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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 298 > Aiming for the stars

Aiming for the stars

She may have missed out on Drag Race glory again, but you can’t keep a good girl down. With a solo world tour and an upcoming role alongside Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born, Shangela is lighting up the sky

When Shangela Laquifa Wadley — real name D.J. Pierce — was announced as one of the returning queens for the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, our first thought was “Halleloo!” Her golden goddess season-promo look showed a queen who was confident and ready to compete, and her workroom entrance was a far cry from the raggedy baby Shang we saw briefly way back on series two in 2010, and then again the following year, when she became the first queen to return to the show.

After a wonderful All Stars 2 in autumn 2016, expectations were high for the show’s next run. It was ultimately marred by one too many twists to the format by Ru — most notably the fact that a jury of eliminated queens were given the power to vote for the two finalists. Despite her strong performance in the competition putting her at the front of the pack, Shangela was overlooked by her sistas, whose votes gave the spot that should have rightfully been hers to Kennedy Davenport, a contestant who had landed in the bottom four in eight episodes. But although Barbie queen Trixie Mattel was crowned champion by Ru, Shangela emerged from the series as a new fan favourite, and in many viewers’ eyes, the real winner.

Having given her wigs and wardrobe a much-needed upgrade between her first and last Drag Race appearance, Shangela’s personality needed no polish: her warmth, kindness and humour radiate just as strongly back in season two as they do now. And, as she reminds us frequently during our chat, she’s a bona fide professional, darling. After all, this is a queen who has just finished travelling the world on a 75-city, three-month tour; a queen who has amassed 26 (and counting) acting credits on her imdb.com page since 2010, including an upcoming role in the Hollywood blockbuster remake of A Star Is Born, alongside Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Now 36, she’s a queen who’s grown into drag divadom in front of audiences worldwide.

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About Attitude

QUEER EYE! Five-cover special issue. Plus: Bette Midler on why ageist and sexist Hollywood won’t bring back the cast of Hocus Pocus for a sequel, Whitney Houston’s secret childhood trauma, Drag Race All Stars Shangela, and the shocking reality behind the Truth Project.