Drag Race UK Versus the World Pangina

‘It was a traumatic experience’: Pangina on her heartbreaking Drag Race UK vs the World exit

‘I felt this pang of shame – it took me days to forgive myself’

On RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Versus the World, the shocks just keep on shocking. We haven’t actually had a week yet where the elimination has felt calm and just. Lemon was not the bottom of the pile to go home week one. Queens did worse than Cheryl Hole on week two. Jimbo’s time was CERTAINLY not up on week three, and now Pangina Heals has joined the roster of queens eliminated before their time. Her exit was arguably the most emotional and dramatic in Drag Race her story, across all global franchises alike. But how does Pangina Heals really feel about Blu Hydrangea’s controversial decision to send the frontrunner packing on last night’s Drag Race UK Versus the World?

I jumped on a Zoom with Pangina to get answers on how she’s really feeling about her elimination.

‘I haven’t watched it back yet because it was a traumatic experience’

Hey Pangina! Great to speak to you, hope you’re doing okay after all of the emotions last night. How are you feeling about your elimination? Did you think it was fair?

I am feeling okay. I haven’t watched it back yet because it was a traumatic experience, but me and Blu are fine. No hard feelings. We all signed up for this, so literally one person has to go home and it happened to be me. Maybe if she thought I was the worst in the challenge, then I go home. It has nothing to do with track records, so, c’est la vie.

Obviously, the social media response was wild – have you and Blu spoken and supported each other when it comes to getting hate online?

We did talk about it. I had the experience when eliminating Lemon and Jimbo. I think at first Blu thought she would be fine, but she was surprised. If you’re mad, don’t send her hate, just send me PayPal. Life is too short to be angry – there is not point. Blu and I are okay, so why shouldn’t you be okay? It’s drag! Just because I don’t have a crown does not mean that I didn’t feel like a queen.

Going back to you saying that the exit was a traumatic experience, did it take you a while to come to terms with it all within yourself? 

It took me a couple of days to forgive myself. Initially, I just felt this pang of shame and this level of embarrassment. It wasn’t about me, it was about the fact I was representing my country and people could be like, oh, Thai queens aren’t talented. After I realised I won two badges and was in the top the whole time and ended on a high note, I could forgive myself. There was nothing I could have done differently and I have no regrets. I wouldn’t change a thing.

‘How I judged on Drag Race Thailand was how I was sending the girls home’ 

Some people have said your elimination of Jimbo was strategic. Was it frustrating for you when you were trying to approach it with your usual judging approach from your experience on the panel?

Literally how I would judge on Drag Race Thailand is how I was sending the girls home. Do I agree with the bottom two? Week one, no. I didn’t think that Lemon should have been in the bottom two with Janey, but out of those two I had to make my choice. Last week, I thought Jimbo did the worst in the challenge. Period. Do I have to say sorry for sending someone home in a competition? Hell to the no. Do I think Blu had to apologise for sending me home? Same answer!

I know you said you’ve not watched it back yet, but I’m assuming you’ve seen the videos circulating on Twitter and the conversation about the editing of you getting really upset – is it surreal to look back on when it might not be how it actually was in the moment?

I mean, I’ve seen certain clips of people cheering when I got eliminated. Or enjoying the fact I was losing my shit on stage. Yes, I could be upset about it, but the way I see it – you’re welcome for the entertainment. There’s nothing you can do if people just want to root for your downfall.

Pangina, were you aware of how shocked Ru was over your Drag Race UK Versus the World elimination, and the other judges? Clara Amfo was really upset!

I didn’t hear a word Ru said after Blu said my name. I went into an out of body experience. I couldn’t hear anything. The girls told me about it and said everyone was crying, Juju was crying. Clara Amfo reached out on Instagram actually, and said I killed it. She was such a great judge.

‘Whatever reason Blu had for eliminating me is her reason, and it’s not important for me to find out’

Did you feel like when Blu chose your lipstick, she was matching you for eliminating the biggest threat last week? I know you said you were judging like you would Thailand, but do you feel like the other queens didn’t see that?

I don’t know, and honestly I don’t care. Not to sound rude, but whatever reason she has for eliminating me is her reason and it’s not important for me to find out. If you’re looking at track records, then sure. Blu said to me, I’m not sure if it was on or off camera, “you’re probably gonna win this”. And so who doesn’t want to win? I want to win, she wants to win. She has her reasons and I respect that.

Yeah. There’s been a lot of conversation about All Stars rules of queens eliminating each other shouldn’t apply or that it’s less fair. What are your thoughts on that?

Here’s all I can say. You signed up for a competition knowing the rules, and we can’t change the rules. But if I had to lip sync for my life, I’d have been there til the end. For sure.

From the deliberation chats, did you feel like Baga or Blu had your lipstick at all, or did it not really cross your mind?

I’m about to sound like a horrible bitch right now, but here goes. I don’t think Baga can out lip sync Blu. There’s just no way, in my opinion as a performer. So I knew that Blu was going to win, but I did not think that Blu was going to choose me. I was cheering her on. I was cheering on the girl that was sending me home. I’m a stupid bitch!

That must have been so strange.

Yeah. Completely.

Were there any favourite moments for you that we never got to see air?

Well, I helped Cheryl and Baga a lot with their dresses in the sewing challenge. I thought I was done, so I wanted to help them. Also you never got to see that I was talking to Jujubee a lot in our language – that was never aired. The rest are too scandalous to share!

When I spoke with the other eliminated queens, Pangina, they said the real show was in the Drag Race UK Versus the World hotel! Do you have any funny moments from it?

I was next to a hotel room where a girl was singing off key the whole time, and I was like, who is this person? Then I found out it was Janey.

Haha! How do you feel about being able to represent Thailand on this global stage?

I actually tear up every time someone says thank you for representing South East Asia, and that I represent them so well, because that’s my message in life. Growing up I didn’t have a queer person from South East Asian heritage to look up to so to be that for someone is so much larger than being upset about a lipstick. This is a show that changes people’s lives. When you see someone like you, like I saw Raja in season three, that changes your life and makes you want to do drag? That for me is so much bigger than being sent home. It’s so powerful what this show can do.

Finally, Pangina, what message would you send to the Drag Race UK Versus the World trolls who are targeting Blu or any of the other queens throughout the season?

What I would say to them is nothing. I would only use the block button. There’s no reason to reason with someone who can not be reasoned with. In my case, it has nothing to do with the competition. It has to do with race. Ignore them.

Watch Pangina Heals on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Versus the World is streaming now on BBC iPlayer. Keep up with new episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK Versus the World on BBC Three at 9pm on Tuesdays. For all the latest Netflix news, drops and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.

Featured image courtesy of the BBC. Special thanks to Imogen Reid and Jasmine Aloma at the BBC.

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