Entertainment

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

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’

Share this story by hitting the share button below!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

These Latinx ‘Drag Race’ Queens Are Reuniting For ‘Dragueando’ And It’s About Time

Entertainment

These Latinx ‘Drag Race’ Queens Are Reuniting For ‘Dragueando’ And It’s About Time

Miss_Alexis_Mateo / Instagram

It’s no secret that drag and, in particular, drag queens have made their way into the mainstream. Much of their success is easily attributed to the hit show RuPaul’s Drag Race, which has helped catapult hundreds of queens into the spotlight.

However, according to many iconic queens from the series, not all are equally represented on the show. In fact, Alexis Mateo – one of the most popular queens from the series – has long spoken out regarding the treatment of its Latinx talent.

So it should be no surprise that three of the shows top Latinx drag queens have come together to launch Dragueando – a YouTube special all about Latina queens.

Three of ‘Drag Race’s’ top Latina queens have come together for a Latinx drag experience.

I’m not complaining at all but it seems like 2020 has come with a new season or spin-off of Drag Race every few weeks. First, we had the latest installment of All Stars, a special spinoff called Secret Celebrity Drag Race, then came Drag Race: Season 12, followed by Drag Race Canada and now Drag Race Holland is airing.

Like I said, I’m not complaining. But that’s a lot of drag. Thankfully, it’s not over yet. Three of the franchises top Latinx queens have banded together to create a new spin-off – Dragueando. Alexis Mateo, Jessica Wild, and Cynthia Lee Fontaine have teamed up to bring us the new special on YouTube and although there’s only been one episode so far, we can’t wait for whats next.

In addition to talking about all things Puerto Rican and drag, the YouTube special also sees the queens discuss Latinidad and drag. Later in the episode, Mateo congratulated the recent winners of the Drag Race series and spin-offs: Jaida Essence Hall, Shea Couleé, and Priyanka. She also paid tribute to season eight icon Chi Chi Devayne, who sadly passed away last month.

On Mateo’s YouTube channel, episode one of Dragueando is also titled “pilot,” so let’s hope there will be more where that came from. Maybe next time more of our favorite Latinx drag queens from Drag Race will be able to stop by.

The three queens involved in the new show are iconic veterans of the hit drag competition.

Credit: Miss_Alexis_Mateo / Instagram

All three of the queens involved in Dragueando have earned their spot in Drag Race herstory. The three queens, all Boricuas, have helped shine a light on Puerto Rico and its rich drag traditions.

Alexis Mateo is perhaps the most well-known of the three. She’s been a competitor on three seasons of Drag Race: season three, All-Stars 1, and All-Stars 5. During her latest run on the series, she made headlines for her incredible impression of astrology icon Walter Mercado during the show’s “Snatch Game” episode.

Fontaine, the self-proclaimed queen of “cucu” and the Miss Congeniality of Drag Race season eight, hosts the “Leida Educacional” section. For this first installment, she breaks down the history of five Latin American countries that celebrate their independence near Sept. 15: Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Fontaine does this all while throwing a little shade at British drag queen Charlie Hides.

Wild, who was voted onto season two of Drag Race by massive fan demand, hosted the “Dandolo Todo” section. And she gave her all in learning a dance routine with Puerto Rican choreographers Prodigy Duo.

Alexis Mateo has long been outspoken about the need for better Latinx representation.

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1 / World of Wonder

Shortly after Alexis Mateo was booted off All Stars 5, a video resurfaced where the 40-year-old Puerto Rican queen was speaking out about the mistreatment of Latina queens on the show.

In the clip, Alexis cites her fellow latin sisters Nina Flowers (who she says should’ve won over Bebe Zahara Benet), Yara Sofia, and Jessica Wild, all who performed well throughout their seasons, and were still not given the opportunity to go all the way.

She also slammed other queens of Latin descent who were celebrated and well-loved despite not actually speaking Spanish or alluding to their heritage at all during their time on the show. She didn’t mention anyone in particular, but fans think it could’ve been in reference to Bianca Del Rio, who won season six. 

“I don’t care who your great-grandfather is,” she said. “For me, if you don’t speak Spanish, you’re not a Latino. Period, end of discussion. These roots are very important.”

Speaking of her rocky relationships on All Stars, she added: “For those of you who are at home celebrating Miz Cracker, stop being sell-outs. What we need is Latino support.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Gender Is So Last Year And These Celebrities Know How To Expertly Play With Gender

Entertainment

Gender Is So Last Year And These Celebrities Know How To Expertly Play With Gender

badbunnypr / ajathekween / Instagram

Non-binary individuals, also known as genderqueer, encompasses a spectrum of gender identities that escape the traditional definitions of masculine and feminine. In short, their gender identity falls outside the man/woman gender binary, outside cisgender paradigms (cisgender refers to a person whose personal identity and gender both correspond to their birth sex). For years, genderqueer folks were forced to live in the shadows, either due to conservative social norms or due to lack of awareness of this identity.

