RuPaul's Drag Race alum joins the cast of Fox's live production of Rent.
“Today 4 U,” tomorrow for Valentina!
The 27-year-old drag queen appeared on Fox’s live production of Rent on Sunday, where she played a drag queen of another name — Angel Dumott Schunard, the HIV-positive drag queen and drummer at the musical’s heart.
It’s a role that was originally played by Wilson Jermaine Heredia on Broadway, who earned a Tony for his performance and later reprised it for the 2005 film.
Loosely based on the opera La Boheme, Jonathan Larson’s Tony- and Pulitzer-winning rock musical Rent tells the story of a group of New York City artists dealing with the HIV/AIDS crisis in 1989. In addition to Valentina, the Fox production also stars Vanessa Hudgens, Jordan Fisher, Brandon Victor Dixon, Brennin Hunt, Tinashe, Kiersey Clemons, and R&B singer Mario.
Here’s everything you need to know about Valentina.
1. She competed on the ninth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race
On the show, Valentina described her drag performance as “very dramatic, very theatrical and always very Latina.”
Despite a strong start at the beginning of the competition, Valentina was eliminated in episode 9, when she couldn’t remember the words during the lip sync battle. She was crowned season 9’s Miss Congeniality, a cash prize awarded to a fan favorite.
2. She came back for season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars
After making waves in her season, Valentina was back in the Werk Room for the fourth season of All Stars along with Latrice Royale, Naomi Smalls and Farrah Moan — with whom she clashed on their season of Drag Race. The show is currently airing on VH1.
Valentina told her followers on Instagram that although she was offered a spot on the third season of All Stars, she turned it down because she was in a “sad and lonely mental place” at the time. “What helped me get back to a good place was you, you always kept believing in me and kept holding me high,” she captioned a post.
Sadly, Valentina was eliminated from All Stars on Friday’s episode — just two days before Rent live.
3. She had little experience with drag performing before the reality show
While many Drag Race contestants come in with years of experience, Valentina said she only had 10 months of professional drag performance under her belt when she joined the Emmy-winning VH1 reality competition.
She did have years of training in singing, dancing and acting before Drag Race, though, as she studied performing arts in college, according to the New York Times.
4. She’s starred in other projects — and released music since the show
Valentina released a single, “A Prueba de Todo,” in 2018. The same year, she appeared on an episode of America’s Next Top Model to give tips to the contestants.
In addition, she’s also voiced a character named Arugula on WOW Presents Plus’ animated series, Drag Tots, alongside executive producers RuPaul.
5. Her Rent character has helped her “be a better person”
In an emotional post on Instagram, Valentina opened up about the “honor” of playing Angel in Rent. “Angel has now become my angel that guides me to be a better person,” she wrote. “I’m diving into this role whole heartedly [sic] with all the love she deserves. A big shout out to all the Angel Stars that have come before me, I’m so blessed to be a part of the RENT family.” She ended her post with a special shout out to Dixon, who plays Tom, Angel’s love interest.