Shangela of 'A Star is Born' encourages drag queens to be leaders

"A Star Is Born" actor and "RuPaul's Drag Race" alum Shangela Laquifa Wadley wants drag queens to be more involved in the political process.

Shangela arrives at the CFDA Fashion Fund fashion show on November 5, 2018.

By Nicole Girten, UPI

A Star Is Born actor and RuPaul's Drag Race alum Shangela Laquifa Wadley is on an 181-city world tour but made sure to send an absentee ballot back to her home state of Texas.

"It's important that drag queens are involved in the political process," Shangela told UPI on the heels of election night. "We all need to be involved in what happens and what changes are being brought about since they govern our lives."

Shangela, born D.J. Pierce, took part in a plus1thevote initiative and took selfies with Frankie Grande outside a polling location in NYC to encourage fans to get out the vote. She even has a fan in Utah state Sen. Jim Dabakis, who tweeted a photo with the star that he captioned, "'Two queens' someone yelled out!"

The star says drag is directly affected by the policies in government and encourages queens to use their voice in the democratic process.

"You know so much of our community has been oppressed or not involved or not supported by laws and different things over the years and in the past, so it's important for drag queens to lead in our communities and we definitely have a voice and encourage people to use theirs, as well," she said.

The 36-year-old drag performer was first introduced to the world in 2010 on Season 2 of RuPaul's Drag Race, where she was the first to be eliminated. She returned the following season, jumping out of a pink box with her catchphrase, "Halleloo!" and finished in sixth place. This year, Shangela became the first drag queen to have competed for the Drag Race crown three times when she joined the cast of All Stars 3, finishing in the top four.

Since Drag Race, Shangela has been featured in shows from The X-Files to Dance Moms, and created a Youtube series with black-ish star Jenifer Lewis about living in her basement in Los Angeles -- where she still lives. More recently, the performer brought her runway sashay to the CFDA Fashion Fund runway, where she walked the catwalk in front of Anna Wintour and Zac Posen.

A Star is Born

Shangela plays a drag mother to Lady Gaga's character Ally in Bradley Cooper's directorial debut film A Star is Born. Alongside fellow Drag Race alum Willam, she plays the queen that gave Ally a place to perform as she was getting her start. Shangela was handpicked by Gaga for the role, which she said she's still trying to wrap her head around.

"To know that Lady Gaga had interest in me for this particular role in this movie... it feels amazing," she said.

Shangela had previously worked with Gaga in the pop star's "Applause" lyric video.

She said she was excited to work with Willam again and attributes her chemistry with Willam on screen to their real-life friendship.

"I think Willam is hilarious and also, you never know what's to be expected with her," she said. "That keeps me on my toes and I think it keeps our chemistry super fresh."

Shangela received love from her Drag Race sisters after the film was released, including her drag mother, Alyssa Edwards, star of the Netflix reality series Dancing Queen-- which Shangela has appeared in. Edwards texted her in all caps "You did that!"

Super Drags

Shangela also worked with Willam in the animated series Super Drags. The show, which premiered on Netflix Friday, follows three drag queen superheroes, Scarlet (Shangela), Lemon (Drag Race alum Ginger Minj) and Safira Cyan (Rod Keller) as they go on missions to save the LGBT community from evil. Willam voices Lady Elza and Drag Race alum Trixie Mattel voices Champagne in the show.

Shangela said her character Scarlett is "strong, she has sass and she's fabulous! That's Shangela."

She stressed the importance of LGBT representation in entertainment.

"To see drag animated on a show on Netflix, and to be in such a position of power, you know, like a superhero, in this project is really, really cool," she said.

"Super Drags" characters, from left to right, Safira Cyan, Lemon and Scarlet.

Holi-slay Spectacular

Shangela will return to RuPaul's Drag Race for the RuPaul's Drag Race Holi-slay Spectacular, airing on VH1 on December 7. This will be the fourth time Shangela will be sashaying into the workroom, which she said gives her a "feeling of being home."

She will be joined by previous contestants Eureka O'Hara, Jasmine Masters, Kim Chi, Latrice Royale, Mayhem Miller, Sonique, and All-Stars 3 champion Trixie Mattel.

There was controversy after the finale of All Stars 3 among fans who believe Shangela should have been included in the top two, but Shangela says all the drama is in the past.

"I think we resolved a lot of the feelings from All Stars 3, particularly with me and any of the girls involved in All Stars 3," Shangela said of working with the girls again.

"And to be honest with you a lot of the girls and I have worked together since you know the filming of All Stars 3 and we love and respect each other a lot."

As for what to expect from Shangela in the future, she says she just wants to keep working in entertainment.

"I am a working girl professional," she said. "Any avenue there is for me to be out there entertaining people, I love it. I hope the doors stay wide open."

There are 20 cities left in Shangela's world tour. A Star is Born is in theaters now and Super Drags is now streaming on Netflix.


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Entertainment News: Shangela of 'A Star is Born' encourages drag queens to be leaders
Shangela of 'A Star is Born' encourages drag queens to be leaders
"A Star Is Born" actor and "RuPaul's Drag Race" alum Shangela Laquifa Wadley wants drag queens to be more involved in the political process.
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