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7 Times Shea Couleé Won RuPaul's Drag Race (And Chicago's Heart)

By Kelly Bauer | April 25, 2017 5:11am

CHICAGO — Shea Couleé might not have won "RuPaul's Drag Race" (yet), but she has won Chicago's heart.

The queen, who went to college and performs in Chicago, has emerged as a fan favorite on the award-winning competition show. Episodes have already featured her dancing, cracking jokes, acting and putting together scene-stealing looks while making friends with the girls she's supposed to be competing against.

But Shea has also spoken candidly about her struggles and has encouraged other black queens on "Drag Race."

Plus, it's hard not to love someone who dresses like a hot dog.

Here are the seven times she won the show (so far) and Chicago's heart:

Warning: Spoilers and obscenity below:

1. When She Dared To Look RuPaul In The Eyes

The sheer confidence.

2. When She Opened Up About Her Struggles

Shea opened up about her "deep, deep battle" with bulimia, an eating disorder. Gay men are significantly more likely than straight men to struggle with eating disorders, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.

Shea lauded "Drag Race" contestants Sasha Velour and Valentina for speaking about anorexia and talked about her own struggles with bulimia, noting she'd felt pressured by beauty standards.

"It's something that I've had a lot of shame about," Shea said. "Sometimes people don't understand that, though [drag queens] come across as these really strong, beautiful creatures, that sometimes we're really struggling on the inside."

Speaking later, Shea noted, "There's power in being able to confide in your sisters and have them support you."

3. When She Was A Hot Dog

Shea was asked to dress up in something that represents her hometown — which means dressing as a hot dog, naturally.

"My name is Shea Coulee and b----, I'm from Chicago!" she announced to the judges.

She later perfected the look and shared a photo of the new-and-even-hot-doggier version, taken at Wrigleyville Dogs in Lakeview.

4. When She Talked About Black Excellence

Shea pays tribute to her Cameroonian and Kenyan heritage with her drag, creating looks she has described as "Afrocentric and regal."

The queen has continued to show pride in being a black artist on "Drag Race" ("I'm black and I'm excellent!" she declared in one episode). When another contestant, Nina Bonina Brown, who is black, was doubting herself, Shea told Nina they had to be role models and fight for success.

"Think about every little dark skin, brown girl out there that anyone has told that they didn't deserve it, they didn't belong, that they weren't worth it and that it was too much for them to want it — you do it for all of them," Shea said. "We are doing this for more than just us."

5. When She Got Her First Win

Shea said she developed a close friendship with Sasha Velour, and they used that chemistry to snag their first wins in a comedy and acting challenge.

The win led to fans dubbing the two friends "Sashea," and they've continued to work together post-"Drag Race" filming.

6. When She Got Her Second Win

Shea became one of a select few group of queens to win two challenges in a row. She got her second nod for her solo as Blac Chyna in a musical about the Kardashian-Jenner clan.

7. When She Became A Meme

Shea took charge in "Untucked," a web series that shows fans a behind-the-scenes look at "Drag Race."

"Why ya'll acting brand new?" Shea teased while trying to get the other queens lined up to return to the show's main stage.

The phrase quickly became a meme among the show's fans.

RELATED: Read Our Interview With Shea Couleé