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RuPaul’s Drag Race season 4 is only a few days away, and while the world awaits the glitter explosion, we wanted to catch up with a visionary queen from season 2.
Not only is she a professional lip-syncher and a hilarious performer, but her artistry also oozes a certain mix of old-school sass and futuristic camp. With a zillion facets to her talent, Pandora Boxx has proven her uniqueness goes beyond a wig and a pair of stilettos.
After taking over Twitter, the music industry, and even the Huffington Post…what’s next for the blonde femme fatale?
Toonari Post (TP): You were crowned ‘Miss Congeniality’ on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ season 2 as well as voted MPV on ‘RuPaul’s Drag U’ two times in a row. What’s about Pandora Boxx that makes her a total crowd favorite?
Pandora Boxx (PB): I did promise to make out with anyone who voted for me. Could that be it? Honestly, it probably lost me some votes! I think getting kicked off of RuPaul’s Drag Race at the time I did really, really annoyed people. That’s what really got people behind me even more. I’m so thankful to have such an amazingly supportive, loving, and wonderful fan base.
TP: When and how did you create Pandora Boxx?
PB: Honey, she opened that box up, jumped out, and said, “World I am here! Look out!” I get my inspirations from all over. I admire strong women and especially strong funny woman like Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn, Madeline Kahn and the list can go on and on.
TP: Why do you think drag queens don’t get as much recognition as actors, singers, or dancers when they are actually all of those rolled into one?
PB: I think it’s just that we aren’t taken seriously. It’s kind of like we are playing dress up, and of course we generally work in nightclubs with drunken customers. Sometimes the acting community can be kind of snobby, it’s like get over yourselves! You pretend to be other people to make your living, and that’s the bottom line. Drag encompasses so many things, and thankfully with shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race, people can really see that.
TP: You perform tons of shows every month. What’s the craziest thing that has happened to you at a show?
PB: There are so many crazy things that happen. I’ve had people cry when they meet me which is very flattering, but I don’t know what to do. I just tell them, “I’m just a dude in a dress!” You just never really know how much you impact people, even by being on a reality television competition show where you were forced to eat fried bull testicles.
Oh and one time this guy said to me, “I loved you on that Tyler Perry show!” If you’ve ever seen any of Tyler Perry’s shows, you know there aren’t any white people in them, one; and two, the only drag queen I believe is Madea. I’d like to think he didn’t think I was her. Stuff like that keeps you grounded though because all you can do is laugh.
TP: You wrote, produced, and starred in the hit play ‘The Lipstick Massacre.’ Are you brainstorming ideas for another play, a TV Show maybe?
PB: In this business, you always have to think of the next step, so I am definitely thinking of other projects. I’m working on putting together a new one ‘woman’ show called “Out of the Boxx” which is my views on life, my experiences, and probably some dirty jokes. It’s based a little around my blog on the Huffington Post which has the same name.
My ultimate goal is for a television show, but there is so much work that goes into that even before anyone sees it… so fingers crossed.
TP: On Drag Race not only did you deliver real fierceness, but you also brought us to tears when you opened up about how you’d overcome self-hatred. Now that Pandora Boxx is a prominent role model, what message would you like to give everyone reading this?
PB: Well, thank you. I think what some people don’t realize is that depression is an ongoing battle. I don’t know if it ever goes away, it certainly hasn’t for me. I just try to always focus on the good things in my life and create things that I want to do. Even with all that has happened, sometimes I still feel like I’m just not good enough.
It’s a tough battle. People who are feeling the same just have to realize that they are not alone. So many feel the same way. I don’t know why us human beings are wired for self-hate, but we seem to be.
TP: One of the multiple creative layers to the glitzy Pandora Boxx is her incredibly witty and entertaining sense of journalism. Tell us about being a Huffington Post contributor.
PB: Thank you again! I’m really excited about writing for the Huffington Post. It really gives me such a great creative outlet. I also feel like it gives me a voice to say whatever I want. Writing is at the core of who I am. There was a time I was so painfully shy that I was afraid to speak and writing was the only way I could express what was going on inside my head.
TP: A couple of weeks ago you reviewed the controversial TV Show ‘Work It’, in the wake of the criticism, anticipating its low ratings. How much homophobia and defamatory content airs on TV, movies and music nowadays?
PB: Honestly, I didn’t think that show was anti-gay or anything like that. It’s trying to be a goofball sitcom and just failing. There are, however, tinges of homophobia everywhere in television. Like when someone is disgusted by gay people on a show or has to make a point to say they aren’t gay.
Gay jokes are in every “straight guy” movie too. Part of television and movies is to reflect what’s going on in the world and, unfortunately, there is still a lot of homophobia. I will say though that there are so many positive gay role models in the entertainment industry than ever before, and just so many more gay characters and such.
Gay people are [often] relegated to the “sissy” role or the “butch” lesbian. We’ve made some progress but it’s always a case of one step forward, two steps back. It also doesn’t help when you have people vying for the presidency spewing out hateful things about the LGBT community.
TP: When Pandora is locked up in her box, what’s left of her in you?
PB: Pandora is exhausting! She leaves behind a tired, couch-bound guy after she’s done with me. I think Pandora is really just an extension of me. Pandora is the person I wanted to be. Bold, funny and fabulous. There’s always a little bit of her in me all the time.
TP: Your fans are still raving about your first single ‘Cooter’. Is ‘Cooter’ just a temporary stint or the beginning of another side of Pandora Boxx?
PB: “Cooter!” was just this ridiculous idea I had stemming from my childhood dream of being a rock star. Thankfully, a lot of people really liked it and I’m happy for that. I’m certainly no Mariah Carey by any means, but I really would like to make some more music. I just want to have fun with it and hopefully people will enjoy it too. I’m definitely working on songs to put in my one “woman” show.
TP: RuPaul‘s Drag Race season 4 is about to kick off next Jan 30. What can we expect from the queens this time around?
PB: The best thing about the popularity of Drag Race is that it enables the show to be the best it can be. A bigger budget means bigger and better challenges! By now anyone going on the show knows what they are getting into. The contestants are more savvy since Season 2 because they’ve seen all the season before. I’m sure we can expect tears, jeers and cheers.
TP: Thank you so much for squeezing us into your busy schedule. Is there anything you would like to say to your wonderful fans, the loyal fan-doras?
PB: Thank you for asking me to do this interview. I certainly appreciate that. What I’d like to say to all the wonderful Fandoras is that you are just that, wonderful. You give me the strength to keep doing what I’m doing, and I hope I can continue to entertain you and make you laugh for a long, long time.
You can also read Manila Luzon’s interview at www.toonaripost.com
Image Courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/thepandoraboxx Photo Credit: Adelle Charles