been a little time what are your thoughts on how your experience was and how things ended up?
Pandora Boxx: I think my feelings are kind of the same as they were then. I kind of felt that we were destined for failure. We got the team name Mandora. It felt like they weren’t taking us seriously to begin with. But you know, it is what it is and I still feel very lucky that I was even chosen to be on All Stars.
CGM: So you guys didn’t pick the name?
Pandora: No, I would not pick Mandora.
CGM: The filming of All Stars, I think we’re all smart enough to know that it’s not a week you guys get to film an episode, but how long are you filming?
Pandora: Generally an episode is 2 days but it depends on the episode. I think the first one was three.
CGM: So you got a little more time, but not much.
Pandora: No there’s always a time crunch and that’s part of the whole stress factor and we’re kind of like at each other’s throats because we have no time to do everything that they want us to do. … You kind of lose track of time. You don’t have a phone. There are no clocks. They’re always saying “Time’s running out. Time’s running out! You should be ready.” And then you’ll get ready, and then you’re rushing and then you sit and wait another hour.
CGM: Was being on All Stars different from being on Drag Race the first time?
Pandora: Yeah, definitely because you kind of knew going in what to expect. But it certainly brought back some flashbacks especially when Santino’s like “I’m not really feeling this outfit” and I’m like “Oh, good Lord.”
CGM: Do you have memories of things that happened on All Stars where you think “why didn’t they show that?”
Pandora: I did actually because when they first previewed the episode online on Facebook and that was the episode they showed at the premiere parties. They cut a lot out, that just me giving a stank face. Cut to me giving a stank face. An argument stank face again. And I’m like oh my God, are they even going to show why I’m so upset? But in the episode they actually shared they did show some of the reasons why. I wasn’t just bitter because I’m partnered with Mimi.
I actually got sick. I hate to admit it but I actually ate solid food they day of the elimination and it did not agree with me. Right before, I didn’t even know if I’d be able to make it. I’m like, Willam’s already thrown up on the show. I can’t throw up on the runway. It’s already been done.
CGM: Was that one of the reasons you didn’t jump in while Mimi was doing her lip-synch?
Pandora: That is part of the reason yes, but another part was it felt like she really had something to prove & she wanted to do it. At that point, I was like I think we’re just going home. I didn’t think we could save anyway no matter what we did.
CGM: When you signed up for All Stars, did you know it was only going to be 6 episodes?
Pandora: I knew it was 6 episodes and then when we’re shooting the first one and all these queens kept walking in, I was like, well something’s happening. There’s way too many queens and there’s only 6 episodes.
CGM: And then you get the “you get to be paired up” bit of fun.
Pandora: I don’t think anyone was happy with it. I think everyone was like WHAT?
CGM: You were saying that you were working so hard to show your improvement and now it kind of doesn’t matter.
Pandora: Yeah. I still feel the same way.
CGM: Regardless of all that, you’re actually performing with Willam and Mimi tomorrow night (Saturday, October 27). How did that come about?
Pandora: Mimi and I have the same manager, Willam as well and Sherry Vine who’s this great NYC drag queen. We had done a casino show a couple weeks back and it was Mimi, myself and Sherry Vine. It went really well and so it was kinda like a test run.
It’s a good kind of fun gig because these casinos have some money and they always have great staging. And I actually do work well with Mimi so that was never. In my head it was never like, Oh, God, I don’t want to work with her. It was just that she had a controversial exit on the show. She’s known to be a little difficult on the show, so I didn’t feel like they would give her a fair chance. That was really what it was with me. I didn’t feel like she was going to be given a fair chance.
CGM: Did you look around at the other people that were also in All Stars and think well crap. There’s some really strong people here and I’m paired with Mimi who went early last time.
Pandora: Yeah, I definitely thought that. I’m like, this is already going to be an uphill battle and that was kind of upsetting too. I felt like everybody else was kind of not that way. So we were already labeled the underdog team. They called us Mandora. It was really like Oh, my God. I think I’ve already proven myself and I was on Season 2 and I’m not really the underdog. I think I’m one of the more successful queens from Drag Race but then I come back and I’m served up as the underdog again.
But again, I’m still even grateful that I got on the show and that I am an All Star.
CGM: And you will remain an All Star.
Pandora: You can’t take away the fact that I am one. And that’s great and exciting and I’m friends with a lot of queens that were on my season and other seasons and a lot of them would’ve absolutely loved the chance to be on there. So I’m grateful.
CGM: I read a previous interview where you talked about possibly wanting to quit drag before you got on the show. Do you think that Drag Race has renewed your love of drag, or is it a double-edged sword?
Pandora: Yes, it’s definitely a double-edged sword because I love going places and I love entertaining and I will always love doing that. Drag Race has given me an amazing opportunity to do that so I’m so thankful. But I’ve been doing drag 10 nights in a row & I’m kinda like ohhh, I do not want to do drag anymore.
CGM: Do I have to put on makeup tonight…
Pandora: Yeah, cause it’s a lot of layers. It’s a lot of makeup. It’s just lot of work that goes into it. Especially lately, the initial part of getting ready I’m like noooo! Once I’m done and I’m there I’m totally fine. But it’s like that process right now is just dreadful to me. Once I’m there, I’m fine. I need to make a lot more money so I can just have a makeup artist that does my makeup for me and I can just sit there.
CGM: You’ve got your blog on Huffington Post and you do your recaps on NewNowNext, are you more comfortable with writing than you are with drag or is it pretty even?
Pandora: Certainly writing I can do that and I don’t have to put my genitals in places where they don’t belong. It’s easier in that sense. I’ve always written since I was really really young. There was a period of time when I was so almost painfully shy. I was really afraid to say things. My mother would always say if you can’t say it, just write it. Write out what you’re feeling and so it was kind of like a form of therapy for me. I’ve always written. It’s always been a part of my life. It’s great to be able to have outlets. I got my degree in communications/journalism and you know you’re taking all those classes, those writing classes and then you find out after you’ve spent all this money that you’re never going to make any money writing. And I’m like oh, well that’s great. And then they’re talking about journalism and well you’re never going to make much money in journalism, especially in the beginning and I’m like well thank you for all this money I’ve just spent on a degree and now I’m being told the only way to make a living at writing is technical writing. I’m like oh God I don’t want to do that.
CGM: I also saw that you are involved in Dragopolis, the video game. What is that?
Pandora: It’s really exciting and it’s kind of like still fresh in my head that it really is happening. … Dragopolis is a video game app for mobile devices and whatever you can play an app on. It’s about a drag queen who has lost her gig to an evil drag queen named Apocalypstick. You’re trying to get her to take her gig back. She’s got to go through an obstacle course and all these crazy fun things. You can change her wig and her costume. A great thing that they’ve done is that they’ve also created additional characters that you can play at and I’m one of the characters. So you can play the game as me in different wigs and costumes. I’m super excited because I love video games. … I think it’s a really fun game and I think people are going to have fun with it. … And if I’m not mistaken, I think it’s might first drag queen game like that, so that’s why it’s even more exciting.
CGM: I’ve certainly never seen anything like that
Pandora: It just shows how far drag has come, especially in the last couple of years. Of course, it’s partially due to Drag Race bringing it back to the forefront again. You know RuPaul did it 20 years ago with Supermodel and now she’s back and she’s doing it again. I’m so grateful, even though she keeps eliminating me, I’m very grateful to RuPaul.
CGM: But she keeps bringing you back.
Pandora: She does keep bringing me back, so I’m glad she at least does that.
CGM: And I also saw your video “Nice Car (Shame About Your Penis)”
Pandora: Yeah, a family song and video. (laughs)
CGM: A family video definitely. How long did that take to put together?
Pandora: I think that I shot for three days and the shoot was four days. I met Jimmy Simak at the premiere party at the third season of Drag Race. We’ve been kinda friends since. There’s a video competition for doing James Brown songs and he asked me to do “It’s a Man’s World” with him. He wanted to make a video for it. We did that and then I said hey, I’ve got this song coming out and a music video and I saw his work and I really liked it and I thought I really want something that’s kind of like Wes Meyer or like John Waters’ Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! kind of feel. We’re just this vigilante girl group and we’re out and we just kill guys that are douchebags with sportscars with little penises. (laughs)
CGM: And that’s what you’ve got!
Pandora: It is! I’m so happy. It’s always so tough when you trust other people to do what is envisioned in your head. He just went above and beyond and I’m so happy. And I’m so happy that the people came to do it because music videos can be expensive. You’re asking people hey, can you do this? I don’t have any money. So this is what I want to do.
CGM: But it’s doing well on iTunes.
Pandora: Yeah, I think it charted somewhere on the dance chart, so that’s cool. It’s exciting that people are even noticing. And the response has been really good because people can be really critical. There’s always one person who is really nasty which is always the one that I remember. Especially after All Stars because I’ve gotten a mixed bag of nuts with that one. A lot of people are like you should’ve been sent home or you had a stank attitude and you’re a bitch. And I’m like, oh my God. I went from Miss Congeniality to now people are like “she’s a bitch.”
CGM: Honestly, I was really surprised by the episode because … figuring out it’s only 6 episodes, seeing how many of you there are, I’m like well I’m going to hate it every week.
Pandora: (laughs) Yeah, there’s a lot of great queens in there so it’s that type of show where you’re like “Oh No!”
RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race airs Monday nights, 8pm/9pm ET on LOGO!