DJ Pierce, otherwise known to RuPaul Drag Race fans as drag icon Shangela, was recently a guest on Shadow And Act’s Locked Down With ___series to talk about their upcoming HBO show We’re Here, RuPaul’s Drag Race and more.
During the live Q&A, Pierce talked about his legendary friendship with his personal idol and friend, Jenifer Lewis. He said that after they became friends, he worked as her assistant before moving up to the first assistant position. After becoming first assistant, he got called for Drag Race. After the season ended, Lewis asked Pierce to live with her in her home.
“That was like a dream come true for me,” he said of his friendship with Lewis. “I watched her for so many years on TV…and then all of a sudden I was her assistant. and I was like, woah this can’t be happening. And then I was on Drag Race and then I was moving into her house…then we became friends. I sometimes look back on the fact that we’re friends and that we live in the same place, and I’m just so thankful to the universe and to God…that she saw something in me to be a friend with. I’m thankful to her for being a mentor for me.”
Their friendship led to a short YouTube web series called Jenifer Lewis and Shangela, which is still available for Shangela and Lewis superfans to watch on YouTube.
Pierce also confirmed that he was in talks to return as Shangela for RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 2 but ended up not doing it. At the time, he also auditioned for a role on BET’s short-lived Zoe Ever After, starring Brandy. He made it to the final round. The show was filming at the same time as All Stars 2, so he decided to do the show as his goal was always to work as an actor. Though he didn’t get the role, Pierce has continued to book many television and film gigs–and also had an excellent run on All Stars 3.
We’re Here stars Shangela and fellow Drag Race alumni Bob the Drag Queen and Eureka as they go from small town to small town helping deserving people achieve their dreams and achieve their fullest selves, all while producing a one night only drag show. The series premieres April 23 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.