D.J. “Shangela” Pierce competed as a contestant on the popular reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race three times. But in April, Shangela branched out on her own with the new show We’re Here on HBO. It follows her, along with fellow Drag Race queens Eureka O’Hara and Bob the Drag Queen, as they travel across the US to small towns connecting with people who have queer or queer-adjacent stories. During an interview on CNET’s new podcast I’m So Obsessed, Shangela opened up about both the fun she had making We’re Here (spoiler: there’s lots of glitter) and the inspiration she gained from the people she met.
“We come to these cities and not only connect with people, but we have to build confidence in them and put them in drag for the very first time in their lives,” Shangela says. “Sometimes in places where you don’t think there’s support for the LGBTQ community there actually is.”
We’re Here is part reality show, part social experiment, part drag revue. Its six-episode first season wrapped at the beginning of June and is now available to stream on HBO and HBO Max. Earlier this month We’re Here was renewed for a second season.
My interview with Shangela was recorded at the beginning of April. In it we discuss how she got into drag, working with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in the film A Star Is Born, the origin of her catchphrase, “Halleloo!” and what it’s like performing in 184 drag shows as part of the Werq the World tour that features stars from Drag Race.
Listen to my entire conversation with Shangela and subscribe to I’m So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode we catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about their work, career and current obsession.