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Shea Couleé is the stage name of Jaren Kyei Merrell, a drag queen, performer, rapper, and one of the Season 9 contestants of RuPaul's Drag Race (placed 3rd/4th alongside Trinity The Tuck).[1]

On May 8, 2020, it was announced that she would be competing on All Stars 5.

Name Origin

"Shea" is slang spell of her real middle name, Kyei (Swahili for "beautiful boy"). "Couleé" is a reference to the dessert coulis.[2]


Drag Family

Couleé has 2 drag daughters: Kenzie Couleé and Bambi-Banks Couleé. Along with her, they represent the drag house "Masion Couleé".[1]

RuPaul's Drag Race

Shea Couleé
Season Competed: Season 9 All Stars 5
Ranking: 3rd/4th TBA
Maxi Challenges Won: 4 (Eps. 4, 5, 9, 11) TBA
Mini Challenges Won: 0 TBA
Times as Team Captain: 0 TBA
Times in Bottom Two: 1 (Ep. 10) TBA
Episode Eliminated: Episode 14 TBA

In Season 9 premiere, the main challenge the contestants were tasked to compete in a pageant, serving up a hometown look and a Lady Gaga inspired look. For the hometown look, Shea chose a red outfit with a hot dog headpiece, representing Chicago. While for her Gaga look, Couleé chose a dress from Lady Gaga's Monster Ball Tour. She was praised but ended up safe.

In Episode 4, "Good Morning Bitches!", the contestants were split into teams and had to do a morning show with Naya Rivera. Aja chose Shea to be on their team to do the "cooking segment" with Sasha Velour. They played on the idea that they were flirting together whilst the show was live, and with their great chemistry together, were declared the winners of the challenge.

In Episode 5, "Kardashian: The Musical", the contestants were assigned roles on reality TV stars, particularly the Kardashians, Shea was assigned the role of Blac Chyna. Even though she had a smaller role throughout the play, she stood out both with her dancing and her runway look, ending up as the challenge's winner.

In Episode 9, "Your Pilot's on Fire", the challenge was to work in pairs (with one team of 3) creating, writing, and starring original TV pilots. Based on their previous success together, Shea paired herself with Sasha. They created "Teets & Asky", a crime-fighting duo that fights bad fashion. Their hilarious pilot made them both the winners of the challenge once again.

Couleé received negative critiques in the tenth episode, where she did a bad job in the makeover challenge, and had to lip sync against Nina Bo'nina Brown. Nina lost the lip sync. Staying in the competition, Shea had her last win in Episode 11's fashion ball challenge and reached a spot on the Top 4, lip syncing (for the crown) against her friend Sasha Velour. Unfortunately for her, during the lip sync, Sasha stole all the attention by a dramatic review of rose petals from her gloves and wig, which prevented Shea to reach the Top 2.

Memorable Quotes

Season 9

  • "My name is Shea Couleé, and I didn't come to play, I came to slay!" (entrance quote)
  • "Chicago drag is the that's right, bitch, it's got its own domain!"
  • "Nothing reminds me of home more than a big wiener sandwiched in between 2 buns."
  • "WHY Y'ALL ACTING BRAND NEW? We have to get out of here! Who's after Peppermint?... Damn!" (to castmates during Untucked Episode 3)
  • "Mama, you look so good it's damn near sinful." (to RuPaul)
  • "And I don't taste a day over 15." (Naomi Campbell in "Snatch Game", to RuPaul after he said she didn't look a day over 16)
  • "I tough about Tyra Banks' modeling career, so I said: the toilet." (as Naomi Campbell in "Snatch Game")
  • "Michelle, we know you for being a kind patient shero... and gonorrhea clinics know you as pacient zero." (said during "Michelle Visage's Roast")
  • "...If you liked my performance my name is Shea Couleé, but if you hated it my name is Nina Bo'nina Brown." (said during "Michelle Visage's Roast")
  • "Trinity, when's your birthday? I'mma mail you some edges."
  • "I will subpoena Nina."
  • "Messica Simpson." (referring to Nina Bo'nina Brown)
  • "I see the claws... comin' out, gurl."
  • "I think we got a real lip sync ASSASSIN on our hands!" (referring to Peppermint)
  • "Oh, SHE DOESN'T KNOW THE WORDS." (referring to Valentina during her lip sync against Nina Bo'nina Brown)
  • "Do I look upset to you?" (to Valentina)
  • "Talk shit, get hit."

