Shea Couleé reveals the origins of the Platinum Plunger secret on RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7

·8 min read

Naturally, legends beget legendary lore on RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7 — even if the iconic tales they spin are all a farce.

One of the most hilarious happenings on AS7 remains All Stars 5 champion Shea Couleé's insistence that every "blocked" queen joins an exclusive club, the members of which all know a secret told only to holders of the Platinum Plunger. Of course, there's no truth to it all, but the entire cast bought the lie (including Raja, who told EW last week she totally fell for it) — and, as Shea tells us in our episode 6 recap (below), that's exactly how she wants it.

Read on to find out how Shea came up with the plan to dupe her sisters, where she stands on the status of the alleged existence of another alliance beyond the one launched by Monét X Change and Trinity The Tuck, and which member of Destiny's Child inspired her Total RU-Quest Live look in the AS7 girl group challenge.

RuPaul's Drag Race
RuPaul's Drag Race

Paramount+/World of Wonder Shea Couleé on 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7'

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: One of my personal favorite things of the season so far: The secret of the Platinum Plunger, as devised by you. Can you please walk me through the origins of this gag and how you devised it?

SHEA COULEÉ: I walked into the Werk Room feeling particularly cute because RuPaul literally just said that she loved my shoes [so] any fun moment like that with Ru will make you happy. So I was sitting there [on episode 2] recalling that, and I didn't realize that I had this smile on my face. It wasn't sinister, but Monét noticed it like, "What are you smiling about? What's that look for?" and I read the room like, oh, these bitches are scared about something! That's when I decided I'd mess with them and say that the Platinum Plunger, I learned a little secret about it that only someone who's holding it can know. [Laughs]

Were you telling other queens to do it, or they just picked up on it?

Oh, they picked up on it. Obviously, if there's a secret, you will be told the secret once you get blocked, they just got blocked and had to walk back in the Werk Room. They all had the choice of whether to continue the gag because they fell for it too, and they wanted to make sure everybody else fell for it, or if they wanted to blow up my spot, and no one did.

Did you explicitly tell anyone it was a joke?

No. [Laughs]

The glee in your voice…

Here's the thing: I'm a prankster, and that's never really shown. I haven't really done that in any of my other times on Drag Race, so I'm glad people got to see that devious side of me.

Well, what was not a joke to me, I can tell at this point by your face and how you react to things, it feels like we might be on the verge of a Shea face crack. You said in a confessional you feel like you're fading into the background, what was your mindset like at this point as you were seeing others getting stars for challenges you were doing well in?

I think that's what the challenge was. You're being celebrated by the judges, who love what you're doing, but you're not landing in the top. So, you have to step back and look at yourself in an objective way. That was me being truly objective and saying that I feel like I'm fading into the background because even though I'm performing well, the judges aren't putting me in the top. Like, am I not surprising them enough? Have they just seen what they feel like they will see from Shea? There'd been more time with the other contestants, so there was this excitement over seeing Raja and Jinkx, because they hadn't seen them in so long. This was my third time, and I was just there basically the summer before. It put me in an interesting position because I had to be as surprising and keep them on the edge of their seats. However, even though I was still the current reigning all-star at this time, I'd still spent it indoors. It was different waters to have to navigate this time, and I was asking myself, like, am I doing enough?

RuPaul's Drag Race digital cover
RuPaul's Drag Race digital cover

Vijat M for EW Shea Couleé for EW

Did you campaign — and I know that's a sensitive word to use with you —to either Jinkx or Raja to ask them to give you one of the stars?

Baby, no, I ain't asking nobody for their star; I'm earning mine. I didn't even want anybody's star; I said no, I want to earn mine myself, thank you.

Do you know if anyone else did?

Yes, it was all in jest. Everyone was like, ha-ha, wink-wink, nod-nod, "Remember when I let you borrow that bobby pin, bitch?"

Not a bobby pin for a Legendary Legend Star!

Well, not all of us can have a rhinestone tank top on us.

I understand Raja's decision to give one to Yvie, because Yvie didn't have a star at this point, but did anyone explicitly ask Jinkx why she gave hers to Jaida?

Yes, but I haven't watched the episode yet… Let's just let people draw conclusions. I'm pleading the fifth on this one.

That might speak to what I've heard about another secret alliance; both Monét and Raja have told me there might've been another. Was there another alliance going on that maybe Jinkx was trying to win favor with by giving Jaida the star?

I truly don't know. That's not me being tight-lipped, I truly don't know. I was not engaging deeply with any real alliance commitments, but Monét was over here playing Survivor through and through, so she had her thumb on the pulse of any type of anything that could've been an alliance.

After Monét and Trinity asked you to join their alliance, did you tell anyone or keep it to yourself?

I kept it to myself.

Was that strategy?

Yeah, I'm not trying to reveal anybody else's plans. That's their thing, that's what they wanted to do. I appreciate that they wanted to bring me along, but that's not my business to share an alliance between them.

That also reminds me of the whole xylophone thing last week, because some thought maybe that pointed to Jaida and Vivienne having an alliance. Did Vivienne ask all of you if you wanted to give her the xylophone, or did Jaida spring that on her in the moment, unplanned?

The Vivienne asked if someone would hand her the xylophone. We're placed in those seats based on outfits and camera angles, so anyone sitting in the front who could hand it to her, that's who was going to give it to her.

We shouldn't read into that?

No, go right on ahead. It's entertaining. Damnit, I shouldn't have told the truth!

Let's go to the challenge. It started with Viv getting annoyed over how the groups divided up. Why were you and Raja so determined to have only those members in your group from the start?

We just kind of looked [at our lineup] and it seemed cute to us. So, we were just like, yeah, let's just do this. She didn't like that.

We don't usually see The Vivienne that annoyed, what was going on with her that day?

I don't know, we were a little bit shook. Maybe she was hungry for another star, so that competitive edge came through. We were a little bit shocked, too.

That didn't last long?

Absolutely, I feel like she was in that headspace for 20 minutes, and then she was fine.

Tell me about your look for this — the two-toned hair, I know you're about fashion and looks from pop culture of the past.

For me, it was a mix between Kelly Rowland and Chilli from TLC.

I miss that. I wish she'd bring it back.

I'll tweet her... She's going to bring it back for [Beyoncé's] Renaissance era. It will be the renaissance of Kelly's two-toned hair.

You all teased in our cover interview that Raja's dancing was unique, and we got a taste of it this week. When you saw Raja in rehearsals, was there a part of you that died inside?

Not at all, I'm not intimidated by people who don't have strong dance abilities because I feel like I can still get through to them. No one is hopeless. I can get you to do this. There was a lot of off-camera rehearsal where I was so tightly drilling those girls. I get into that dance teacher, and Raja was in it, too. She was committed because Raja wanted to look really f---ing good.

Who would you have blocked this week if you'd won?

I honestly don't know. Who has the most stars?

Before Yvie won her second, it was Jinkx and Jaida.

Hmm. Who did The Vivienne block?


Yeah, I would've blocked Jinkx too, my sister!

Entertainment Weekly's Ultimate Guide to RuPaul is available online or wherever magazines are sold. 

Subscribe to EW's BINGE podcast for full recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race, including weekly All Stars 7 recaps and reactions with the cast, special guests, and more.

Related content: