Firstly, if you’re not familiar with the juggernaut TV eleganza extravaganza that is RuPaul’s Drag Race, where the hell have you been hunty? Get your (padded) ass to a TV, tune into Stan, and get your life – you’ve got 13 seasons (not to mention Untucked episodes) to catch up on. If you're already initiated, get ready for the T from Drag Race superstar and crowd favourite ShangelaLaquifa Wadley.
Halleloo, seasoned fans, Mama Ru knows that ya’ll wanted a twist. But many viewers were left with the face crack of the century in the final episode of All Stars Season Three earlier this year, when Shangela unexpectedly lost out on the chance to lip sync for the crown.
Tipped to win the season, and a cash prize of $100,000, Shangela was voted off by the eliminated queens in a stunning twist introduced by RuPaul. In addition to leaving legions of Shangela supporters shook near half to death, Shangela’s devastated tear-streaked face (see above) fast became the meme du jour for expressing crushing disappointment.
Now, Shangela has exclusively dished to The Music about how she recovered from her shock elimination while she's here in Australia for Dragfest.
Shangela has shared a uniquely close bond with RuPaul since first appearing on season two of Drag Race. However, when asked about RuPaul’s response to her All Stars exit, Shangela told The Music’s Senior Editor Maxim Boon, "To be honest, I’ve had no communication with Ru about All Stars Three since the finale."
“I haven’t had that moment with him. But I wrote a letter to Ru after the finale aired - I never published it, I never did anything with it, I just kept it for myself. Because I feel like there’s a conversation there that needs to be had at some point about what happened.”
While Shangela confirmed that the unsent letter called Ru out for introducing the twist that saw her crash out of the competition, she was quick to also express her gratitude to the Drag Race creator.
“Honestly, that conversation [about All Stars] is going to start with thank you, and it ends with thank you. And also, Ru knows me, I went straight back to work. She was probably like, 'Shangie’s fine. She's on a 170-city tour, she is in drag for half the year.'
“And I am so thankful to Ru for that. I’m thankful for the entire experience. And even though I didn’t get the other queens' vote to go on, I still feel like I did what I came [to All Stars] to do; which was to show my fans, and the people who have supported me from the beginning — 'cos you know, she had a wig and dream and no make-up on season two — that Shangela could come back, and that she's made.”
In the months since that her-storic moment in the AS3 final episode, Shangela has found her trademark ‘Halleloo’ again, stepping into the spotlight beyond the shade.
“Looking back on the final, I feel like it was still a great moment for me, because even though I was devastated that I didn’t get to perform in the finale, which I really wanted to, I knew I’d be ok. And I felt like Ru looked at me as if, ‘Alright, she’s good. That’s my daughter, I believe in her.’ And I’ve always wanted to make RuPaul proud.
“What I learned from it was that is that in this life, you can’t predict what twists, turns, hardships, challenges, what game tricks are gonna come your way. But what you can have control over is how you’re going to react. And yes, in that moment I was sad. But I picked myself up off the ground and kept it moving. Because that’s who I am, and that’s what I hope I inspired other people to do."
Any Shangela fans hoping she'll return to the show for her "Ruvenge" may be waiting a long time. When asked if she would potentially embark on a fourth season, Shangela responded, “Oh hell no! Absolutely not! Unless I’m a judge. But no, I am not doing season number four. I think I came back to All Stars, and I did everything and achieved everything I wanted to do. I had fun, I did my absolute best, I was exactly the queen I always envisaged I could be.
“You know the Kitty Girl video, that was my favourite moment. Firstly, I never made it to the finale before, so I was really excited to perform. Second, being part of that kind of video, dancing with those girls to Ru’s music, that’s my heart right there.
"So now it’s time to see what’s next for Shangela. I’ve done Drag Race, I competed in three seasons, I appeared on the show in six. So, will I come back some day in future if they ask me? Well, you never know where I’ll pop-up! I’m Shangela, I always return! But for now, it’s time for a new chapter."