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Shangela Laquifa Wadley
Shangela Laquifa Wadley at DragCon, April 2017.png
Shangela at DragCon (c.2017)
Darius Jeremy Pierce
Other namesD.J. Pierce
EducationSouthern Methodist University (BA)
Known for
Home townParis, Texas
WebsiteOfficial Website

Shangela Laquifa Wadley, born Darius Jeremy Pierce and usually mononymously addressed as Shangela,[1] is an American drag queen, reality television personality and actor best known for competing on RuPaul's Drag Race. Shangela was the first contestant eliminated in season two, and returned as a surprise contestant in the series' third season, placing sixth. She returned once again for the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars where she finished in third/fourth place alongside winner of the first season, BeBe Zahara Benet. Shangela has also made several television appearances and regularly performs across the United States and Canada.[2] New York magazine named Shangela one of the top 100 Most Powerful RuPaul Drag Queens in America in June 2019.[3] Due to her role in A Star Is Born, Shangela became the first queen to walk the Oscars red carpet in drag.[4]

Early life[edit]

Pierce grew up in Paris, Texas, the only child of a mother in the United States Army who traveled frequently for her work. He was raised by an extended family, including a grandfather who worked as a ranch hand at pig and cattle farms.[5][6] He was a male cheerleader in high school, and began dressing in drag for creative projects for English classes.[5]


Early career[edit]

Shangela emerged as Pierce's drag persona in January 2009.[6] Pierce had choreographed a three-person drag act to "Single Ladies" for a sober charity event in Los Angeles, and when one of the performers cancelled, the other two asked him to fill in.[5] The club's promoter was so impressed with Shangela's performance that he offered to book him for the following week. In 2010, Shangela was crowned in the first California Entertainer of the Year pageant;[7] the first alternate was Chad Michaels.

RuPaul's Drag Race[edit]

After five months of performing in Los Angeles, Shangela was selected to join the cast for season two of RuPaul's Drag Race, but was eliminated in the first episode due to her lack of experience and poor sewing ability. She later reauditioned and was invited back for season three, where she made it to the top five (although she placed sixth overall due to the return of Carmen Carrera one episode later). She also made cameo appearances in the show's fourth-season premiere and the "Snatch Game" episode of All Stars season two.

Shangela eventually competed on the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars, making her the first queen to compete on three separate seasons of the show. She made it to the season's finale and was considered a frontrunner for the crown, but was controversially eliminated after only receiving one vote from Thorgy Thor among the jury of previously eliminated queens. She subsequently tied third/fourth place with season-one winner Bebe Zahara Benet.[8]

Shangela competed in the television special RuPaul's Drag Race Holi-slay Spectacular.[9]

Other television and film appearances[edit]

Pierce performing a stand-up act as Laquifa at the Castro Theatre.

Shangela appeared in Toddlers & Tiaras, in which he coached his 9-year-old goddaughter to compete in a beauty pageant.[6] Other appearances include episodes of Glee, Bones, Community, Terriers, Dance Moms, 2 Broke Girls, Detroit 187 and The Mentalist, as well as a commercial for Orbitz with fellow Drag Race contestants Manila Luzon and Carmen Carrera.[10] Shangela and other RuPaul's Drag race contestants including Trixie Mattel, Tammie Brown, and Manila Luzon, appeared in a Food and Drug Administration campaign against smoking.[11]

Pierce had a non-drag role in a short film, Body of a Barbie (2011), which aired on BET and was a Top 7 National Finalist on the network's Lens on Talent series.[12][13] In 2013, Shangela was featured in an ad for Facebook Home.[14]

Shangela had a role in the 2016 comedy film Hurricane Bianca, directed by Matt Kugelman and starring fellow Drag Race contestants Bianca Del Rio and Willam Belli. He returned to reprise this role in the 2018 sequel, Hurricane Bianca 2: From Russia with Hate.[15]

In 2018, he was the commentator for the U.S. for the Eurovision Song Contest held in Lisbon, Portugal with Ross Matthews for Logo TV.[16] The same year, he had a supporting role as a drag queen emcee in the film A Star Is Born, alongside Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, and Willam Belli.[17]


