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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 1, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 13
Shangela to make her Seattle debut
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Shangela to make her Seattle debut

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

By now, unless you've been living under a rock, you've either heard about or watched RuPaul's Drag Race. Now in its third season, the show has propelled drag into the mainstream and given Gays a plethora of catchphrases like 'Don't fuck it up' and 'The time has come. For you to lipsync for your life.' But none have been repeated quite as much as 'Halleloo,' as made famous by Shangela Laquifa Wadley: The Debutantness of the Deep South. And if you've really been paying attention to all three seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race, then you will note that whether you hate her or love her, Shangela gives good TV.

Seattle Gay News caught up with the infamous drag star while she was on the set of A Mann's World (a television pilot project for NBC, starring Don Johnson) to discuss the 'T' on her upcoming two-night Seattle debut as a headline performer in Le Faux at Julia's on Broadway.

It only takes a few seconds with Shangela to realize that her energy and humor are infectious. Make no mistake, Seattle; Shangela is gonna bring it!

In her own words, 'I'm coming to town to shut it down!'

On April 8 and 9, Shangela will make her Seattle debut. 'Although I've been to Seattle before to watch a show at 5th Avenue Theatre, this will be my first time performing,' she told SGN. 'I absolutely loved it. I think Seattle is so beautiful and although you all don't get a lot of sunshine up there, the people make up for it in kindness.'

Her best memory of Seattle from her previous visit could be summed up with flying fish. 'I went to the Pike Place Market and some guy was throwing fish,' she joked. 'I wasn't paying attention and I almost got popped in the bush with a fish!'

Shangela has made a name for herself as 'the queen who got to come back' in the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race after being voted off the show in the first episode of season two. To date, Shangela is the only repeat contestant. However, she says there are some misconceptions that she wishes to clear up.

'I wasn't 'brought back,' I had to audition just like everybody else,' she said. 'I felt I had more to offer, so I put together an audition tape and sent it in. The producers saw something in me and decided to give me another chance. It truly was a blessing and a surprise. I didn't take my second chance lightly, and I really turned it up this season.'

'Although I have worked as an actor, in public affairs, and as a comedian, I just knew that drag is the direction I wanted my life to go,' said Shangela. 'My dream has always been to be an entertainer, and I am loving this!'

So what is the 'T' on halleloo?

'I can't take credit for creating the phrase, but I feel great that I was able to popularize it,' she told SGN. 'Halleloo is something I have always said around my friends. Halleloo is the way I live; it's about living your life with fun and in good spirits. If something really good happens to me I say I am livin' the 'loo!'

Any drag sensation will tell you that music is essential. You gotta be current and, if you're not, then you need to bring it with some good old-fashioned Gay classics. Shangela says she is no different. 'I really love all types of music,' she said. 'But right now I am really into Nicki Minaj, and I'm a big Kylie Minogue fan. If I need to bring the mood down a little, I listen to Adele.'

The recent fame that Shangela has embraced from being on Drag Race has allowed her to take her show on the road. From Ohio to Florida to Hollywood, the bad girl of season three has been there and done that.

'Being on the road is the best thing to me because I am able to interact with my Shanfans,' she said. 'It is so important for entertainers to have that face time.'

'When you come to a show that I am in, you get to experience Shangela,' she continued. 'I like for my fans to walk away and feel like they know me. I get to know them, too. I get to see and experience them in their club and their environment. I love it.'

But the road can be perilous for a gal in heels, says Shangela. 'The craziest thing that has gone down on the road was when I was in Ohio,' she recalled. 'There was so much snow on the ground and on my way to the club from the airport we were sliding around on the ice. It was hell on the nerves but I just said, 'Come hell or high water, I am gonna make it to that show!' Halleloo!'

Like many drag queens before her, Shangela has used the art as a way to give back. 'I've always been involved with helping others. I have been given help in my life, and so I have made philanthropy a part of who I have become,' she said. 'It is important to give back. It is who I am. The only way going forward is for people to really reach out and help each other.'

Shangela has been involved as a strong advocate for equality, HIV/AIDS awareness, LGBT youth, and ending hunger.

'Onward and upward - that is how I am living my life,' said the superstar. 'I am so happy to be following my dreams and moving forward. I've got so many projects going on, and it feels great. I am really excited about the NBC pilot I am working on, and a one-hour comedy special called Lequifa I Say What! I am just really enjoying touring and bringing my show to different cities.'

Shangela says she has 'put the boo-hoo down' and is ready to rock Seattle. 'Get ready for a high-energy and fun show!'

An Evening at Le Faux with Shangela will sell out, so get your tickets today. Go to www.lefauxshow.com to reserve your seat. For dinner and large party reservations, call (206) 334-0513. For more information about Shangela, visit www.shangela.com.

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