Shangela sashayed and made TV history last month when she became the first drag entertainer to compete on “Dancing with the Stars.”
The “RuPaul’s Drag Race” veteran kicked off her run on the ABC competition series in September with a sexy salsa set to the Pussycat Dolls’ “When I Grow Up.” For last week’s James Bond-themed episode, she and professional dancer Gleb Savchenko wowed viewers with a dramatic “GoldenEye” rumba.
Appearing on “The Jennifer Hudson Show” on Monday, Shangela, whose real name is DJ Pierce, said her main goal on “Dancing with the Stars” was simply to have fun. Still, he acknowledged the “magnitude of this moment” in the interview.
“I’m no stranger to being the first queen to do things,” she explained. “I was the first queen to walk the red carpet at the Oscars in drag, I was the first drag queen to ever attend. [Vice President Kamala Harris’] residence.”
Watch Shangela’s appearance on “The Jennifer Hudson Show” below.
As for breaking down barriers in pop culture, she added: “It’s not just about being number one. You have to walk, you have to represent authentically and fiercely, and then you have to keep that door open for girls who are coming after you.”
Texas native Shangela made her first appearance on the second season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” in 2010. Her initial run on the series, however, was short-lived as she became the first contestant to be eliminated that season.
He surprised fans by returning to “Drag Race” for the following season, finishing fifth. In 2018, she was a finalist on “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” and that same year she appeared in “A Star is Born” with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.
“Dancing with the Stars” has featured a number of LGBTQ contestants since its premiere in 2005. In 2018, Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon became the show’s first gay winner. Last season, JoJo Siwa set a new precedent when she became the first contestant to be paired with a same-sex partner.
Elsewhere in her chat with Hudson, Shangela credited her time on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” for giving her a competitive edge. Still, she said her “Dancing with the Stars” run has already come with a number of unexpected challenges.
“Everyone thinks, ‘Oh, you’re a dancer,’ but I’ve never been formally trained,” she said. “I’ve never had technical training before, I’ve never been in a ballroom, so this is all very new.”
“But I’m not afraid,” he continued. “I want to do my best, represent my community and show up.”