Shangela

Why stay in when you can come out? And why not celebrate that equality all night long while you’re at it? With a night full of fun, complete with a good cause —Borgata’s PRIDE Bingo will support Garden State Equality, the largest LGBTQ advocacy organization in New Jersey — as well as a visit from drag superstar Shangela, of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “A Star is Born”, it’s bound to be epic.

“I’m so thrilled for my first time performance in Atlantic City on December 7. It’s a drag bingo but it’s Shangela, so it’s going to be high energy fun and ultimately super fabulous and fierce,” says Shangela of the PRIDE events. “I’m also excited to meet the fans and connect with them at the event later that night, where I’ll be hosting a meet and greet.”

Here are three ways to celebrate pride this weekend.

PRIDE Bingo. There’s bingo. And then there’s PRIDE Bingo, a better and more fabulous version emceed by Sandy Beach and Wendy Whaxwood with music by DJ James Anthony, as well as a special performance by Shangela and former contestants of Asbury Park’s Miss Paradise drag show pageant. With cocktails starting at $7, hilarious antics and prizes for Bingo winners, this campy and fabulous event is a must-attend. Bingo starts at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $35.

LuAnn de Lesseps Holiday Cabaret. After Bingo, head to the Music Box for a cabaret show with Real Housewives of New York star Luann de Lesseps and her Countess Cabaret. With performances of her hit songs, and anecdotes about her glamorous life in the fast lane, this is a perfect event to hit after PRIDE Bingo. The show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $55 and $65.

OUT at Borgata Mezzanine Party at Premier Nightclub.Don’t head home before stopping by Premier Nightclub, where OUT at Borgata takes over the mezzanine for a festive party hosted by Shangela with music from D-Nice. The party starts at 10 p.m. Bring your ticket stub from PRIDE Bingo or the LuAnn de Lesseps show for complimentary entrance before midnight. Or, for general admission, tickets are $25.

Fun facts to know about Shangela

Halleloo! Shangela is coming to Atlantic City and we couldn’t be more excited.

Don’t know who Shangela is? That’s all about to change — Shangela is taking the world by storm. With 367,000 Twitter followers and a year that included a stop at the Oscars and being named to Time magazine’s “100 NEXT” list, Shangela is becoming a fierce and fabulous force to be reckoned with.

Who is Shangela?

Shangela Laquifa Wadley, most commonly known as the singular “Shangela” is a drag queen, actor and reality TV star. Shangela grew to fame over two regular seasons and an “All Stars” season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” which she famously first entered after only a few months performing drag. She’s performed in everything from sitcoms to award shows and even appeared in the film “A Star is Born,” a role for which she was hand-picked by Lady Gaga.

Shangela can spin

Prior to becoming famous for drag, Shangela was more commonly known as DJ “Darius Jeremy” Pierce. And while the public may be accustomed to seeing Shangela looking divine at red carpet events, when he heads back to visit his hometown, DJ Pierce is another regular guy raking leaves for his mom and grandmother the day before Thanksgiving.

“I’m from a smaller, more rural and conservative community,” Shangela says. “But I’ve noticed that as the world progresses, my town progresses. And when I go back, the most unlikely of people will pull me aside and say ‘I saw you in something,’ and congratulate me.”

Shangela worked at TGI Fridays

If you need a little inspiration today, let this be it. Prior to rubbing shoulders with Beyonce and Oprah, DJ Pierce worked in “a carpeted tan cubicle in Dallas” for the PR office of TGI Fridays.

“I loved it,” Shangela insists. “It’s what I went to college for.”

After a company Halloween party-turned-pageant where Pierce took center stage, the CEO of the company, seeing his talent, told him that while they loved him there, if he was ever interested in performing, he should do it.

“I always wanted to be an actor but thought it might be a lofty dream,” Shangela says. “I didn’t see a lot of out and proud gay men.”

Within six months of those encouraging words from his CEO, DJ Pierce had packed up his car, and was Hollywood bound.

Shangela lives in a basement.

Shangela may live in a basement, but this ain’t, as they say, your mama’s basement — it’s the basement apartment of Jennifer Lewis, acclaimed actress, singer and activist, who Shangela met backstage at a show in New York prior to ever moving to L.A.

“I met her on bended knee,” says Shangela. “I said ‘I’m saving my money and moving to L.A., and she said, ‘You’re crazy, but I might need an assistant’.”

When Shangela got to L.A., she reached out to Lewis.

While Lewis didn’t remember Shangela at first, Shangela was quickly hired as a second assistant and moved into Lewis’s basement.

Since then, the two have attended the Oscars together, and created a “Jennifer Lewis and Shangela” show on YouTube.

“I’m not moving until she kicks me out,” Shangela says with a laugh.

Shangela will be on HBO

Look for Shangela in a new show, “We’re Here” slated for HBO in spring 2020. A six part series, the show brings three famous drag queens — Shangela, Bob the Drag Queen and Eureka O’Hara — to small towns across the country where they will inspire “drag daughters” to step out of their comfort zones and into who they were meant to be.

“There are powerful and unique stories out there,” says Shangela. “It’s about the thought power of drag and that inner fierceness.”

Shangela is humbled by her success

“To be able to say I’ve met and worked with Lady Gaga is still ‘wow’ for me,” Shangela says. “I know what it took to get here. I’m thankful to be a rep for the queer community, for the African-American community, for the small town person with dreams.”

“I’m consistently grateful. I know where I came from. I know who I am, and I know and have hope about where I’m going.”

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