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There Are Just So Many Reasons Why We Adore Valentina From ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

allaboutvalentina / Instagram

Valentina popped into our world on season nine of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and we were instantly captivated by her eyes. Or we should say, her makeup, round her eyes, or her face, no it was her hair. Let’s just say we love everything about Valentina, and a big reason for that is because she brings so much of her Latinidad to the show.

The 27-year-old LA native, whose real name is James Andrew Leyva, is a star and there should be no question about that. If you need some kind of proof, take this: he only became a professional drag queen roughly ten months before filming “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” How can one transform from hot guy to hot drag queen? Well, Valentina is Latina, and you know Latinas can do anything.

Just because Valentina didn’t win her season, doesn’t mean we’ll never see her again. In fact, she is far from leaving our radar.

We’ll soon see Valentina as Angel Dumott Schunard in the Broadway show Rent in Fox’s live version of the musical that will air on Jan. 27.

Here are just a few reasons why we love Valentina.

A star is born: the creation of Valentina’s name.

CREDIT: Instagram/@allaboutvalentina

Valentina said she got her name from various Latin cultural references including a character out of a Pedro Almodovar. She also said the name is like the protagonist from a novela. Valentina also said she loves the hot sauce (named Valentina), and Valentino the designer.

How James transforms into Valentina.

CREDIT: Instagram/@allaboutvalentina

Valentina said on season nine that he loves getting into drag. The whole process becomes like a ritual, he puts on the right kind of music, has some wine, lights a candle, and clearly whatever he has to do to become the goddess that he is more power to him.

Valentina always brings the comedy.

CREDIT: Instagram/@allaboutvalentina

Valentina basically represents all our moods, but she’s just a lot prettier when showing them.

Valentina burst onto the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” stage as a hot mariachi diva.

CREDIT: YouTube

“I’m from East L.A. representing Mariachi Plaza.” Yasssss queen!

We don’t know who we love more, James or Valentina. Good thing we don’t have to choose.

CREDIT: Instagram/@allaboutvalentina

He is so cute without the makeup, but when he becomes Valentina, well, we are blown away.

Valentina’s confidence is sky high.

CREDIT: YouTube

On episode two, Valentina came face-to-face with Lady Gaga herself and was not intimidated one bit. Valentina thanked Lady Gaga for her support of the gay community and for being a bad ass drag queen herself. In fact, Lady Gaga loved Valentina as her best Lady Gaga in blue hair. She said she wanted to cry when she was on the runway, which is why Valentina won this competition as Lady Gaga.

She’s an ice princess with a heart.

CREDIT: YouTube

From the very first episode of season nine, Valentina was a threat and everyone knew it. Then she started winning competitions, so, of course, people are gonna hate the winners. Despite some seeing her as a threat (or a villain), Valentina’s heart always came through on the show. We especially liked her as Princess Vira, which some judges compared to the legend supermodel Linda Evangelista.

Just because she’s a baby queen, doesn’t mean she can’t rule…in fact, she does!

CREDIT: Instagram/@allaboutvalentina

Valentina gets a lot of crap for being so young and so successful as a drag queen even though she’s only been in the industry for a couple of years now, while other queens have been strutting down the runway for years. Do not come for the queen just because of her age, when you got it, you know it.

She’s a triple threat.

CREDIT: YouTube

Did you watch Valentina as Kendall Jenner? The Kardashians (or Jenners) have nothing on this queen, and it makes perfect senes why Valentina would be cast in the new “Rent” musical. She’s such a performer!

Bold and beautiful

CREDIT: YouTube

Valentina as Madonna was probably one of the best moments on RuPaul’s Drag Race, everrrrrr! Why, you ask? When the queens are told to come out as their best Madonna, everyone did a basic look, but it was Valentina who came out as Madonna’s boldest look: NUDE! She rocked that runway with two black strips and a cigarette, looking as fierce and beautiful as ever.

Valentina, the drag queen equivalent to Selena Quintanilla.

CREDIT: YouTube

Valentina was confronted about her hateful fans that flat out threatened other queens on the show. Valentina, in a very graceful manner, informed RuPaul that the Latino culture is very protective of people they love. She went further and said her fan base (Latinos) is basically the type of adoration that Selena had in the ’90s. Speak your truth, girl!

Valentina is all about love never hate.

CREDIT: Instagram/@allaboutvalentina

During season nine, Valentina’s fans — while amazing — talked too much sh*t about the other constants on the show. They went so far as to send death threats to Valentina’s competitors, which is insane. James had to go on his social media to tell his fans to stop it. He said he didn’t want people to think the Latino culture was all about hate, homophobia or transphobia. The poor thing was in tears. But he was such a good example and did the right thing by telling them to stop. The fans, however, haven’t. Though Valentina continues to check them whenever they get out of hand, as they have recently.

