Valentina Talks Her Elimination and “Ru-demption”, Inhabiting Angel for "Rent Live”,and Why Coming Out As Gender Non-Binary Was Her Most Important Coming Out Yet.
As she sashayed off of th Valentinae RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4 runway following her elimination, Valentina most assuredly knew that she had safely packed her first season of Drag Race away and was not known as a true contender and not simply the girl who famously said “I’d like to keep it on please” when she refused to remove a mask covering her face during a lip sync. The All Stars 4Valentina was fashion forward and wacky, yet amazingly driven and kept her eye on the prize, especially during her now legendary lip sync against Monet X Change. While Valentina came up short in in taking the All Stars crown, her career-and personal life-have more than evolved. I sat down and caught up with her post elimination to talk about what it was like coming back for another season of Drag Race, portraying Angel in Rent: Live and who she thinks could grab this years All Stars crown!
With your elimination from RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4 we have gotten to see your journey come full circle, in particular with a scorching Ariana Grande lip sync! Do you think that you have gotten the Ru-demption that you wanted?
I do think that I got that Ru-demption. I think that everything played out way that it needed to and I am so lucky and privileged to say that I had such an amazing experience during my run on All Stars. I hope people enjoyed my crazy silly fantasy self!
When you got to the workroom initially, who were you surprised to not see when you walked into the workroom?
I thought Mariah Balenziaga would definitely be there, but she wasn’t. That, I was definitely surprised by.
What did you want to prove on your season of All Stars more than anything else?
That I know the words! (laughs). I wanted to show that I am a silly goofy person, in spite of having an accomplished and competitive mindset. That I live life to the fullest and I really love drag, I really do. That I am not just Miss Perfect all of the time; I wanted to prove that I am a complex character.
We really got to see your epic fashion, both on the runway and in the workroom, as well as the fact that you are a truly funny queen. Does it help you to be in your own “French Vanilla Fantasy” world in order to put your best foot forward in both challenges and on the runway?
Being in my own world and doing my own thing is always a part of my everyday life. It is not even just for the runway, it is for life. Feeling your fantasy and getting ready for the day, or for the club, or for work, whatever it is. Having that moment to gather yourself, feel confident and present it when you are out in the world, That is what is your armor and what builds you up and helps you go out and enjoy your fantasy so other people can enjoy it also.
You are such a fashion girl and high fashion clearly has a huge influence on your drag. Who are you loving right now fashion-wise?
I am really loving Ralph & Russo, they recently did a collection based on my muse, Mexican film actor Maria Felix. The Valentino couture show also, had beautiful gowns and beautiful prints. I especially love a red Valentino gown also!
One thing we are all very excited to see is your portrayal of Angel on Rent: Live.
Thank you! I am so thrilled and excited for people to see it. Especially those that don’t know the story or the music or the character of “Angel”, especially the youth that don’t know the story of Rent at all or the AIDS epidemic of that time. It is a beautiful story, and Angel is an iconic character; he is the heart and the soul of Rent. I am diving in face first to this one.
The story of Rent is a completely different generation, but it is a very important story to tell, especially right now. What made you want to be a part of it?
My character “Angel” is such a caring and giving person. What really made me want to be a part of it was the challenge that it puts on me; artistically, vocally, and even spiritually. Angel is so selfless and so giving and so hardworking at the same time. it inspires me to be a better person. It goes beyond the attention of performing; it really moves me to be a part of this. It is probably going to be the biggest challenge that I have ever taken on in my life.
So back to All Stars; who do you think could really keep going and snatch the crown? There are only a handful of girls left…
I know! I am really rooting for them all. Trinity (the Tuck) is one of my closest drag friends, but I am really rooting for all of the girls. I am really excited to keep watching, especially the next episode, to see who I think could really go to the end and who deserves it.
What do you have coming up for Valentina? With two seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race and now Rent :Live under your belt, do you want to stay in television or have you thought about spreading your wings to Broadway?
I definitely want to stay in television. The lights, the cameras, I am very hopeful for a very bright future. I am so grateful to RuPaul’s Drag Race for having given me the platform to continue in things like Rent: Live and for some other things that are happening in the future that I cannot announce just quite yet. I am really hoping that my devoted fans continue to follow and support me throughout my endeavors throughout the industry.
World Pride and the 50th Anniversary of Pride are this year; what gives you pride on a daily basis and inspires you to keep creating?
What gives me pride is the fact that I give a voice to those lonely souls out there who identify as gender non binary and that I get to give them a voice. That I get to give them that epiphany that they exist and that they matter. As someone who is non-binary, I did not know what that was for so long and felt so different, even around gay people. I felt so alienated and that I almost did not even belong in this world. When I defined that I was gender non-binary and I am able to feel at peace with myself and with who I was, it gives me pride to know that so many of us are out there and exist. Through my portrayal of “Angel”, I was able to express that publicly because I had been asked how I would be playing the role and how much of me was actually in the role. It gives me pride to be able to come out as gender non-binary.
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