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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]

Name Origin

"Shea" it's a slang spell of Couleé's real middle name, Kyei (Swahili for "beautiful boy"). "Couleé" is a reference to the dessert Coulis, and the word "Culo", which is "ass" in Spanish, and Italian.[2]


Drag Family

Season 10 contestant The Vixen is Shea's drag sister. Couleé also has 2 drag daughters named Kenzie Couleé[3], and Bambi-Banks Couleé[4], that along with her, represent the drag family/house "Masion Couleé".

RuPaul's Drag Race

Shea Couleé
Season Competed: Season 9
Ranking: 3rd/4th
Mini-Challenges Won: 0
Times as Team Captain: 0
Main Challenges Won: 4 (Eps. 4, 5, 9, 11)
Times in Bottom 2: 1 (Ep. 10)
Episode Eliminated: Episode 14

On Season 9's 1st episode, 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.

On 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 her 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.

On 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.

On 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 harder critics in the 10th episode, where she did a bad job in the makeover challenge, and had to li- sync against Nina Bo'nina Brown. Nina lost the lip sync. Staying in the competition, Shea had her last win on Episode 11's fashion ball challenge and reached a spot on the Top 4, li- 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

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Shea in her music video "Cocky"

  • "My name is Shea Couleé, and I didn't come to play, I came to slay!" (Season 9 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 two buns."
  • "WHY Y'ALL ACTING BRAND NEW? We have to get out of here! Who's after Peppermint?... Damn!" (referring to the other Season 9 contestants during Season 9's Episode 3 Untucked )
  • "Mama, you look so good it's damn near sinful." (to RuPaul)
  • "I would fuck the shit out of all y'all."
  • "I would like hate fuck the shit out of Valentina. I feel like she can... I feel like that bitch can take a dick."
  • "And I don't taste a day over 15." (as Naomi Campbell in "Snatch Game")
  • "Trinity, when's your birthday? I' ma 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 on Season 9)
  • "Do I look upset to you?" (to Valentina)
  • "Talk shit, get hit."


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  • Shea Couleé graduated with a degree in costume design on Columbia College in 2011. The summer after her graduation, she started doing drag[5];
  • Couleé's bilingual (speaks English, and French)[6];
  • She was named by New York Magazine as one of the top 100 most powerful drag queens in America in June 2019[7];
  • 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[8];
  • She lost her father 2 weeks after Season 9 cast review, and 4 weeks after that, her sister also passed away after a long battle with breast cancer;
  • She portrayed Naomi Campbell on Season 9's "Snatch Game". After the show, Nina said she would portray the same person but gave up;
  • She slipped on Sasha Velour's rose petals during their lip sync on Season 9's finale, however, this was edited out of the televised cut;
  • Not including All Stars seasons, Sasha Velour, and her are the 1st pair of contestants to share 2 joint challenge wins;
  • She was the 1st contestant to win 3 challenges on Season 9, including consecutive ones;
  • She's the 3rd ever contestant to win 4 main challenges during her season (after Sharon Needles in Season 4 and Alaska in All Stars 2), and also the first queen 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;
  • She's tied with Season 5 winner Jinkx Monsoon for the 3rd best pre-finale track record on a regular-season behind Bianca Del Rio, and Nina Flowers;
  • She was asked to be on All Stars 3, and All Stars 4, but declined. However, she's rumoured to be on All Stars 5.
  • Shea Couleé, Trinity the Tuck, Shangela, BenDeLaCreme, Brooke Lynn Hytes, Silky Nutmeg Ganache, A'keria C. Davenport, & Nina West are the only queens to have more wins than the winner of their season and not win.


Season 9 Looks



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

Non-Album Singles

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


  • "Category Is... (Season 9 Remix)" (2017) by RuPaul ft. Peppermint, Sasha Velour, Trinity The Tuck, & Shea Couleé
  • "R U Mad (John 'J-C' Carr & Bill Colemax Mix)" (2018) by Michael Blume ft. Shea Couleé, & Peppermint
  • "Symphony" (2018) by GESS ft. Shea Couleé
  • "Snooze" (2018) by Big Dipper ft. Shea Couleé
  • "Room, Pt. 2" (2018) by The Vixen ft. Shea Couleé
  • "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (2019) by Aja ft. Shea Couleé


Movies / Documentaries

  • (2016) Lipstick City


  • (2015-2016) You're So Talented, on Seasons 1, and 2
  • (2017) RuPaul's Drag Race, on Season 9

Web Series

  • (2015) Transformations
  • (2017) PMB
  • (2017) Untucked, on Season 9
  • (2017) Shot with Soju, on Season 1
  • (2018) Call Me Couleé
  • (2018) Fashion Photo RuView
  • (2018) Spillin' the Tea
  • (2018) Cosmo Queens

Music Videos

  • "Ride" (2017)
  • "Cocky" (2017) ft. Lila Star, & The Vixen
  • "Feeling So" (2017)
  • "Crème Brûlée" (2018)
  • "Sally Walker" (2019) by Iggy Azalea
  • "Rewind" (2019) ft. GESS

Advertising Capaigns

  • Merry DRAGmas (2018) by Lush

Social Media



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