Valentina lives for the drama.

CREDIT: YouTube

There’s a reason why Latinos get so emotional, we cry about anything! We’re so dramatic even over the slightest things…okay, enough with the generalizations, but Valentina brought that emotion when she played Miss Universe, we mean Miss Colombia. She was epic with those tears!

We were all rooting for you.

CREDIT: YouTube

When Valentina was eliminated on episode nine, we finally saw her in her most vulnerable. We have all been there: frozen when the boss tells us what to do. For whatever reason, sometimes, as bold as we might be, we cannot move, and that was Valentina in her final runway. James said himself that he isn’t sure why he didn’t remove his mask before he began to lip sync and try to stay in the competition, he just froze.

She’s an all-star.

CREDIT: Instagram/@allaboutvalentina

As an “All Stars 4” contestant, we’re loving that Valentina is back and bringing her Latin vibe to the show. We missed her! Will she win the crown this time around? We will just have to wait and see.

Valentina keeps it real during Drag Queen Carpool.

CREDIT: YouTube

If you ever find yourself in a car with icon RuPaul be sure to bring your best game face. Valentina worked hard that entire ride. Whether she was speaking about herself and her Latino culture, or working it right along RuPaul, she never stopped. She has tenacity and spirit that is undeniable.

She’s multifaceted.

CREDIT: allaboutvalentina / Instagram

As more and more people discover the talent that Valentina bestows, it’s extraordinary to witness her star grow. Later this month, we will see James as a completely different character in the new live version of the musical “Rent” on Fox.

Dreams do come true.

CREDIT: Instagram/@allaboutvalentina

James has said, since day one, that Valentina’s creation is something out of a movie or telenovela. Next month that creation is coming to life on a theater stage!

A cultural icon.

CREDIT: Instagram/@allaboutvalentina

Becoming a reality star is never an indication that you will be remembered forever. In fact, they’re usually forgotten. There are some that go on to have burgeoning careers and lives in Hollywood. Valentina is one of those people that is going to be part of cultural radar for a long time to come.

Valentina is our Latina goddess.

CREDIT: Instagram/@allaboutvalentina

Whether she’s acting out her best Snookie or old-school 90210 character, Valentina is all her own. We have seen her shine, learn, and grow into the Valentina we know and love today. We can’t wait to see what else she brings to the game.


READ: The 24 Slayingest Latina Queens From ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

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Here Are All Of The Things Alfonso Cuaron Did To Make The Chemistry On 'Y Tu Mamá También' Real

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Here Are All Of The Things Alfonso Cuaron Did To Make The Chemistry On ‘Y Tu Mamá También’ Real

Anhelo Producciones / Y Tu Mamá También / filmstage / Instagram

If you haven’t seen Y Tu Mamá También, the 2001 LGBTQ classic Mexican film directed by Alfonso Cuarón, you should probably look it up. Back then, the explicit sex and drugs used in the film caused so much controversy, people had no idea how to rate the film. Today, it is the undisputed most poignant Mexican film of the era.

With director Cuarón’s rising fame with his latest film, Roma, even more juicy details have come out about his experience with Y Tu Mamá También.

First and foremost, Y Tu Mamá También is streaming on Netflix right now. 

CREDIT: @TheFilmCritic_ / Twitter

Trust, you need to know that this is accessible to you before embarking on this journey. It’s been 18 years since it was first released and is a timeless classic to this day.

Brothers Carlos and Alfonso Cuarón worked on the film together.

CREDIT: @latimes / Twitter

The two had written the film ten years prior and they both finally had the means and name to make it happen.

The whole movie was shot with handheld cameras.

CREDIT: @FilmLinc / Twitter

Cuarón decided that it would give more freedom to the artistic angle and to the actors. To avoid dizzying sequences, they decided to pose it as if watching from a distance.

“It looks like shit; it’s great!”

CREDIT: @24TweetsPF / Twitter

They took a documentary style approach to film the feature, something that wouldn’t have been done even four years prior. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki would be filming and Cuarón would ask how it looks. He told IndieWire how it went down:

“And he would say, ‘It looks like shit. And I was like, ‘What’s wrong?’ And he’d be like, ‘No, let’s shoot it. It looks like shit; it’s great!’ And that was the philosophy.”

The film was shot in sequence, a rarity in production.

CREDIT: @CarliG7 / Twitter

It’s in part due to the nature of the movie, set as a road trip, so they just followed the same map as in the film. The only scene shot out of sequence was the very last scene in the coffee shop to get the climactic moment out of the way, and the pressure off as the last scene shot.

Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna are childhood best friends IRL.