On August 23, 2011, he released his first single "Call Me Laquifa", which is available for purchase via iTunes and other commercial music sites. His second single, "Werqin' Girl" was released on 7 August 2012. The music video for "Werqin' Girl" features appearances by Abby Lee Miller, Jenifer Lewis, and Yara Sofia.[18][19] On March 15, 2018, the day of the All Stars 3 finale, Shangela released a new single titled "Pay Me" which features producer Ryan Skyy.[20]

In 2013, Shangela appeared in the music video "Gone With the Wind Fabulous" by Kenya Moore.[21] In 2018, Shangela featured on both the vocals and in the music video for Doll Hairs, a single released by Todrick Hall as part of his Forbidden visual album.[22]

In 2019, singer Ariana Grande featured Shangela's voice on the song "NASA" from her fifth studio album Thank U, Next.[23]

Other ventures[edit]

Shangela in 2018

Shangela is known for the catchphrase, "Halleloo", which the Los Angeles Times considered one of the "2010 Top Terms We Learned on Reality Television."[24] Shangela's comedic persona is Laquifa, who entered the limelight during the eighth episode of season three, in which he won the "Ru Ha Ha" competition. Since being on Drag Race, Shangela has performed comedy as Laquifa in's "One Night Stand Up!" on LOGO. Shangela has performed in the Drag Queens of Comedy showcase alongside legends Lady Bunny, Jackie Beat and Coco Peru,[25] as well as the Werq the World tour alongside several fellow Drag Race alumni.

Shangela was featured as one of OUT Magazine's "Most Compelling People of 2011".[26]

Pierce has also been active in AIDS awareness and activism. After being featured in a Gilead Sciences ad titled "Red Ribbon Runway" with fellow Drag Race co-stars Carmen Carrera, Delta Work, Manila Luzon and Alexis Mateo,[27] the dress he was featured wearing was auctioned off by Logo in commemoration of World AIDS Day. Proceeds from the auction were donated to the National Association of People with AIDS.[28] On August 14, 2013, Shangela, along with fellow drag queens Detox, Morgan McMichaels, Courtney Act, Willam Belli, and Raven, were featured in the lyric video for Lady Gaga's single "Applause".[29]

Personal life[edit]

Pierce is openly gay,[5] and is of African-American and Saudi Arabian descent.[30]

RuPaul's Drag Race season-five contestant Alyssa Edwards is Shangela's drag mother.[31]



Year Title Role Notes
2009 The Panty Man Young Poet Short film
2012 LaQuifa is HALLELOOSIN’ It! Herself Comedy show film
2013 Farah Goes Bang Bettina
2013 R.I.P.D. Drag Queen Avatar Scenes cut from film
2015 TupiniQueens[32] Drag Queen Documentary about drag queen's scene in Brazil.
2015 Kiss Me, Kill Me Jasmine
2016 Hurricane Bianca Stephen
2018 Hurricane Bianca 2: From Russia with Hate Stephen
2018 A Star Is Born Drag Bar Emcee


