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The Fantastic Shangela!—the Interview
photo courtesy of Shangela.com
Ingredients: One mega-watt spoonful of sheer dazzle, a generous helping of pure fabulosity, a sprinkle of sweet-Southern sass—if all that and the Jiffy Pop didn't burst to a thousand-and-one degrees already! … Halleloo … Call in the Kernel!

Snatching California Entertainer of the Year plus a slew of prime time TV roles, recognized as a top “Lens on Talent” national finalist, with sold-out stage performances and achievement as a two-time queen contestant on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Miss Shangela LaQueefah Watley Debutantess brought it all, along with her golden cob!

New York Q News: Frostgela the Snow Hoe kept her cool when you had to lip-sync for your life—or was she a complete puddle of nerves?

Shangela: Frostgela is a frostitute from way back ... She's been in tight situations, so she kept her cool and silently rooted for her gurl. Although when she saw Vanessa Williams was the guest judge, she almost rolled herself forward. She's a big "Ugly Betty" fan.
NYQN: What made you want to tackle “Drag Race” for a second time?

SLaQ: I sashayed away from the second season of “Drag Race” after only the first episode. Watching the rest of the season from home, I felt like I could have really given a strong run in the other challenges ... so I went into drag boot camp: makeup, wigs, and performances. And after a year and a half of doing drag, I felt that I got to know better exactly who Shangela is, and I was ready to share that with the world. So I auditioned again.

NYQN: Did you ever get the lucky chance to watch RuPal’s transformation on set—wigs, make-up, costumes?

SLaQ: There's a transformation process? I could have sworn that Ru just steps into a phone booth, like the drag super hero she is, and comes out SICK'NING!

NYQN: Watching Carmen Carrera tuck with the duct tape in a recent episode, I dare ask, not directly on the bits and pieces—gasp!—or over the undergarment? It appeared to be tape-to-skin contact!

SLaQ: Duct tape is an ingenious creation. I've been in the same room with Carmen, and I can tell you that, if there's an undergarment, it's made with the same material as the Emperor's new clothes!

NYQN: The gig is up, Shangela. I have a str8 school-boy crush on you and, frankly, being “strictly-dicky,” I find it odd, quite perplexing—and I like it! You’re a single gal, correct? So what is Shangela’s type?

SLaQ: Welcome to the ShanFan club! (laughs) I'm single, yes ... and definitely open to finding some love in this New Year. But my life is a lot for someone to take on right now, so you’d better buckle up and be ready for quite the ride! Plus, the right guy has gotta get through the stone wall of approval ... better known as my Mother. She's an overprotective military vet with a license to carry firearms, and I'm her only child. She's like Tyler Perry's Madea and Foxxy Brown rolled into one Southern diva.

NYQN: Out of drag, other queens surprise me with a disconnection from “performer” or “character” to the dude underneath, but with you it feels authentic, that without wearing “Shangela,” you’re still very much the same personality and persona in real-life—plus out of drag, you’re ridiculously cute … There I said it …

SLaQ: Awww, thank you! I think I may have to pencil you in on a Saturday night. Shangela is definitely a character, but you're right ... there is a lot of DJ in there as well. Even when I'm in drag, I genuinely want to connect with people, and that comes from my heart.

NYQN: I’m envisioning something in a shade of maize, train of gilded stalks and a perfect pat of butter as a fetching cocktail hat (giggles), the corn, the cob. Why the corn?

SLaQ: In the first creation I ever made on “Drag Race,” in season two, I decorated my dress with kernels and wore a corn cob as an accessory on my arm. What was I thinking?!? But corn has stuck with me. It reminds me of my start on this journey, and it also speaks to who I am as a person ... good ol' down home Shangela, sprouting toward the sky. Halleloo!

NYQN: Shade seems to be a red-hot color of every “Drag Race” season. What is with all the bitching between drag queen performers?

SLaQ: Drag Race is a competition. And this year, it's a competition for $75,000 plus all the other titles and tours. The race is tense, you're under lots of pressure to deliver in a short time, and every day, queens are dropping like flies. So, with that tension comes cat- fighting. But we also create some really great friendships during the show, and I'm lucky to call a lot of the girls my sisters.

NYQN: I’m not a fan of the touchy-feely, contact-sport brawl that the show and some of the queens have pulled this season. Uncomfortable, yes, but gutsy as hell to do in front of RuPaul..

SLaQ: True. The lip sync isn't supposed to be a battle against each other. It's your last opportunity to show the judges why you deserve to be still in the competition, to make the connection.

NYQN: Before you dash off in a cyclone of diamonds, pearls, and poppin’ personality, what is next for my favorite starlet?

SLaQ: I'm so excited about the upcoming year. I'm touring Gay Pride events and clubs all over the country, performing a new standup show called "Halle-losin' It," and hoping to be working on more TV/film projects. Did you catch my short film "Body of a Barbie" on BET? You know I've gotta represent for the newbies on the move! Keep up with me at my new web site, Shangela.com.

NYQN: P.S., quick, give me a fantastic drag name. Go ahead, I’ll wait (wink).

SLaQ: Let's have another cocktail! I'm sure it'll come to me in a vision!

Keep up with your favorite Drag Racer on www.LOGOTV.com and www.Shangela.com.

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