On HBO’s We’re Here (think To Wong Foo meets Queer Eye), three queens of Drag Race royalty – Shangela Laquifa Wadley, Bob the Drag Queen and Eureka – descend on Smalltown USA to give one or more of its denizens not just a makeover but so much more.
Each week of the 6-episode series, which is available to stream on all HBO platforms, finds the queens and their teams turning shy boys, devastated moms, local queens and strong allies into confident performers. Working with the community and families, they bring joy and love and empathy as they set upon creating a one-night only drag show experience of a lifetime.
And now, We’re Here is Emmy-nominated for Outstanding Unstructured Program.
I spoke to Shangela (and got an exclusive look at her new ‘do!) and costume designer Diego Montoya (who designed Shangela’s A Star Is Born London premiere and Oscar dresses) about the difficulties and rewards of putting together elaborate shows in short time, how they’re managing during the pandemic (Diego is in NYC, Shangela is back home in Paris, Texas), being a stage mom and how We’re Here is the perfect centerpiece for Pride Month and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Shangela (aka D.J. Pierce) also started Feed the Queens, an inclusive initiative which helps fight hunger in the drag community during these especially uncertain times.
I spoke with Drag Race winner Bob the Drag Queen (aka Caldwell Tidicue) the day after his birthday with his richly talented costume designer Domino about We’re Here, allies, the art of drag as activism and making it work in small towns. Says Bob, “we did not bring queerness to these towns, they already existed in these towns.”
I spoke to Eureka O’Hara (aka David Huggard) and their designer Patryq Howell about the challenges and rewards of working with an incredible range of small town folks trying to expand their horizons like straight cis guy Clifton, work through the devastating trauma of suicide like mother and daughter Jasmine and Stacey and repair deep wounds like mom conservative mom turned ally Erica.
Through our conversation we touch on the importance of visibility, on the 7-year collaboration between Eureka and Patryq (whose 30-year career has been a lifelong work with queens across the country) and how drag doesn’t show who are you, it reveals who you are.
This piece is compiled from three separate interviews.
HBO’s We’re Here is nominated for Outstanding Unstructured Program and is available to stream on all HBO platforms.