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Even After 5 Drag Race Auditions, Shea Couleé Was Determined to Become a Legend

Even After 5 Drag Race Auditions, Shea Couleé Was Determined to Become a Legend


Even After 5 Drag Race Auditions, Shea Couleé Was Determined to Become a Legend
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Out sat down with the Drag Race legend at Smirnoff's recent drag showcase competition in Puerto Vallarta, and it was a total kiki!

Shea Couleé is an all-star in their own right. After competing on RuPaul’s Drag Race and its spin-off series All Stars, going on to win All Stars 5, the star has found themselves gaining national recognition from it. Couleé has also been seen on the runway in Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty fashion show and in the upcoming series Ironheart on Disney+.

The drag star hosted the finale for Smirnoff’s drag showcase competition in Puerto Vallarta back in October, with Kara Mel DVille winning the ultimate prize. In this fun conversation, Couleé discusses the weekend, being persistent and determined, and their relationship with the drag community.

Courtesy of Smirnoff

Out: How excited are you for the drag showcase with Smirnoff this weekend and why was it important for you to be a part of this initiative?

Shea Couleé: My initial reaction to partnering with [Smirnoff] is because they’ve been allies for over 50 years. I’ve always known Smirnoff to be supporters of the LGBTQ+ community and that was very important. I have very fond memories of being young and drinking Smirnoff so I thought to check in with my younger self and younger me would be thrilled for this great opportunity. I see this as a homage to myself. Also, to be able to be activated in so many communities across the country with [Smirnoff], it’s a reminder of why drag is important and how many opportunities from different backgrounds can show up and show off. These spaces are safe and celebratory, which is why it was important for me to be a part of this.

Auditioning for Drag Race five times and finally getting the call to be a part of the show, what did that teach you about persistence and determination?

It taught me mostly about divine timing and that greatness can’t be rushed. Your moment is yours. I believe it’s important to show up every day and bring your best self regardless if you’re receiving accolades or not. Every time I auditioned and didn’t get a callback, it inspired me to be better and do better.

So many guests have appeared on the competition. Who would you love to see make a guest appearance on Drag Race?

I would love to see Britney Spears appear. It would be gaggy.

You’ve mentioned in the past that you wanted to use drag to inspire others. In what ways do you feel you’ve inspired people?

I don’t really get the chance to sit back and check in, which would probably be more helpful. Anytime I am approached by someone who tells me that, I have gratitude because not everyone gets the ability to live out their dreams and it’s another thing to do something that is already so scary enough as it is to know your actions, choices, and trying to carve your own lane has inspired somebody else to do the same for themselves. It feels incredible. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to have a platform and do this on such a grand scale.

Everyone this past week has been on Tyla’s record "Water." What’s a record that you can’t stop listening to or putting people on to?

"Confessions of a Fangirl" by Cydnee with a C. It’s really cute. In addition to that, I would also say "On My Mama" by Victoria Monet.

You dropped a project yourself this year called 8. From a musical standpoint, what did you learn creating the project and what do you want to do next time?

I would say the biggest thing I learned is ask questions. It will simplify and better inform your process so you don’t run into any problems. There’s a lot of things in music I didn’t understand so sometimes you need to humble yourself and be okay with being a rookie. Like understanding licensing beats because you never want to submit a song for publishing and find out a chunk of it belongs to someone else (laughs).

Describe your relationship with drag, the drag community, and why it's such an important space to showcase, especially in the media?

I would love to see more compassion, love, and kindness. The world has been going through a lot lately and I’m praying and manifesting for harmony, balance, kindness, and humanity because it’s felt a bit heavy in the world lately so wherever we can find, let’s project lightness into the world.

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