When RuPaul’s Drag Queen alum Shangela takes the stage as the hostess of RuPaul’s Werq The World Tour, she is very prepared to bring it! The tour, which has just finished its European leg, will high kick off its North American debut at Spreckels Theatre on October 12 at 8pm.
It brings with it both seasoned vets and one newcomer displaying their charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent and they include: Detox, Alyssa Edwards, Kim Chi, Latrice Royale, Violet Chachki and Valentina. Word of advice to our tour virgin Valentina…girl, no lip syncing behind a mask, ok?
The Rage Monthly spoke with the very affable Shangela to get the tea on what it takes to be the hostess with the mostest, what life lessons she learned from her time with Mama Ru and what audiences can expect from the Werq The World Tour.
Growing up in Paris, Texas was not a deterrent for Shangela – then known as D.J. Pierce – to express her fabulousness at an early age. As a matter of fact, she would dress in drag on creative projects to get A’s in her English class in high school, as she explained.
“Surprisingly the reaction from my teacher went really well; she invited me to come back for different periods, like not even my class to perform again,” she said with a laugh. “I don’t know if it was for her personal enjoyment, but it did lead to me getting A’s in the process.”
At the time, she didn’t see that as an act of bravery, but now looks upon it differently.
“At the time I just saw it as I love to entertain in whatever way I could and give it to them!” Shangela reflected. “Now looking back at it, I do think it was pretty brave. I remember going into the boy’s restroom and getting in my little dress to come back down the hallway to go back to class. At the time I didn’t think about it, but that probably wasn’t the safest move in 8th grade.”
Fast forward to 2010 and Shangela was the first queen to be told to “sashay away” on the second season of Drag Race, but made a surprise return during the next season and placed 6th. She said that it was “amazing” to be asked to return, as she had only been doing drag for five months during the previous incarnation. During her second time around, she became synonymous with her catchphrases “Halleloo” and “Bitch better have my money.”
“To be able to have the opportunity to come back and do it all over again with what I learned in the year since being on Drag Race,” she said. “I came back into the room, thinking, ‘I’m going to win this, I’m going to do this, I have what it takes.’ And that’s how I approach life.”
And she definitely had a big take away from being on the show and under the watchful eye of RuPaul, as she told us.
“Oh honey, stay resilient, never give up no matter how many times you’re knocked down, it’s all about how you get up and you continue,” Shangela said. “Life’s not about winning one particular race, it’s about continuing in the marathon. You can always watch, learn and grow.”
And she now continues her Drag Race legacy as the Mistress of Ceremonies on the Werq The World Tour and she is adhering to the mantra of “you better work,” as RuPaul told the world to do in her 1993 song Supermodel.
“As the hostess, I like to keep my audience having as much fun as I’m having on the stage,” Shangela explained. “And trust me, I know how to have a good time baby!”
And one has to wonder if the queens are having a good time traveling the world together. And there has been an unexpected bonus for Shangela in getting to spend time with her fellow queens.
“We did 15 cities in Europe in June and try traveling across the world with a bunch of RuPaul’s Drag Race stars, honey,” she quipped. “You just learn so much about people. I always thought Kim Chi was very quiet. Uh no, that’s not true. Also, you’ve got to watch her with that phone, because she videotaped everything. There are pictures of me on her Snapchat eating, sleeping in the airport. I’m like, ‘Kim! Give it a rest mama!’ She’s sneaky with that phone!”
As for the show, the U.S. version promises more back up dancers and video elements than its across the pond version.
“Baby, trust me, when you come to the Werq The World Tour, all of our fans should expect the unexpected,” Shangela explained. “This is like no other concert tour that’s happened. We amped it up even more! For the U.S. we wanted to make this a bigger and better show. We’re really excited to come to these cities and give the audience what we do best, which is a sickening live show!”