RuPaul’s Drag Race star Shea Couleé joins MCU’s Ironheart in secret role


Shea Couleé has dominated reality TV, and Marvel is her next target as she’s landed an unknown role in the 2023 series Ironheart.

The Drag Race star proved she can sing, dance, and lip-sync, so her next order of business is acting. Couleé – real name Jaren Kyei Merrell – is the latest artist to join the cast, following Good Girls’ Manny Montana and Han Solo portrayer Alden Ehrenreich.

Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for VH1/Paramount +

Couleé joins Ironheart as series regular

The 33-year-old will be seen alongside Dominique Thorne, who has been tapped as lead Riri Williams, a skilled young inventor known to create the most advanced armor since Iron Man. Created in 2016, the teen genius modifies the famous Stark suit to continue his superhero legacy.

Couleé’s exact role is unconfirmed, but EW states that she will be a series regular. Whether she will be in or out of drag remains unknown.

Expressing her excitement on Instagram, the drag queen admitted that “acting was my first love long before drag”, so the role is a perfect stepping stone between reality TV and Hollywood.

“I’m so humbled everyday that I get to work on set with some of the best and most dedicated artists in the industry. Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout my journey, and I look forward to sharing the exciting new chapter with you all,” she wrote.

Fellow Drag Race stars showed support for the future MCU star, including judge Michelle Visage, who commented: “Major…congrats.”

Even Naomi Campbell left a congratulatory message.

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Who is Shea Coulee?

Born February 8, 1989 in Warsaw, Indiana, Couleé caught her big break on season nine of Drag Race. Her friendship with Campbell began after receiving approval for her impersonation of the model on the Snatch Game.

She placed joint third with Trinity Taylor, though fans disapproved of the result. Dazed Magazine listed her as one of the queens “robbed” of her crown.

The drag superstar finally took her throne on All Stars 5, and thus earned the qualification to participate in 2022’s All Stars 7, the first ever all-winners season of Drag Race. She dominated in two challenges throughout the competition, but ultimately ranked third alongside Trinity The Tuck.

Couleé’s new role isn’t her first link with Marvel as comics writer Sina Grace reportedly listed her as one of the five inspirations behind Shade, the MCU’s first drag queen superhero. The character was first introduced in X-Men’s Iceman comic.

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