Pandora Boxx isn't ready to put a lid on after RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6
The eliminated AS6 queen talks to EW about staying quiet in a season full of "loud-ass bitches" and whether she considered doing Carol Channing for Snatch Game again.
It's coming up raspberries for Pandora Boxx.
The season 2 legend's exit from RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6 hurt more than scurvy on an 18th-century sailor, as the Emmy-winning reality competition series put a lid on Miss Boxx after her long-awaited return Thursday to the Snatch Game — a challenge she mastered as Carol Channing back in 2010. But her second go-round as Kim Cattrall in the fan-favorite celebrity-impersonation comedy challenge didn't land quite as well, with Pandora's subdued approach to the character getting steamrolled by the theatrics of Eureka's larger-than-life Divine and Ra'Jah O'Hara's brilliantly absurd take on La Toya Jackson.
In the end, Pandora takes responsibility for the flub, and says she's walking away from AS6 in higher spirits than she was after her explosive, dramatic departure from AS1 and its chaotic team pairings.
"I'm proud that I came back! I got to show people a different side of me than they saw on All-Stars 1," she says. "I made it so far. I'm proud of that!"
Now all that's left to do is to open and unleash the joys of Pandora's box of talent into the world. Ahead, the drag superstar tells EW how she plans to do just that (a new album is on the way!) while reintroducing herself to the show's new class of fans.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You have now competed on three different styles of competition on Drag Race — the regular season, the All Stars 1 teams, and now the voting and lipstick pulling on All Stars 6. You've been through it all. How does it all stack up and compare?
PANDORA BOXX: I definitely was in a different headspace this time because I made myself be in a different headspace! I wanted to come in confident and ready. The biggest thing is voting for people. That's hard.
Because it had been a while, did you reach out to any other girls who'd done All Stars for advice since the format changed between All Stars 1 and All Stars 6?
Um, no! [Laughs] On last season, all of my friends voted themselves off, so I was like, 'Well, I don't need advice from you, because I'm not doing that.'
I've paid close attention to your socials this season, and to put it lightly, you have had some strong reactions to the show and fans watching. What's at the root of some of your concerns about your time this season?
Initially, it's tough to experience something and then see it. Maybe I wasn't in it as much. I don't want to be bitter about the experience — I'm just going to let it happen and let fans talk about it and see what they think. I just need to shut up! [Laughs]
Your commentary is fascinating. We did hear from some of the other queens that they'd noticed you were quieter and more reserved than you were in the past. Was something getting to you?
No, there were just a lot of loud-ass bitches on the show, and it's hard to get a word in edgewise with them! That was part of it. Coming out of a pandemic, it's kind of like, what's funny anymore? I don't know what to joke about. I don't want to be canceled.
Drag performers can get away with it a lot more. Look at someone like Bianca Del Rio!
Bianca can get away with anything.
Well, the fandom has changed so much since All-Stars 1. People paid attention to you between seasons, but what has it been like being reintroduced, in a way, to the mainstream pedestal and the subjection to this new breed of fandom 10 years later?
I definitely think I was a little scared at first. This is a whole new world. But then it was like, well, I'm in it, so I have to do it. Most of the things people have sent to me directly have been positive. It's been a great experience in that way. If it's something negative, I just block them. I don't even engage. If you just focus on the positive, it's much better.
Of all the episodes to go out on, I didn't anticipate you going out after Snatch Game. You did call Carol Channing "the ghost that haunts me." Was it stifling to be largely associated with one thing, and do you think being synonymous with Snatch Game excellence put you in such a high-pressure situation that it ultimately got to you and your performance?
Yes, I'd try to land a bit and I didn't. That's when I started to get in my head a little bit. But I tried to stay in character and keep on swimming!
Did you ever consider doing Carol Channing again?
No, it would've been tough to recapture that.
Well, you did revive her for the Super Bowl challenge. We can't have two Carols in one season!
Yes, and then I would've just been Carol for the rest of my life. I'm fine! When I'm older, in my 70s, I will just be Carol Channing. That's who I'm going to be… forever!
Are you afraid of this episode changing your narrative with fans because you were eliminated on a challenge that was once your biggest association?
I hope not! It's such a tough competition with amazing queens. You have one flub or something that doesn't land, and that can get you eliminated. Which happened to me. I hope people see it that way. I stayed in character. It's a short period of time. You're trying to think of how big you can go and still stay in character. There's a lot to it.
I do love that you're always paying homage to her and keeping that legacy alive. And I know she did make an appearance on the season 8 finale to praise Bob for doing her in Snatch Game. Did you ever have any contact with her or her family before she passed?
No, I did not! Not that I know of. I've heard that she did [watch my impression], and I was supposed to do a music awards show in New York City. They were honoring Carol Channing, and they asked me to do a tribute number for her. I was very excited, but then she had to cancel because of health reasons. There was one opportunity I would've gotten to meet her, and it didn't happen.
I make jokes about being "haunted" by the Snatch Game — I actually made a YouTube video called The Channing-ing where I'm haunted by Snatch Games from the past — but I'm happy that [through me] others will know who she is. There aren't people like her in entertainment anymore. I guess maybe drag queens. There are drag queens like her.
Let's go back to this week's challenge. Eureka got critiques from other queens for allegedly stepping on lines on the season 10 Snatch Game, and here she went big and loud, and you said it threw you. Can you elaborate how it impacted you as a performer?
I know she brought up that she felt like I was throwing her under the bus, and we talked about it. It was good because I wasn't. I was just saying it was a little harder to know what to say and react to the crazy things Divine was saying. She was very Divine! In character, I really was at a loss as to what to say. That's on me. I should've been able to get in there and say something.
Later, Ginger Minj said she looked up to you and you got her into drag, and that you are friends outside the show. You're now the second friend Ginger has sent home, after Jiggly Caliente. Are you and Jiggly plotting a revenge tour?
Yes, it's going to be called Ginger Is a Bitch, a Big Old Bitch.
Jiggly told me she's trying to milk a free vacation out of Ginger over this whole thing. Are you doing the same?
[Laughs] I mean, she did give me $2,500. So I think I got all I'm going to get out of her.
You can buy your own vacation! Did you have an idea that Ginger would pick your lipstick?
I knew she was going to pick my lipstick. I felt like people were trying to be fair throughout the season. I was in the bottom twice and didn't have any wins. I get it. I figured I was going to go home, so I'd made peace with the fact that it was going to be me.
Folks have mostly said that there aren't necessarily hard feelings with anyone who eliminated them. Did you have any conversations with Ginger after the season?
I've talked to her! I don't know if I've talked to her about picking my lipstick, but I don't need her to burn me with a lit cigarette anymore. I mean, you picked my lipstick, let's move on! [Laughs]
What are you most proud of from this season?
I'm proud that I came back! I got to show people a different side of me than they saw on All-Stars 1. I made it so far. I'm proud of that.
I tried not to bring up All-Stars 1 at all in this interview. We succeeded!
[Laughs] I mean, there's not much more to be said about All-Stars 1. It's already been said!
What's next for you, Pandora?
I'm working on an album I did a Kickstarter for. It got funded in two days! The debut album of Pandora Boxx! The more money people donate, the prettier my outfits can be in the music videos! They'll also be involved in the process of choosing the album cover and the name.
What style of music will it be? Is it going to be in line with your talent show number during which you said "d---" 20 times?
Well, I say "ridiculous." I don't really say "d---." It's my "If U Seek Amy" moment! I worked with [the same producer], so we're doing songs that are fun, dance-y electronica. I feel like we need fun dance music, even if it's just in your living room!
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