Recently, a group of celebs have come out as non-binary and we think that’s fabulous. We can think, for example, of Australian model Ruby Rose (remember their steamy affair with Piper in “Orange is the New Black”? Just this month “Queer Eye”hairstylist extraordinaire Jonathan Van Ness came out as non-binary. He told OUT magazine: “The older I get, the more I think that I’m nonbinary — I’m gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman. I don’t really — I think my energies are really all over the place. Any opportunity I have to break down stereotypes of the binary, I am down for it, I’m here for it. I think that a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide. It’s this social construct that I don’t really feel like I fit into the way I used to. I always used to think ‘Oh, I’m like a gay man,’ but I think any way I can let little boys and little girls know that they can express themselves and they can like be.” This pretty much sums up what genderqueer identity is all about.

Because we celebrate identities of all forms, here are some genderqueer POC stars that make us proud and happy! Some of them have identified as genderqueer while others have broken the paradigms of cisnormativity. Bien por ellos, muy bien!

Rico Dalasam, the Brazilian rap dynamo

This Brazilian rap artist and former hairdresser has taken his genderqueer identity to powerful lyrics of political resistance. He told Vice: “All the marginal communities I’m a part of—young, black, gay—all of these identities are forced to be ashamed by the oppressor. But I’m the potential of resistance.” With a career that started in 2014, Rico Dalasam has achieved success thanks to his high couture looks and remorseless combative attitude.

Bad Bunny, the boricua marvel

Bad Bunny wears long nails and jewelry that would commonly be associated with a feminine aesthetic. As we have reported, he is unbothered by those who criticize his non-binary moda. He identifies as a straight man but finds inspiration in the queer community. He has talked about his fashion choices in a GQ interview: “There’s people that appreciate what I do; there’s people that criticize it,. There’s people who say, ‘Thank you for sticking up [for us], thank you for defending [this].’ There’s others that say I’m an opportunist.” Be what it may, Bad Bunny is challenging the role of masculinity in urban culture and in a musical genre, reggaeton, that is often criticized for its often sexist lyrics.

Valentina, global drag phenomenon

View this post on Instagram

@lacasadelasflorestv on @netflix @netflixlat @netflixes

A post shared by Valentina💋 (@allaboutvalentina) on

“I identify as nonbinary,” Valentina told Out in an interview. “I don’t completely feel like a man, I don’t completely feel like a woman. I feel like a goddess. I feel like I’m my own gender.”

The “RuPaul’s Drag Race” superstar is one of the most recognizable faces in the drag world. We are so proud of the Latino representation Valentina has been able to bring to the drag world.

Aja, bruja extravaganza

Aja’s experience coming to terms with her gender identity was a long one.

“When I was 18, I actually lived as a trans woman for almost a year,” Aja told Them. “I thought I was trans, and then I learned through the education of the queer community about being non-binary, genderqueer, and all these different [identities]. I realized that I do feel like a woman, but I feel comfortable in my body. I don’t feel the need to change anything. I don’t feel the need to appear more feminine to society’s standards.”

Amandla Stenberg, from “The Hunger Games” to queer advocate

This amazing African-American young actress openly uses they/them as pronouns. She came out as non-binary on Tumblr (before she came out to her family!), by writing: “I honestly don’t know… I mean they/them makes me feel comfortable but I know that the media and the general populace that follows me will critique it/not understand which makes me feel sad and almost more uncomfortable. So I guess she/her for now”. Not in the cisgender closet anymore, dear Amandla! 

Liniker Barros, the Brazilian soul star

Samba and Latin rhythms find a nice home in the tender voice of this musical prodigy. Liniker is the lead singer if the band Liniker and the Caramelows, and many of their lyrics focus on the joy and tribulations of those who are not cisgender. They told the Spanish newspaper El Pais: “Why should I wear jeans and a T-shirt and present myself as just a voice? My body is political. I need to show my audience what I’m living.” Liniker is well aware of the fact that they represent a wider community. They told Now: “[My] visibility as a singer helps me occupy spaces that aren’t the usual ones for trans women. That representation is so important. Brazil remains a very transphobic, chauvinist, racist country, with a lot of hate speech. When a trans woman takes the stage, that alone is political.”

Angel Haze, rapping for freedom

View this post on Instagram

on my way to drop the album

A post shared by Angel Haze (@angelhaze) on

Born Raykeea Raeen-Roes Wilson, this rap artist identifies as pansexual and agender. Angel Haza has said: “I sound like four people when I get written about as ‘they.’ It drives me crazy. If you call me ‘him’ or ‘her’ it doesn’t matter to me. I don’t consider myself of any sex. I consider myself an experience.” Quite an interesting and revolutionary approach! Angel Haze used to date Ireland Baldwin, the daughter of Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin. 

READ: Marvel Is Bringing More LGBTQ Characters To The Universe

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com