Last week I was lucky enough to have a chance to chat with my favorite former RuPaul's Drag Race and All Stars Drag Race contestant, Pandora Boxx. We covered everything - drag, politics, social change, glue sniffing - so much so that I have had to split the interview into two post. Today we focus on Drag Race. Tomorrow, the world.
Jim: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with me. First off, do you prefer to be called Michael Steck, Pandora, or Your Royal Boxxness?
Pandora: [Laughs] Anything you prefer.
Jim: I think I will stick with Pandora.
First off, let's get some Drag Race out of the way. You were the first person eliminated on All Stars - any grudges with Mimi Imfurst?
Pandora: No. There are no grudges with Mimi at all now, because it was never really about her - like I've worked with her, and I'm totally fine with working with her. It was just more like getting paired with her, I felt like that meant our chances of winning were done. We could never go that far in that type of competition, and that's much more what my stink face was all about.
Jim: So you have worked together again since then?
Pandora: Oh yeah. Like we just did a casino show in Pennsylvania. I did it with her and Willam and Sherry Vine. Then there was an All Star's show in Philidelphia. Mimi hosts a show there weekly and she brought in a bunch of us to do that show there, and Michelle Visage was hosting - so yeah, it was fun. And she was like "So you wanna do 'Opposites Attract' in those outfits?" So we did it, and she whispers in my ear, "I'm gonna pick you up," and I'm like "Oh Jesus." But it was fun - so I don't have anything against Mimi at all.
Jim: It was a huge surprise and disappointment - you were in my dream top three. Last season I did weekly recaps, but after you were gone after the first episode, I lost my will to write.
Jim: Maybe I'll pick it up again.
So just from watching Season 2 of Drag Race and then this season of All Stars, it seems like Santino has always had it out for you. Is that a love/hate relationship or the work of the producers?
Pandora: Umm, I dunno on his end if it is the producers, but yes, I just feel like he is never going to like anything I wear, and that's fine - I don't like anything that he wears. I think his sense of style is absolutely atrocious and so I consider it the worst, and I just feel that he is in the position where he can judge me and say whatever he wants to say so - whatever - I don't really lose sleep over what Santino Rice says about me.
Jim: Amen. Well when you were eliminated this time Ru pointed out that you are one of the most beloved queens in Drag Race history. How do you feel about that title?
Pandora: I'm super appreciative of that title and what Ru said about me. And I'm super appreciative of my fans and people that watch the show and have been supportive of me. It is great and an amazing feeling that allows me to do what I do, and I'm super thankful and grateful.
Jim: Of the challenges after your elimination, which were you most disappointed in missing? I personally was itching to see your celebrity impersonation.
Pandora: Well - I will tell you I have not watched every episode of All Stars [laughs]. I haven't even watched the full episode I was on because it was hard to watch especially in the very beginning because I wasn't really pleased with my edits on the show - so there were a lot of emotions.
Umm, there's always so much more that happens and it's editing and they go for the drama, and that's what they did with me. But yeah, I definitely - and I didn't see the celebrity challenge - I've seen bits of it, but yes I was looking forward to the celebrity challenge. And I was extremely bitter that there was a stand-up comedy challenge in the last episode - because I'm like, "That would have really been my challenge."
Jim: I really would have loved to see you on that challenge as well. If you had made it to the celebrity challenge, what character would you have chosen? Would we have seen more Carol Channing?
Pandora: Definitely not Carol Channing again though she probably would have been very appropriate for that type of challenge. We're kinda vaguely told things so I really didn't know exactly in what context we would be doing celebrity impersonations so I was kinda leaving it a little bit open because I wasn't sure if it was going to be a Laugh-In kind of thing - and you know that kinda type of thing - I was like "I don't know."
So I wasn't sure what characters might work for that. But I was planning on doing Paula Abdul - like the crazy Paula Abdul from American Idol. Like - ya know - Is she drunk? Is she not drunk? And I love her to death - so I was thinking her. And then I had kinda played around with Suze Orman or Nancy Grace - they are both just very extreme, funny people and you don't even need to be funny with them to be funny.
Jim: I would have loved to see you as Nancy Grace. So how did you feel about the final outcome this season? Did Chad Michaels have your vote?
Pandora: Well - I think almost everyone on All Stars is extremely talented [Laughs].
Jim: Can you explain that laugh?
Pandora: Well I shouldn't say all. Let me change that. Especially the final four - everyone is extremely talented, and extremely good, and really did well throughout the season, and did well in the final episode - although we were at a party at Micky's in West Hollywood, and it was kinda hard to watch it completely because there are people talking and it's loud - but you know I think Chad Michaels is an excellent performer and was solid through the whole competition and really was there, you know, to win - not that we all weren't - but I think Chad just had a great showing and he's a great choice.
Jim: If you had a chance to be teamed with someone else at the beginning, who do you think you would have taken you the furthest?
Pandora: Well none of them now because they didn't pick me - so yeah. But my first pick was Jujubee because I know that we're friends and that our sense of comedy is different enough that it really blends really well - so I think I would have really loved to work with her. And you know - I think that my whole thing in the beginning was I just wanted a fair chance, and I felt like that was taken away - and that's why I was really upset. And silly me for thinking I would get a fair chance on a reality show.
Jim: Any chance that on the next season of All Stars we can expect a Shangela moment but this time it will be Pandora coming out of the Box?
Pandora: Oh - well. Ya never know!
Look for Part 2 tomorrow where we'll discuss the history of Pandora Boxx, the role of LGBT entertainers in social and political progress, and the future.
(Photo Credit: Nick Lovell courtesy of Pandora Boxx)