Valentina has sashayed away to an amazing new role: Angel Dumott Schunard in Fox’s ‘Rent: Live’! Here’s what you should know about Valentina before the musical airs on Jan. 27.
Valentina, 27, is playing drag queen and percussionist Angel Dumott Schunard in Fox’s Rent: Live! An amazing casting choice, considering that Valentina herself became drag queen royalty on VH1. Here’s what you should know about the talented performer, who also goes by James Andrew Leyva when not taking on her stage persona.
1. Valentina starred on Season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. She made it all the way to seventh place, and even nabbed the honor of “Miss Congeniality” along the way.
2. Valentina returned to compete on RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. A year after Season 9 of the original series aired, Valentina reunited with RuPaul’s catwalk to duke it out with the best of the best in Season 4 of All Stars. In fact, you might’ve just caught her on TV, as she [SPOILER] was sadly eliminated on Jan. 25. But judging by her new gig, everything worked out just fine.
3. When not in drag, Valentina identifies as non-binary. “I identify as nonbinary. I don’t completely feel like a man, I don’t completely feel like a woman,” Valentina explained to Out in a Jan. 14 interview. “I feel like a goddess. I feel like I’m my own gender.” And Valentina is looking forward to translating her experience into Rent’s Angel, whose identity has been debated for years, as fans have speculated her to be a transgender woman, drag queen or genderfluid. “I get to bring that aspect to my Angel character and really have an idea of like, ‘Why is she so happy and so confident in her armor, in her drag?’” Valentina isn’t taking the role lightly, as she added, “I do take the responsibility of being a gay nonbinary drag queen person taking on a really important iconic role like Angel and I hope [audiences] tune in for it.”
4. She just launched her singing career. Even though Valentina didn’t nail her lip-sync challenge on her last episode of All Stars, she does have real singing chops! She released her debut single, “A Prueba de Todo,” in Dec. 2018.
5. Valentina has an immense fan base. She boasts a whopping 1.1 million Instagram followers! If you want to see Valentina behind-the-scenes from Rent: Live, we suggest heading on over to her page.