SHEQUIDA (AKA GARY HALL) IS TRULY A MAGNIFICENT ENTERTAINER. SHE POSSESSES AN INBORN ARTISTRY THAT IS UNMISTAKABLY HER VERY OWN. CURRENTLY WORKING AT CHERRY GROVE’S ICE PALACE ON MONDAYS ALL SUMMER, HARDWARE ON THURSDAYS AND TIMES SCARE ON SATURDAYS, SHE HAS A LONG HISTORY OF SUCCESSFUL ENDEAVORS.
SHEQUIDA HAS COME A LONG WAY FROM HER BIRTHPLACE IN JAMAICA. SHE STUDIED AT JUILLIARD AND IS A CLASSICALLY TRAINED OPERA SINGER AND PLAYWRIGHT. SHE APPEARED ON THE DAYTIME SOAP OPERA “ONE LIFE TO LIVE” AS WENDI MERCURY, THE FIRST DRAG ROLE ON DAYTIME TELEVISION. SHE COMPETED ON THE REALITY SHOW ”AMERICA’S GOT TALENT” WHERE SHE PERFORMED OPERA IN DRAG AND WAS ONE OF THE FINALISTS. SHE STARRED IN
DARON HAGEN’S “VERA OF LAS VEGAS” AND PRODUCED HER OWN PLAY, “OPERA FOR DUMMIES,” WHERE SHE WAS NOMINATED FOR A GLAAD AWARD. SHEQUIDA IS ALSO AN ACCOMPLISHED DANCER.
There seems to be no end to her talent and creativity, not to mention her hysterical sense of humor. After interviewing Shequida, I have no doubt that she will conquer the world.
I know you have been on the show “America’s Got Talent,” where you sang opera in drag. What was it like for you?
It was really strange. I don’t think I would do it again. I mean, it was a great platform for me. It was fun. But, reality shows aren’t real. They are totally produced. I wasn’t aware of the level…I don’t know…they asked me to cry on stage.Well, you really don’t get paid at all. Like, you are there for weeks at a time. We got $20 a day, and the food at the hotel I was staying at…breakfast was $20.
You played the role of Wendi Mercury on the daytime soap opera “One Life to Live.” What was that like for you?
Oh my God, girl, you’re really going back. I was shocked when they called me. I didn’t expect it. That night they called me and toldme I got the role. I never acted
in my life! I’ve been working all my life as an entertainer, and to me it was just another gig. So I called my mom and told her I was going to be on a soap opera, and she’s like, “WHAT”! I would literally get a script on a Wednesday night and have to know it by Thursday morning. But I learned a lot about marketing and branding. There
were people who made me wear my hair the same color for a while. Only after a while can you change your look.
What was the happiest moment in your life?
The happiest moment of my life… This is going to sound cliche, but I’ve been very blessed. I was happy with a lot of things I did. I can’t really pick one. I’ve just been blessed.
What was it like growing up in Jamaica?
My father was an alcoholic, so I watched my mom and my sister get a lot of abuse. Being gay was never a thing, because I was young when I left. But I did see my sister and my mom get abused. I wasn’t affected as much as my mom and my sister, I think because I looked so much like my father that I didn’t get as harsh treatment, and I
was the youngest. I mean, there were fun moments, I went to school. I liked acting. I told my mom when I was nine years old that it was OK to leave. She was like, “I don’t wanna leave. I wanna stay for the kids.” I was like, I’m not that young, you can go. It was like looking at paradise from inside a window.
How has your life been different than you imagined?
I never expected to be a woman. I had very thick hair growing up, so my mom would always relax it and try to comb it. It was like Oprah’s hair. I wanted to be a preacher…not that I wanted to be a drag queen. I wanted to entertain people.
How tall are you in and out of heels?
I’m 5’11” out of heels and about 6’2” with heels.
You appear taller.
Of course I look taller, everyone’s sitting in their seats looking up.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
No, I don’t. How can you love someone you don’t even know? The first thing you do is look at a person, but what if they open their mouth and have bad breath?
Are you single?
Yes, I am. You wanna hook me up?
What was “Opera for Dummies” about?
I had an idea what I was trying to convince someone to do, but they said, “You’re a black drag queen, and you’re trying to do an opera. That will never work”. So I wound up producing itmyself. You never understand the lyrics of an opera. You see this fat lady singing up there for hours who is dying of consumption, meanwhile she
looks like she can consume the stage. I wound up translating it into four languages. A friend of mine translated it into Greek, but made a mistake. At the beginning of the play, instead of being what it was supposed to be, it translated into something like c**t. I heard the audience gasp!
In your opinion, what is your worst quality?
My worst quality is impatience. I have no patience for people who lack common sense, like when people walking with these large umbrellas don’t raise them or move out of the way, or when someone doesn’t hold the door open.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
I see myself still performing.
When you do your show at the Ice Palace, Charity Charles usually comes out after you. Are you good friends?
We’re not good friends, but I have a lot of respect for her, and she’s dearly a colleague. The first time she ever came to my show I was nervous because she was a Fire Island girl. She was the first or second Miss Fire Island. I thought she was a diva, but when she walked out on stage, she made me so comfortable. She is a true colleague. When she winks that one eye, that by the way takes her an hour to do…
So tell our readers your schedule so they can be sure not to miss you.
I do a show at the Ice Palace Monday nights at 11. I am at Hardware (697 10th Ave between 47th and 48th Streets) Thursday nights at 11 and Times Scare on Saturday nights at 10. I do something called “scaryoke.” It’s a lot of fun. I don’t try to insult people, but I’m not going to tell them they are good singers. People sit in the front row to sing and for the comedy.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU CATCH SHEQUIDA’S SHOW OR HER SCARYOKE. SHE IS FUNNY AND OVERLY ENTERTAINING. I ASSURE YOU THAT YOU WILL BECOME ADDICTED TO HER TALENT AND HER HUMOR!