Rupaul’s Drag Race alum Shangela Laquifa Wadley made history with her Dancing With the Stars debut by being the first drag queen to compete on the show. Shangela and her partner Gleb Savchenko came in third place on the leaderboard on the opening night of the show’s 31st season.
Dancing to a salsa rendition of ‘When I Grow Up’ by the Pussycat Dolls, the duo earned a respectable score of 28 from the judges. At the premiere, Shangela revealed what she thought about making history on the show: “It is a moment for inclusivity, representation, visibility and I wanted to give everybody – especially the gays… my fellow queens, my sisters – I wanted to give them a moment that I know we could all cheer for and that’s what I feel we did.”
It’s a moment that she describes as bigger than herself, and she couldn’t be more thankful for her partner Gleb Savchenko. Talking about his Dancing With the Stars counterpart, Gleb said: “I could not wish for a better partner than Shangela because we’re having such a good time. We have just a natural organic connection.”
Shangela is no stranger to performing, having previously competed in multiple seasons of Rupaul’s Drag Race, as well as Community, We’re Here and A Star is Born. She described this experience as far more nerve-wracking, which would be surprising to many since she even performed in front of the queen herself, Beyoncé.
Talking about that experience, she said: “Listen, I wanted to be lovely for Beyoncé… that was the moment that I got to honour her through me — it was her music. This (Dancing With the Stars) is like training in a world that I’m not as familiar.”
Shangela’s Dancing With the Stars debut is another move for LGBTQ+ representation. Shangela went on to mention her appreciation for the love and support she has received from fans, and how important it is to have queer representation in a show like this.
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