All Stars 5

  • "I'm blaaaack." (entrance quote)
  • "She's here to save the day!" (commenting on Mariah's entrance look)
  • "Woo!" (impersonating Derrick Barry’s entrance quote)


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  • Shea Couleé graduated with a degree in costume design on Columbia College in 2011.[1]
    • The summer after her graduation, Couleé started doing drag.[1]
  • She speaks French.[2]
  • She was named by New York Magazine as one of the top 100 most powerful drag queens in America in June 2019.[1]
  • Between 2018 and 2020, she was nominated twice for the WOWIE Awards and once to The Queerties Awards.[1]
  • Alongside Monét X Change, The Vixen, and Dax Exclamationpoint, she inspired the Marvel Comics' drag queen superhero "Shade".
  • She has a dog named Baby Couleé.[3]
  • She lost her father 2 weeks after the Season 9 cast review and 4 weeks after, her sister also passed away after a long battle with breast cancer.
  • She slipped on Sasha Velour's rose petals during their lip-sync on Season 9 finale but this was edited out of the televised cut.
  • Not including All Stars seasons, Sasha Velour and her are the first pair of contestants to share 2 joint challenge wins.
  • She was the first contestant to win 3 challenges on Season 9, including consecutive ones.
  • She's the third ever contestant to win 4 main challenges during her season, after Sharon Needles in Season 4 and Alaska in All Stars 2.
    • She is also the first contestant with 4 or more challenge wins not to be crowned the overall winner of her season, followed by BenDeLaCreme in All Stars 3, who voluntarily eliminated herself after winning 5 challenges, and by Gigi Goode, who also won 4 challenges and did not win Season 12.
  • She is tied with Season 5 winner Jinkx Monsoon for the third best pre-finale track record on a regular season behind Season 6 winner Bianca Del Rio, as well as All Stars 1 and Season 1 contestant Nina Flowers.
  • She was in a Lush Cosmetics ad campaign for Christmas in 2018 along with Kim Chi and Detox.
  • Much like Trinity The Tuck, Season 2, Season 3 and All Stars 3 contestant Shangela, BenDeLaCreme, as well as Season 11 contestants Brooke Lynn Hytes, Silky Nutmeg Ganache, A'keria Chanel Davenport and Nina West, she had more wins than the winner of her season.
  • She was asked to be in All Stars 3 and All Stars 4, but declined.


Season 9 Looks

All Stars 5 Looks



  • Couleé-D  (Tracklist: 1. "Ride"; 2. "Cocky" with Lila Star & The Vixen; 3. "Feeling So"). (2017)

Non-Album Singles

  • "Crème Brûlée". (2018)
  • "Gasoline". (2018)
  • "Brand New". (2019)
  • "Rewind" with GESS. (2019)


  • "Category Is... (Season 9 Remix)" by RuPaul with The Cast of RuPaul's Drag Race, Season 9. (2017)
  • "R U Mad (John 'J-C' Carr & Bill Colemax Mix)" by Michael Blume with Peppermint. (2018)
  • "Symphony" by GESS. (2018)
  • "Snooze" by Big Dipper. (2018)
  • "Room, Pt. 2" (2018) by The Vixen. (2018)
  • "Breakfast at Tiffany's" by Aja. (2019)
  • "Double Filter Face" by Shawn Hollenbach. (2019)


Movies / Documentaries

  • Lipstick City, as "Mrs. Couleé/Shea". (2016)


  • You're So Talented, in Seasons 1 and 2 as herself. (2015-2016)
  • RuPaul's Drag Race, in Season 9 as contestant. (2017)
  • Breakfeast Television Toronto, as herself. (2017)
  • WGN-TV, as guest. (2017)
  • Hey Qween, as herself. (2017)
  • Windy City Life, as herself. (2018)

Web Series

Music Videos

  • Too Funky by Peppermint. (2017)
  • "Ride". (2017)
  • "Cocky". (2017)
  • "Feeling So". (2017)
  • "Crème Brûlée". (2018)
  • "Sally Walker" by Iggy Azalea, as a traffic collision driver. (2019)
  • "Rewind". (2019)

Advertising Capaigns

  • Merry DRAGmas by Lush, as herself. (2018)




Social Media



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