Halleloo, Hollywood! RuPaul’s Drag Race star Shangela gets the movie star treatment by being featured in the latest first look from Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s A Star is Born.
In the film, Shangela (aka D.J. Pierce) plays the owner and drag emcee of the bar Gaga’s ingenue character Ally sings at before she meets Bradley Cooper’s music star character Jackson Maine. Shangela’s character is also Ally’s drag mother, and along with a performance opposite fellow Drag Race alum William, who plays drag performer Emerald, Shangela provides even more visibility to LGBT stories in mainstream Hollywood films.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Shangela said she originally thought she wasn’t right the part, which called for a Marilyn Monroe-esque character. But Gaga, who also had Shangela appear in her “Applause” lyric video, specifically sought her out for the role.
“When I got an email from Bobby Campbell, Lady Gaga’s longtime manager, who knew me from…the ‘Applause’ video, he said, ‘LG’…Lady Gaga, halleloo–‘would really like you to come in for this role, she thinks it’d be a great fit for you,” she said to Entertainment Weekly. “When I got that, honey, I found the nearest blonde wig, I found the nearest white dress, and I was black Marilyn! Then the role after I auditioned changed to a drag bar owner and it expanded a little more.”
“It was so cool to see how already well-versed he was when we got there,” she said. “He seemed like he was having a good time…he’s done his research. Before I was in his film, I was a fan. To see how much work he’s put into everything he’s done to be at the top of his game, this was no different.”
A Star is Born will be in theaters Oct. 5.