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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 and placed 3rd/4th alongside Trinity The Tuck.

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

She won All Stars 5 in July of 2020, beating fellow finalists Jujubee and Miz Cracker.

Name Origin

"Shea" is slang spell of her real middle name, Kyei (Swahili for "beautiful boy"). "Couleé" is a reference to the dessert coulis.[1]

Unnamed

Drag Family

Couleé has 3 drag daughters: Kenzie Couleé, Bambi Banks-Couleé, and Khloe Couleé. Along with her, they represent the drag house "Mansion Couleé".

RuPaul's Drag Race

Shea Couleé
Season Competed Season 9 All Stars 5
Ranking: 3rd/4th Place Winner
Maxi Challenges Won: 4 (Eps. 4, 5, 9, 11) 2 (Eps. 2, 5)
Times in Bottom: 1 (Ep. 10) 3 (Ep. 3, 6, 7)
Times as Team Captain: 0 1 (Ep. 2)
Mini Challenges Won: 0 0
Episode Eliminated Episode 14 N/A

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 motherfuckingbomb.com... 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)
  • "CHARLIE, DO SOMETHING! [...] CHARLIE, COME ON!"
  • "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 though 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)
  • "When we were doing the promo for the show, you go...Shea, I just wanna say: If anyone comes for Nina, I told her that I will stand up for her, and I will make it all right'. And I'm confused!" (Imitating Valentina)
  • "Talk shit, get hit."

All Stars 5

  • "I'm blaaack." (entrance quote)
  • "I'm Shea Couleé, I know you have missed me, but it's ok."
  • "Wow Ru, love what you've done with the place."
  • "She's here to save the day!" (commenting on Mariah's entrance look)
  • "Woo!" (impersonating Derrick Barry’s entrance quote)
  • "Mama, the drama!"
  • "...Sure!"
  • "I might be pretty on the outside, but on the inside I'm pure garbage!" (during the TMZ challenge)
  • "But were you surprised?"
  • "My name is Shea Couleé and I didn't come to slay, I came to WIN!" (victory line)

Trivia

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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]
  • Shea speaks French.
    • Even though Shea speaks French, her drag last name is considered to be misspelled, since all french adjectives ending in "é" in the masculine form are followed (and not preceded) by an "e", thus making "Coulée" look and sound more correct.
  • Shea 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, Shea was nominated twice for the WOWIE Awards and once to The Queerties Awards.[1]
  • Alongside Monét X Change, The Vixen, and Dax Exclamationpoint, Shea inspired the Marvel Comics' drag queen superhero "Shade".
  • Shea has a dog named Baby Couleé.[2]
  • Sadly, Shea lost her father to cancer two weeks after the Season 9 cast review, and her sister four weeks later to breast cancer.
  • Shea 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.
  • Shea's Season 9 entrance look has Pearl on it.
  • Shea was the first contestant to win 3 challenges on Season 9, including consecutive ones.
  • Shea is 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.
  • Shea 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.
  • 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, Shea had more wins than the winner of her season.
  • Shea was asked to be in All Stars 3 and All Stars 4, but declined.
  • Shea is the 30th queen to gain 1 million followers on Instagram, achieving this in June 14, 2020.
  • Shea is the first queen of All Stars 5 to win a lip-sync and so far the only one to win two lip-syncs.
    • She is also the only queen of All Stars 5 to have won any lip-sync and not lose against or tie with the "Lip Sync Assassin".
  • Shea is the third queen to win Snatch Game while portraying a male celebrity, after Kennedy Davenport as Little Richard and BenDeLaCreme as Paul Lynde.
  • Shea is the second queen to win the Ball Challenge, a Rusical and the Snatch Game (after Gigi Goode), however, Gigi won all three challenges in the same season (Season 12), whereas Shea won the Ball Challenge and Rusical in Season 9 and Snatch Game in All Stars 5.
  • Shea is the first queen to be the first to win two Maxi Challenges on two different seasons. 
  • Funnily enough, Shea's All Stars 5 entrance look pattern (blue monstera leaves on pink) has the exact same pattern as Monét X Change's All Stars 4 confessional sweater. 
  • Shea is the second queen to win All Stars from Season 9, after Trinity the Tuck in All Stars 4.
    1. Coincidentally, they both placed 3rd/4th after being eliminated in the finale of their original season. 
  • Shea is the fourth queen of African-American descent to win a Drag Race season in a row, after Monét X Change, Yvie Oddly and Jaida Essence Hall. This makes Shea the seventh queen of African-American descent to win Drag Race overall.
  • Shea is the 1st queen to win with 3 bottom placements. However, this is only due to the twist introduced in Episode 5. Had it not been for that, she would’ve only had one bottom placement (Episode 3).
  • She is the first winner to have the lowest score of all the finalists in her season
  • Shea is the only winner of All Stars to have fewer main challenge wins than she achieved on her original season.

Gallery

Season 9 Looks

All Stars 5 Looks

Videos

Lip Syncs

All Stars 5

Discography

EPs

  • 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)
  • "Collide" with GESS and Mykki Blanco (2020)

Appearances

  • "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)
  • "I'm In Love" by The Cast of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, Season 5 (2020)
  • "Clap Back" by RuPaul with The Cast of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, Season 5 (2020)

Filmography

Movies / Documentaries

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

TV

  • 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)
  • RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, in Season 5 as contestant. (2020)

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)

Theatre

Tour

Co-Headlining

Social Media

References

Navigation

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