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’

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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

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@lacasadelasflorestv on @netflix @netflixlat @netflixes

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“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

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on my way to drop the album

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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

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‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Has Brought Us Some Serious Talent But These Are Our Favorite Latino Judges In Herstory

Entertainment

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Has Brought Us Some Serious Talent But These Are Our Favorite Latino Judges In Herstory

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

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.

The show, which is now in it’s 12 regular season (plus countless spinoffs), has one eight Emmy Awards – but above all else, it’s helped create a community for LGBTQ persons who hadn’t grown up seeing people like them on TV. So many people say that the show has helped them accept their identities. It’s also helped launch the careers of dozens of drag queens.

It’s no surprise then, that the show has also attracted some of the biggest names in entertainment – from Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga to Ricky Martin and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, several high-profile judges have helped judge the completion for their charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent.

Mike Ruiz

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

Mike Ruiz was a tasty addition to the regular lineup of ‘Drag Race’ judges – having made several appearances over the course of the show. Although he hasn’t returned since season 6. He often launched the season with a photoshoot in which he had to find the perfect shot of each queen.

Maria Conchita Alonso

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

The Cuban-born telenovela star made her debut on Drag Race in the very first season of the show – where she helped judge the first ever ball. She made her way back to Drag Race during season 5, where she came back to coach the queens on their telenovela acting skills alongside Wilmer Valderrama. It’s obvious this two-time guest judge has a special place in her heart for drag!

Rosie Perez

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

The Acadamy Award-nominated actress also made her Drag Race debut on the show’s very first season, where she helped judge the first ever girl group competition. She judged alongside Mary Wilson and the duo were definitely one of the season’s highlights.

Jessica Alba

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

Jessica Alba was one of the biggest-named actresses to appear as a judge – especially in the earlier seasons. She made her debut on Drag Race in season 7, which was jam packed full of big name guest judges – Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and Mel B – just to name a few.

Jessica Alba didn’t disappoint fans on her visit to the show either having fun with the queens as they shot their parody music video. The winner of the episode – Kennedy Davenport – also scored a three year supply of products from Alba’s The Honest Company.

Demi Lovato

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

Another season 7 judge, Demi Lovato’s appearance on the show left the queens gagged. She appeared in the season just two episodes after Ariana Grande had been on so the queens were being treated to some of the biggest names in pop.

Demi Lovato was joined by guest judge John Waters – who’s iconic films inspired the episodes maxi-challenge, of which Ginger Minj won. For the lip synch – between Miss Fame and Pearl – the queens got to perform Demi Lovato’s “Really Don’t Care.”

Christina Aguilera

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

Getting none other than Christina Aguilera (a.k.a. Xtina) to appear in the premiere episode of season 10 (a.k.a. season X) was definitely a very clever idea. Besides, Christina Aguilera has been considered an important LGBTQ+ ally since her music video for “Beautiful,” which featured same-sex relationships during a time when this was not necessarily trendy for popstars to do.

On Drag Race, Christina Aguilera was more than willing to have fun. She even did a bit in which she pretended to be season 9 contestant Farrah Moan (who many believe looks like the singer). Overall, Xtina did not disappoint Drag Race fans!

Guillermo Díaz

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

Cuban-American actor Guillermo Díaz made his Drag Race debut in season 11 on the third episode, alongside pop star Troye Sivan. The two were there to help judge one of my favorite maxi-challenges to date – the teams had to select a pop diva to worship in their TV evangelist show.

In the lip synch challenge, the bottom six queens lip synced to Jennifer Lopez’s “Waiting for Tonight” and it was everything.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

Drag Race was one of the most revolutionary shows when it first started. Here were drag artists going on national TV and performing their art form, when it was still considered extremely taboo. Times have changed, thankfully, and so much so that one of the nation’s leading politicians made a guest judge appearance on the show. Enter: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who made her debut on the show during season 12, episode 7.

This episode featured by far the very best ‘rusical’ every performed on the show – honoring pop queen Madonna. AOC was very visibly into the performance and gave plenty of constructive criticism and praise to the queens. She even snuck backstage during the taping of Untucked to have more one-on-one time with the queens, and reminding them of the power of their art form and their voice.

Ricky Martin

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars’ Season 5 is already a hit with fans and maybe Ricky Martin had something to do with it. Fans are loving him on the judges’ panel and didn’t hold back from expressing their love for him. The Puerto Rican singer-actor watched every performance with equal enthusiasm and awe — especially the last one where queen India Ferrah and lip-sync assassin Yvie Oddly battled it out in the elimination. 

And pretty much all of Twitter agreed that Ricky Martin has only gotten better with age – calling him the ultimate trade of ‘All Stars’ Season 5.

Did we miss any of your favorite judges? Or who would you like to see make a guest appearance on Drag Race?

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