WE’RE HERE is HBO’s first unscripted series featuring Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara, and Shangela Laquifa Wadley. It debuts tonight and promises to be poignant with a whole lot of fun as it differentiates itself from other drag shows that follow the formulaic drag “makeover” story arch. Instead, the three lead performers travel throughout America using their wit, talent, warmth, and love to impact the lives of those they encounter within some of the country’s smallest towns.
The show aims to bring people together using the art of drag as the catalyst to bridge the gap between them. Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara, and Shangela Laquifa Wadley have made names for themselves in entertainment after their success on RuPaul’s Drag Race. I had the pleasure of interviewing all three recently in separate interviews to learn more about the project.
Though all three performers are impressive in their own right, Darius Jeremy Pierce’s (Shangela) star rose to a whole new level. In 2018 Bradley cooper created a role for the multi-talented performer as Lady Gaga’s “drag mother” in the Oscar-nominated A Star Is Born. I first had the pleasure of interviewing Shangela on the red carpet of the 2019 GLAAD Media Awards, where she was the event’s host. It was great to chat again –this time about We’re Here on which Darius and co-stars also serve as Consulting Producers.
Have a listen to the full interview here and check out the excerpt below:
Interview Excerpts with Shangela:
Shangela: Halleloo! Hi, Corey
CA: Hey Shangela! How are you today?
Shangela: Oh, honey, fully isolated, and fabulous.
CA: I know we’re all masked up honey, and bubble-wrapped. It’s foolish! But we have to do it.
CA: So congrats on your new HBO docuseries We’re Here, which debuts tonight! On the show, you travel around the US with Eureka and Bob the Drag Queen – two RuPaul’s Drag Race (RPDR) alums, using the art of drag as a vehicle to inspire and transform lives in small towns. You were such an underdog on RPDR, and you got sent home, but then came back remarkably transformed. You became a fan favorite, then went on to even greater things including a major movie. So what’s it like for you being a part of this new show where now you’re helping change the lives of others?
Shangela: The new project we’re here is very special to me for those reasons that you mentioned and a couple of others, specifically, you know, when this project was pitched to us. I was so excited because not to we get the opportunity to go to places to help people transform their lives or go on a journey to realize their best selves, but we’re also doing it in small towns Across America,
That was special to me because I grew up in a small town. I know what it’s like to be a young LGBTQ person or have an LGBTQ story or feeling out of place where you look around, and there aren’t a lot of people like you, so that was really special to me.
CA: When you, Eureka and Bob, went through all the different small towns throughout America, was there one location in particular where you thought, this is the city where we really made a big difference?
Shangela: Wow, you know we go to so many different ones. It’s kind of like, you know, how Charlie called the Angles and give them their assignments, like, “Good morning Charlie.”
Each city was different because they all have their unique communities that look at the LGBTQ community in a different way. But the one thing in common and that is our “Drag daughters” will know there’s community support there. That’s our job –to unearth that. So when I’m thinking about which city really stands out in my mind, I think about, well gosh, I think about Ruston Louisiana, and you know, Louisiana is like the Deep South.
CA: What was it like working with Eureka and Bob the Drag Queen?
I’m thankful to work on this project with Bob and Eureka – both queens who I admire, and both have a very strong work ethic. We have the right chemistry, and we kind of were, you know, put together like, ” Charlie’s Angels. “We created an amazing Sisterhood, going into these towns fearlessly because you know, it’s one thing to go into something by yourself, but it makes things even easier, and we felt more confident going into these towns together.
A lot of people just want to have fun, and that’s what we try to bring to these towns. We liked meeting people, and we worked really hard, going in knowing not everyone would welcome us with open arms, but we wanted to still introduce them to our entertainment, with honesty and love. When we win them over on the entertainment side, then they start to get the message.
Trust me, we don’t just go with Glamour and lights, okay? We go with a message as well.
CA: And what is that takeaway message?
Shangela: I think we’re bringing change to these places, even if they don’t know that we’re helping. We don’t come in there saying, “We’re here to make a change, so here we come, so get ready! No, we just say we’re here, we connect with people, we invite them to be entertained and enjoy life. In doing that, we’ve built hat we’ve built amazing communities of support in very unlikely places.
So everybody check out ‘We’re Here’ tonight on HBO! And honey while everybody is all quarantined, head-on over to YouTube where I recently dropped a new re-release of my one-hour stand-up comedy called LaQuifa is Halleloosin It! Girl,drop that in the article, Yes Put it in!
…So I did. Coming soon, exclusive interviews with Eureka & Bob The Drag Queen.
LaQuifa is HALLELOOSIN’ IT!”