“Toddlers & Tiaras” is the poster TV show for how not to parent. You know it’s true, honey boo boo child! So go figure that the little girl with the least insane pageant mom and the best head on her shoulders is the goddaughter of a drag queen. Meet Shangela, aka DJ Pierce, an actor, stand-up comedian and drag performer from L.A. who just so happens to be the godfather of a lucky 9-year-old girl named Hailey. I came into the office this morning blabbing about the fabulousness of Shangela and Ami goes, “Oh, Shangela? She was on RuPaul’s Drag Race!” WHAT. NO. Now I’m obsessed — and I’m sure if you can stomach last night’s episode of “Toddlers & Tiaras,” you will be, too.
After the jump, 10 essential things to know about our new reality TV BFF Shangela, drag queen-slash-pageant-coach:
- Shangela was born and raised in Paris, Texas, the daughter of an Army veteran mom and churchgoing grandparents who raised pig and cattle.
- I know what you’re thinking: a young, black gay dude in rural Texas? Well, she wasn’t openly gay in high school. But she was one of the school’s first male cheerleaders and dressed up in drag for class assignments.
- After graduation, Shanglea worked in PR for T.G. I. Friday’s and also briefly worked on the Hill.
- But the cubicle life was not for her: “DJ Pierce” became Shangela in 2009 after choreographing “Single Ladies” for a drag event in L.A. At the last minute, one of the guys backed out and she stepped in — and ended up getting a booking for “Shangela” to perform the very next week.
- Shangela was cast on season two of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” but headed home after the first episode.
- Her catchphrase is “Halleloo” — like “hallelujah,” without the last “jah.”
- But no worries! She filmed a small guest spot for “Community,” which aired in November, playing a drag character named Miss Urbana Champaign and appeared on “Dance Moms” teaching the girls something terrifying called the “death drop.” She was cast in an NBC pilot called “A Mann’s World” with Don Johnson and Chris Crocker (yes, that Chris Crocker), about three stylists at a hair salon, but it didn’t get picked up.
- Not that it’s hard to look better than Snooki on the red carpet, but Shangela kicked Nicole’s ass in a Star magazine “Who Wore It Better?”
- Shangela is not just a drag queen. She is also a Huffington Post blogger. She blogs about … being a drag queen. She very sweetly thanked her goddaughter Hailey’s parents for including her in the little girl’s life and TLC for showcase their family’s love. “ I hope that audiences see the true heart of our segment tonight: a 9-year-old’s shameless love for her gay godfather who’s famous for performing as a drag queen,” she wrote. “It says a lot about her loving parents (both of whom I attended high school with), and about the open, inclusive environment in which she’s being raised. It also speaks to how cable networks like TLC boldly recognize that the LGBT community is woven into every fabric of our world and is making an effort to include us in its reality storytelling.”
- She’s siiiiingle, ladies! Just a few days ago Shangela told the gay blog AfterElton.com, “Am I open for love? Yes, please! Somebody come marry me in a state where it’s legal! I want be like Kim Kardashian – but I don’t wanna get a divorce in 76 days. But I want a fairy tale.”
Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky, especially if you are Shangela and you want to be my new best friend. Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.