Year Title Role Notes
2010 Terriers Mikaela Episode 9: "Pimp Daddy"
2010 One Night Stand Up Himself/Host Episode 9: "'s One Night Stand Up"
2010–12 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself Contestant: Season 2 - 12th Place, Contestant Season 3 - 6th Place, Guest Star Season 4 (Episode "RuPocalypse Now!")
2010–11 RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked Herself
2011 Spring/Fall Dion
2011 A Mann's World Snip
2011 Detroit 1-8-7 Drag Performer Episode 15: "Legacy/Drag City"
2011 The Soup Awards Himself
2011 Dance Moms Himself Season 1, Episode 10: "Cathy Brings It On!"
2011 Community Miss Urbana Champaign Episode 6: "Advanced Gay"
2012 Toddlers & Tiaras Himself/Guest Mentor Episode 2: "Lollipops and Gumdrops Pageant"
2012 The Soup Himself Season 9, Episodes: 7, 32, 33
2012 The Mentalist Episode 21: "Ruby Slippers"
2012 L.A. Hair[33] Himself Episode 8: "The Big Blow Out"
2012 2 Broke Girls Hallelujah Episode 3: "And the Hold-Up"
2012 Glee Drag Queen Episode 8: "Thanksgiving"
2013 The Bold and the Beautiful Steve
2014 Bones Kimmy Moore Episode 23: "The Drama in the Queen"
2015 Dance Moms Himself Season 5, Episode 26: "Where in the World is Abby Lee Miller?"
2016 Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen[34] Guest
2016 The X-Files Annabell Season 10, Episode 3: "Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster"
2016–18 RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars Herself Guest: Season 2 (Episode "All Stars Snatch Game"), Contestant: Season 3 - 3rd/4th Place (Eliminated By Jury)
2018 Eurovision Song Contest 2018 Herself Commentator for the United States
2018 Dancing Queen Herself 3 Episodes
2018 Super Drags Scarlet (voice) English dub
2018 RuPaul's Drag Race Holi-slay Spectacular Herself Winner
2019 Broad City Waitress Season 5, Episode 6: "Lost and Found"
2020 We're Here Herself HBO series[35]
2020 Katy Keene Devereaux Season 1, Episode 6[36]

Music Videos[edit]

Year Title Artist Ref.
2009 "Beat It" Fall Out Boy ft. John Mayer [37]
2013 "Applause" (Lyric video) Lady Gaga [38]
2013 "Woman's World" (Remix) Cher [39]
2013 "Gone With The Wind Fabulous" Kenya Moore [40]



Title Year Peak chart positions Album
US Dance UK Sales
"Call Me Laquifa" 2011 Non-album singles
"Werqin' Girl (Professional)" 2012
"Uptown Fish" 2015
"Deck A Ho (Mitch Ferrino Mix)"
(Bob the Drag Queen feat. Shangela)
"Pay Me" 2018
"Kitty Girl"
(RuPaul feat. BeBe Zahara Benet, Kennedy Davenport, Shangela & Trixie Mattel)
18 44 33
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Guest appearances[edit]

Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"Doll Hairs" 2018 Todrick Hall Forbidden
"Fabulous French" (uncredited vocal) Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Anthony Ramos A Star Is Born
"NASA" (uncredited vocal) 2019 Ariana Grande Thank U, Next

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Giving Body Category Work Results Ref.
2018 WOWIE Awards The Who Are You Wearing Award Herself - A Star Is Born Won [42]


