The race for the ultimate Queen of the North title has officially begun. Last night, Canada’s Drag Race graced our screens and we saw the 12 queens vying for the crown pose for the challenge and strut on the runway.
It was a solid first episode with a mixed cast of drag legends and new queens. Unfortunately, as much as we adore all our Canadian dolls, one queen has to go every week. And this week, it was Toronto-based queen, Juice Boxx.
Each Friday in “After the sashay,” we’ll chat with that week’s eliminated Canada’s Drag Race competitor. We spoke with Juice Boxx via video call from her parents’ home where she’s been staying during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What did you learn from your time on Canada’s Drag Race?
Oh my god, what did I learn from my time on Canada’s Drag Race? I learned I need to calm down because I get so worked up. I learned that I tend to get a little anxious, so I think I need to work on that. But overall, it was a good experience. It was fun.
We saw that you had a panic attack on the main stage, what went through your mind at the time?
It was like inwardly screaming for the whole time. If anything, I was embarrassed. I was really embarrassed when that happened. I know it’s not something I should be embarrassed about, but when you’re at that moment, for anybody who has experienced something like that, it’s embarrassing especially when you’re going through it around people. It’s hard to shake that feeling, but I bounced back and I got to shake it off and, you know, twirl around.
Rita Baga, BOA, and other queens offered you support when you were having your panic attack. What did that gesture mean to you?
It meant a lot, because I mean, imagine if they just left me there? How rude. They’re a great group of girls and I’m happy that I was surrounded by [Rita Baga and BOA] in particular. Rita is so kind and I’m sad I didn’t really get to know her. But after the show, I’ve been able to get to know her a lot better and she’s so cool and so fun. And BOA, I’ve known for quite a long time, so it was nice that she and I were able to kind of have that bit of a connection.
I’m just so happy for both of them—Rita winning the first week, and then the judges liking BOA and her weird boobs.
Prior to the runway, while doing your makeup, you opened up about being sober. Why did you decide to share your story on the show?
Because it’s important and it’s not something that a lot of people talk about. Drag queens work within an entertainment industry that is based out of bars—especially local queens, we just work in bars. It’s not like we’re on these gigantic stages all the time. We’re working at [local bars] where they sell alcohol and we get a lot of free alcohol.
I feel like more and more it needs to be normalized that not every one of us in this profession is there for the party or is there to just constantly be drinking. We need to keep in mind that some people are there for the art of it and some people are there for the passion of it. We need to approach things differently rather than going up to someone thinking that they’re going to be your best friend because you handed them a $20 bill wrapped around a shot of tequila.
What’s your message to other queens and queer people grappling with substance abuse addiction?
Don’t think that tomorrow is the right day to stop. If you feel like you need to stop, take those steps as soon as you can, in the right way for you to stop. If you feel like you need to slowly wean yourself off, surround yourself with people who are able to help you, support you and not put you into situations that are going to trigger you or push you into something that you don’t want to do.
Also, find the support you need. If you need to contact support systems, if you need to go to meetings, then do it. Everyone’s journey with sobriety is different, so find what’s right for you but don’t do it tomorrow, do it today if you really need to do it.
Thanks for that. Looking back at your Drag Race journey, would you do something differently?
No. I mean, maybe I would have done a better outfit, but everything happens for a reason and I feel like I got to leave on such a high note. I got great lip sync, I had a great episode, and now I’m the first girl to ever leave Canada’s Drag Race, ever. So it’s like I get to watch the rest of the season and relax and not feel anxious every single episode. So I feel good and I feel like I can take this opportunity and do something with it.
Do you have any plans to hold screenings?
Oh, no, no. I plan to wear a mask and wash my hands and stay away from people so I can go back to work.
Now that you’re unfortunately out of the competition, if it can’t be you, which queen would you like to see you win it all?
Well, I mean, me! I know you said it can’t be me, but it should still be me. They should call me and be like, “Juice you win.”
But honestly, every single one of the performers is such an incredible icon that we all need to be wrapping around each of them, and giving them each an equal amount of support. We’re the first cast in Canada. So we all need to rise up together and have that support system and know that any one of the girls could win because each one of them is the star.
What’s next for you?
Well, tonight I’m going to sit by the pool, and I’m going to catch up on all the messages that I’ve been receiving, and hopefully respond to every one of them.
Overall, I’m just gonna wait it out until COVID is all done and everyone’s safe and healthy and we can travel and work again. I want to see everybody! I want to meet everyone who loves the show and I want to hug them, say “hi,” perform and just, you know, see it all.
Just a quick question about the responses. What was that like after the first episode?
It’s been great! My phone is constantly buzzing and popping messages, it’s so hard to keep up with them. Every time the girls are just like, “I’m trying to keep up on messages,” I’m like, “That’s so dramatic.” But I get it now. I’m like, “Oh my god, there’s so many messages” and you want to respond to each person, but sometimes you won’t have time, so you just “like” it and move on.
To close the interview, what’s one word to describe your time on Canada’s Drag Race.
Oh, one word. Screaming.