Three death-dropping divas — Shangela Laquifa Wadley, Eureka O’Hara and Bob the Drag Queen — are traversing the country to change hearts, minds and lives through the transformative power of drag. And they aren’t stopping at humans.
Every episode of HBO’s new docuseries We’re Here, airing Thursdays at 9/8c, begins with a trio of dragged-out RVs pulling up to an unsuspecting small town. And while the vehicles may look like they veered off of a Wacky Races course, know this: the queens inside mean serious business. Just look at Shangela, whose glittery pink RV comes complete with an over-sized bow, a plump set of lips and, of course, Shangie’s signature catchphrase, “Halleloo!”
“We all had a small hand in designing our RVs with the show’s incredible production designer Marla Weinhoff,” Shangela tells TVLine. “She’s amazing, and she’s worked with everyone from Lady Gaga and beyond. My RV has a lot of the essence of Shangela. The big bow is a nod to the fun and the glamour, and it’s got those big lips because you know I’m always talking about something, honey.”
Last week’s premiere paired Shangela with Hunter, a young gay make-up artist from Gettysburg, Penn., whose experience not only gave him a confidence boost but also strengthened his relationship with his father. Tonight’s episode, which sends the queens to Twin Falls, Idaho, matches Shangie with two new proteges who will forever hold a special place in the drag icon’s heart. “Their story is one that isn’t always at the forefront when we think about queer stories and experiences in small towns,” Shangela says. “Their story is going to resonate with so many people.”
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There’s a lot to fit into each hour-long episode, and even with the luxury of a commercial-free broadcast, some quality material inevitably ends up on the cutting room floor. According to Shangela, most of what we don’t see is the queens exploring each town and experiencing more of the community — often with unexpected results.
“In Gettysburg, we went to an old house that was used during the war that they said was potentially still haunted by ghosts,” Shangela recalls. “These ladies, all dressed in traditional costumes, took on this guided tour. We weren’t supposed to touch anything, but while I was maneuvering through one of the rooms, I accidentally touched this bar that knocked all these things down. I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to have to pay for all this old memorabilia!’ The women were like, ‘It’s OK, darling,’ but Bob and Eureka were like, ‘You’re going to get arrested!'”
In fact, the queens did quite a bit of off-camera bonding during production on We’re Here. “We’re the kind of girls you can’t keep in the house,” Shangela says, adding that the trio did everything together, from going to the movies to going bowling. “There’s a video on my Instagram where I was rolling nothing but gutter balls. Bob goes, ‘It would probably help if you did a death drop.’ So I threw the ball and did a death drop and the ball knocked every pin down. Look it up.”
So we did: