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Valentina is the stage name of James Andrew Leyva[1] (born May 14, 1991),[1] an American drag performer, actor, television personality and singer best known as a contestant on the ninth season of RuPaul's Drag Race and fourth season of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars.

Valentina DragCon cropped.png
James Andrew Leyva

(1991-05-14) May 14, 1991 (age 28)
OccupationDrag queen, Actor
Years active2015–present

Early lifeEdit

Valentina was born in Bell, California to Mexican parents,[1] and began working as a professional drag queen around ten months before filming RuPaul's Drag Race, although she already had a background in fashion and the performing arts.[2] Leyva chose to go by "Valentina" in drag after the hot sauce of the same name.[3] Valentina is known for using her drag as a way to represent Latin American culture on stage and make drag more accepted in Latin American culture.[1]


In 2015, Valentina won an early club version of the Boulet Brothers' "Dragula" contest, a precursor of the television show.[4]

On February 2, 2017, Valentina was announced as one of fourteen contestants competing for the ninth season of RuPaul's Drag Race.[5] She was eliminated in episode nine to Nina Bo'Nina Brown after infamously losing a lipsync battle to "Greedy" by Ariana Grande; she was reluctant to take off a mask covering their mouth as she did not know the lyrics to the song, a moment which went viral across social media.[6] She placed seventh overall, and their elimination sparked some controversy online as she was popular with fans.[7] She was later voted as "Miss Congeniality" by the viewers of the show, but was mockingly dubbed "Fan Favorite" by her castmates, due to their view that she was unsuitable for a congenial title.[8] During the season 10 finale, Valentina appeared via a pre-recorded video message to crown her successor for the Miss Congeniality title, Monét X Change.[citation needed]

Outside of Drag Race, Valentina appeared in the sixth episode of the twenty-fourth season of America's Next Top Model, in a photo shoot challenge with fellow Drag Race alumni Manila Luzon and Katya.[9] She played Judy Reyes's character Quiet Ann in a season-one recap of Claws.[10] In 2017, she was the host of her own WoWPresents internet show, "La Vida De Valentina" which ran for seven episodes.[11][12]

Valentina was in the October 2017 issue of Vogue Mexico, and filmed a makeup tutorial for Vogue's YouTube channel.[13][14] She was in the July 2017 issue of Elle Mexico modeling designs by Benito Santos for his Red Carpet 2018 campaign.[15] She appeared in the January 2018 issue of Filipino magazine Preview.[16] In April 2019, Valentina appeared in Vogue Mexico for a second time.

Drag Race: All Stars winner Alaska Thunderfuck did a parody song of "Despacito" called "Valentina" in October 2017, with lyrics about Valentina and her infamous elimination from the show.[17] The cosmetics company Lush also referenced Valentina’s elimination for advertising on one of their face masks.[18]

On November 9, 2018, Valentina was announced as a contestant on the upcoming fourth season of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars, a spin-off of the regular Drag Race series which features returning contestants from past seasons.[19] After being in the bottom three times and only scoring one win, Valentina was eliminated in the seventh episode by Latrice Royale, when she failed to impress the judges in a design challenge, causing her and Naomi Smalls to be up for elimination.[20]

In January 2019, Valentina portrayed Angel Dumott Schunard in Fox's televised production of the musical Rent, Rent: Live.[21]


Valentina released her debut single, "A Prueba de Todo", in December 2018.[22]

Personal lifeEdit

Leyva is openly gay and non-binary, and goes by "she/her" pronouns when in drag as Valentina.[23]



Year Title Role Notes
2017 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself Contestant (7th Place)
2017 La Vida de Valentina Herself Web series
2018 America's Next Top Model Herself Cameo
2018 RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Herself Contestant (7th Place)
2018 Drag Tots Arugula Voice only
2019 Rent: Live Angel Dumott Schunard
2019 Werq the World[24] Herself Documentary series
2019 La casa de las flores[25] TBA season 2

Music videosEdit

Year Title Artist(s) Role
2019 "Yo Soy Su Vida" Gloria Trevi the lover
2019 "Ábranse Perras" Gloria Trevi cameo



Year Song Album
2018 "A Prueba De Todo"[26] TBA

As featured artistEdit

Year Title Album
2018 "Don't Funk It Up"
(RuPaul featuring Trinity Taylor, Valentina, Manila Luzon, Latrice Royale, & Gia Gunn)
non-album single


  1. ^ a b c d Cooper, Michael (2017-03-31). "L.A.'s Own Drag Race Contestant, Valentina, Wants More Than to Win". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  2. ^ "Meet Valentina, The Drag Queen Representing L.A. On 'RuPaul's Drag Race'". LAist. Archived from the original on 2017-11-05. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  3. ^ Aquino, Marco (May 2, 2017). "Sultry California Girl Valentina Wants to Be America's Next Drag Superstar". San Antonio Current. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  4. ^ "Congratulations to @allaboutvalentina". Boulet Brothers Instagram page. Retrieved 2018-06-12. Valentina won the club version of Dragula in Los Angeles two years ago…"
  5. ^ "RuPaul's Drag Race Cast". Logo. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  6. ^ Cooper, Michael (May 19, 2017). "Drag Race Fan Favorite and L.A. Native Valentina Explains Her Elimination". LA Weekly. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  7. ^ "The truth about Valentina and Maskgate during 'RuPaul's Drag Race' episode 9". Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  8. ^ "Who won Miss Congeniality during the 'RuPaul's Drag Race' reunion?". Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  9. ^ Katya, Manila & Valentina Teach the Models How to Be Queens (YouTube). VH1. 2018-02-20. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  10. ^ "This Claws Recap Starring Drag Race Queens Is Everything". E! News. Retrieved 2018-06-16.
  11. ^ Lecaro, Lina (2017-11-21). "Drag Race Faves Get Their Own Shows on a New Streaming Network". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  12. ^ "La Vida De Valentina". World of Wonder. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  13. ^ "El arte Drag Queen tiene nombre: Valentina". Vogue México (in Spanish). 2017-10-03. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  14. ^ How Valentina From RuPaul’s Drag Race Becomes Fabulous. Vogue (YouTube). 2017-06-23. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  15. ^ "Valentina de RuPaul's Drag Race protagoniza campaña de Benito Santos" (in Spanish). Elle (Spanish edition). 2017-07-18. Retrieved 2018-06-12. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  16. ^ "We Shot an Old Hollywood-Themed Editorial with Valentina". Preview. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  17. ^ "Alaska Thunderf--k Parodies 'Despacito' With a 'Drag Race' Spin". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  18. ^ "Lush Cosmetics Winks at Valentina's Infamous Drag Race Elimination". Paper. 2017-07-26. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  19. ^ Nolfi, Joey (November 9, 2018). "Meet the RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars 4 cast". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  20. ^ "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars (season 4)", Wikipedia, 2019-01-29, retrieved 2019-01-29
  21. ^ "'Rent': Vanessa Hudgens, Tinashe and Valentina Among Cast of Fox's Live Musical". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  22. ^ "Valentina On Leaving the Haters Behind and the Secret to a Perfect Tuck". Interview. 2019-01-18. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  23. ^ "Valentina Identifies as Nonbinary: "I'm My Own Gender"". 2019-01-14. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  24. ^ "Drag Race's Shangela, Alyssa Edwards, more Werq the World in new series trailer". Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  25. ^ "Fecha de estreno de La Casa De Las Flores 2". Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  26. ^ "A Prueba De Todo - Spotify". Retrieved 24 December 2018.

External linksEdit