CREDIT: @ymaaaanmadjilon / Twitter

Just like in the movie, the two grew up together. This genius move allows for the chemistry to already be there, like watching the two friends in a past life.

Maribel Verdú is a Spanish actress, not Mexican.

CREDIT: @jujefriedman / Twitter

Just like her character Luisa Cortés, who is visiting Mexico from Spain, the actress fell in love with the country as she discovered it. A true parallel to her character’s discovery. This is not a coincidence.

Cuarón intentionally kept the three stars from getting too comfortable with each other before shooting.

CREDIT: @IuvmepIease / Twitter

He told IndieWire, “Gael and Diego have known each other since they were kids and they didn’t know Maribel [Verdú]. There were only two rehearsals with the three of them. We were supposed to have more, but I didn’t want the ice to be broken. So they used that as a tool. So as the ice melts between the characters, it was happening in real life, in the same way Maribel was feeling more comfortable in Mexico, the character of Luisa is feeling more comfortable in Mexico.”

Much of the film is unscripted.

CREDIT: @Scene360 / Twitter

Apparently, they had the idea 15 years prior to do a road trip movie that would just follow young actors with a barebones storyline. They wanted to see where the actors would take it.

The narrator idea was inspired by Masculin, Feminin.

CREDIT: @cats0Nmars / Twitter

At first, Carlos didn’t like the idea. Alfonso tells IndieWire,

“I set out with Carlos to do something very objective. I said, ‘We need a narrator, a third-person narrator.’ And he said, ‘No it won’t work; we need a first person narrator.’ Then I showed him Masculin, Feminin, and the first time that Godard uses the third-person narrator, hewas like, ‘Okay, play no more, I get it.'”

Cuarón returned to his home country Mexico for the first time in ten years during filming.

CREDIT: @ebcartwright144 / Twitter

Cuarón considers this a return to his roots not because of his return to Mexico, but to his creative roots. He told IndieWire that he wanted “to make a film that we would have loved to do before going to film school, when you don’t know how to shoot a movie or compose a shot. It was going to be a film school teacher’s nightmare. It was not about breaking the rules, but about not knowing the rules ever existed.”

The film broke box office records in Mexico.

CREDIT: @Into / Twitter

In the first weekend alone, it earned $2.2 million, a never before seen feat. It was later distributed to over 40 countries, and made another $13.62 million in the United States alone.

Since Bernal’s appearance in Y Tu Mamá También, he’s been named one of Time’s 100 most influential people.

CREDIT: @IuvmepIease / Twitter

He’s worked on Coco and Babel on the big screen, and his English-language performance on Mozart in the Jungle earned him his first Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. Also, he’s obviously a model, so that helps with fame and all.

The film was nominated for eight major awards and won three.

CREDIT: @FilmLinc / Twitter

All of which were for “Best Foreign Language Film” at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards and the Independent Spirit Awards. It’s soundtrack was nominated at the Grammys.

Y Tu Mamá También won the Best Screenplay Award at the Venice Film Festival.

CREDIT: @bmlmxx / Twitter

It also earned a nomination for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards, a big step for any foreign film to be recognized by heavily English language focused market. In fact, the film caused huge controversy in the U.S.

It was released without a rating in the U.S.

CREDIT: @mariaajudice / Twitter

Movie critic Roger Ebert tried to rally movie industry execs to become outraged at this double standard in accepting violence for minors but not the depiction of sex (homoerotic sex, at that). He told the Chicago Sun Times, “Why do serious film people not rise up in rage and tear down the rating system that infantilizes their work?”

Cuarón sued the Mexican Directorate of Radio, Television and Cinema (RTC) for it’s 18+ rating in Mexico.

CREDIT: @TheFilmCritic_ / Twitter

They considered it illegal political censorship, though the board was considering explicit language, sexual content involving teens and drug use. Cuarón cited RTC for denying parents the responsibility of choosing what their child can watch.

While the film is centered around sex, you barely have to read between the lines to see the real message.

CREDIT: @CineeGeek / Twitter

This woman enters their lives with a dark secret, in the middle of a divorce, but is able to enjoy life moment by moment with the adolescent drive to keep things light and physical. She plays into it, which allows the boys to keep things light and physical with each other.

After the road trip is over, the magic lifts.

CREDIT: @Into / Twitter

They pretend their encounter never happened, and find out a year later that Luisa died a month after their escapade from cancer. The two move on with different girls, never to touch that side of themselves again.

Bernal and Luna’s kiss was nominated for the MTV Movie Awards for Best Kiss.

CREDIT: @hindiakosimacky / Twitter

In real life, the two compadres have founded Canana Films together, based in Mexico City. That means we can expect more poignant, artistic films and actors coming out of Mexico.


READ: This Diego Luna Movie Quiz Will Separate The Real Fans From The Wannabes

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