  1. ^ Shavarebi, Jordan (November 17, 2011). "Catching Up With Shangela". Out. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  2. ^ "On The Move - See Shangela Live!",; accessed February 19, 2012.
  3. ^ The Editors (June 10, 2019). "The Most Powerful Drag Queens in America: Ranking the new establishment". New York. New York Media, LLC. Archived from the original on June 10, 2019. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  4. ^ Street, Mikelle. "Shangela Talks Being the First Drag Queen at the Oscars". Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d "'Bout Me": Shangela - Debutantess Of The Deep South,; accessed February 19, 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Ayers, Dennis (January 9, 2012). "'Halleloo' for D.J. Pierce! Getting to Know the Man Behind Drag Sensation Shangela". Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
  7. ^ Calpernia Addams (2010-01-16). "California EOY 2010 - The Recap". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  8. ^ "'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars' eliminated queens' shocking vote tallies revealed". Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  9. ^ "Kim Chi, Shangela, Trixie Mattel & More to Compete in 'RuPaul's Drag Race Holi-Slay Spectacular'". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  10. ^ Orbitz Commercial - Rupaul's Drag Race Cast from YouTube
  11. ^ Be Known for Your Flawless | This Free Life from YouTube
  12. ^ "Lens On Talent" Archived 2011-10-19 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed February 19, 2012.
  13. ^ Profile,, March 2011.
  14. ^ Matyszczyk, Chris. "The new Facebook Home ad, complete with drag queen". CNET. Retrieved April 7, 2013.
  15. ^ "Bianca, Katya, Shangela, and More Are in the New 'Hurricane Bianca 2' Trailer". 2018-04-19. Retrieved 2018-12-01.
  16. ^ Logo to air Eurovision 2018 Grand Final live in the United States - Eurovision Song Contest Tel Aviv 2019
  17. ^ "A Star Is Born: How Drag Queens Shangela and Willam Got Involved | IndieWire". IndieWire.
  18. ^ Spargo, Chris (December 5, 2012). "Shangela 'Werqin' Girl' Has Arrived, And It Is Fearce". New Now Next. Retrieved March 11, 2013.
  19. ^ Feist, Jeremy. "Shangela is a "WERQIN' GIRL"". PopBytes. Retrieved March 11, 2013.
  20. ^ "'Pay Me' Announcement". Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  21. ^ "'Gone With The Wind Fabulous' Video, With Shangela, Is Here". LOGO News. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  22. ^ jasmine masters fan page (2018-03-30), Doll Hairs (feat. Shangela) by TODRICK HALL, retrieved 2018-04-03
  23. ^ "Shangela 'Thrilled' to Be on Ariana Grande's 'Thank U, Next' Album | Billboard". Billboard.
  24. ^ Villarreal, Yvonne & Maria Elena Fernandez. "2010 Top Terms We Learned on Reality TV, Los Angeles Times, December 28, 2010; accessed February 19, 2012.
  25. ^ "OUTview online; NEWS and VIEWS, What's your VIEW?: OUTscene: (PRE-view) Le Faux welcomes Drag Race star, Shangela on 4/8-9!". 2011-03-05. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  26. ^ Shavarebi, Jordan. "Catching Up With Shangela", Out Magazine, November 17, 2011; accessed February 19, 2012.
  27. ^ Red Ribbon Runway. YouTube. July 26, 2011. Event occurs at 0:39.
  28. ^ Spargo, Chris (2011-12-01). "NOW: Red Ribbon Runway Auction". Logo. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  29. ^ "Lady Gaga's 'Applause' Lyric Video: Here Are The Important, Drag-Related Findings". MTV News. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  30. ^ "Shangela on Twitter: "Black and saudi arabian (clock the cheekbones!) RT @lilboidancer: To my knowledge...Shangela is not black, hes Puerto Rican..."". Twitter. 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  31. ^ Duren, Rand. "Meet Alyssa Edwards, the fabulous drag queen from Mesquite who will appear on 'RuPaul's Drag Race'". The Dallas Morning News. Texas. Archived from the original on December 4, 2012. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
  32. ^ João Monteiro, TupiniQueens Official Trailer
  33. ^ James, Diego (July 18, 2012). "EXCLUSIVE: See Shangela & Sonique on 'L.A. Hair'". Out. Here Media Inc. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  34. ^ Zeff, Nigel (March 1, 2016). "Ru Girls Jessica Wild, Alyssa Edwards, and Shangela Served Up Jennifer Lopez Realness on Watch What Happens Live!". WorldOfWonder. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  35. ^ ""Drag Race" Legends Invade Small Town USA In New HBO Reality Series". Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  36. ^ Maas, Jennifer (November 6, 2019). "Shangela to Play a 'Ruthless' Pageant Drag Queen on The CW's 'Katy Keene'".
  37. ^ Munzenrieder, Kyle (2019-05-03). "How RuPaul's Drag Race Queens Became the Hottest Music Video Accessory". Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  38. ^ "Detox, Raven, Shannel & Morgan McMichaels To Star In Lady Gaga "Applause" Music Video". LOGO News. Retrieved 2018-08-17.
  39. ^ Avery, Dan (2013-09-05). ""Drag Race" Queens Star In Video For Cher's "Woman's World": WATCH". Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  40. ^ Lambe, Stacy (2018-03-17). "Kenya Moore Is "Gone With The Wind Fabulous" In New Music Video". Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  41. ^ "Official Charts > RuPaul". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  42. ^ "Hold on To Your Wigs! It's the 2018 WOWIE Award Winners!". December 6, 2018.

External links[edit]