Shea Couleé Brought Royalty-Worthy Couture To RuPaul’s Drag Race

The sculptural hair by Edward Sizzahands really completed the look. “It took Chicago braider Mo G three months to hand-braid,” says Couleé. “I saw this as an opportunity to solidify my unique brand and what I feel exudes royalty. I said in the finale of All Stars 5 that my drag, in its purest form, is a love letter to Black women. For me, there is something so sacred about a Black woman’s hair, and I wanted to use that as inspiration for my crown.” To complement it, she used minimal jewelry—well, by Drag Race’s standards. She wore custom ear prosthetics by the Chicago artist Brant McCrea, as well as nails by BbyGirl Nails and additional florals by Cobra Lily. “I wanted to create the illusion of gauged earlobes, with beautiful teardrop-shaped jade plugs. [Brant] took molds of my ears in his studio, and then sculpted the prosthetics so that they could fit over my ears like a glove,” says Couleé. “I felt that I didn’t need a gold gilded crown with jewels and stones to communicate that I am not only a queen, but thee queen.”

Couleé—and many of the other queens—are already bringing their fashion A-game this season. And the drag superstar tells us it’s only going to get better the rest of the season. “What fans can expect from this season is to see some of the most talented and diverse winners come and compete at the top of their game, in a season that I know will absolutely wow viewers,” says Couleé. For her, fashion and drag is much more than just serving up a look. “I love reintroducing myself to myself through the looks I create. They all start off as abstract daydreams, but when it comes to the execution, I’m often surprised at how they manifest themselves,” says Couleé, who plans to push herself this season. “All-in-all, I just remind myself that creating looks is fun for me, and it’s one of the things I enjoy best. As a stylist, I am my biggest muse, and I try with each look to find a way to raise the bar higher for myself.” 

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