News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Arts & Culture

Listen: 2020 Can't Keep This Emmy-Nominated Texas Queen Down

Shangela, co-host of HBO's "We're Here."
Shangela, co-host of HBO's "We're Here."

From Texas Standard:

DJ Pierce, also known as drag superstar Shangela, was nominated for an Emmy this year for the reality TV series " We're Here," which she co-hosts. But because of the pandemic, she couldn't walk the Emmys red carpet.

What's a girl to do? One option is to hang out in Paris, Texas, and have the red carpet come to you! Paris is Shangela's hometown, and Vogue magazine recently featured several photos of her at different local landmarks there.

"Well, I grew up in Paris, Texas, honey," Shangela told Texas Standard. "I'm a Texan through and through. I graduated from high school here from Paris High. And I come back very often because my grandmother and my mother, my family all live here in Paris. ... And now, since the pandemic, I've been living here for the past seven months, working from Paris to be close to my family."

Going back home also meant she could take advantage of home-cooked meals.

"I'll tell you, I had to order a treadmill from Amazon and set it up at my grandmother's garage because I have been eating very well since being home," she said.

Her friends back in Los Angeles don't always understand the appeal of her hometown.

"They don't know the joys of Paris," she said. "There isn't a huge amount of visibility, or least there wasn't when I was coming up, for an LGBTQ person. ... So people think like, oh, my gosh, you're going back and you're going to be shrouded into this small town again, you poor, poor thing. But I love my small town; I really enjoy it."

She said that being from a small town has helped her appreciate her host role on HBO's show "We're Here."

"The really cool thing about being someone who is on a show like 'We're Here,' which highlights the LGBTQ experience in small towns, to be someone who's from a small town like that, I get to come home almost," Shangela said.

She said some things in Paris haven't changed, like its landmarks or the feeling she gets driving around town. But some things have changed.

"Our town has evolved or at least grown so that there's different ways of thinking. And I feel like I have even more of a place here right now. So that's why I'm so honored to be able to celebrate Paris, whether it's in photos or, you know, an Emmy red carpet, backyard celebration or just going into my local Walmart."

Listen to Shangela's full interview in the audio player above.

If you found the reporting above valuable, please consider making a donation to support it here. Your gift helps pay for everything you find on texasstandard.org and KUT.org. Thanks for donating today.

Copyright 2020 KUT 90.5. To see more, visit KUT 90.5.