It was one of the most intense confrontations between RuPaul and a lip-synching contestant in Drag Race herstory. The host paused the competition mid-song and asked Valentina to take off her veil. After initially resisting, the performer removed it — and was unable to lip-synch all of the words to the song.
As a result, Valentina, who had been a strong contender for the crown throughout season 9, was asked to sashay away. The Advocate asked the Los Angeles–based drag queen about the shocking moment, the trouble her team encountered in filming a television pilot for the main challenge, and what’s next after Drag Race.
The Advocate: How are you feeling?
Valentina: I feel great today. I’m very happy.
Were there any particular TV shows that inspired you in creating your pilot?
No, there weren’t any particular shows that inspired it.
You’ve come off as so prepared and “on it” all season. Why the sudden change of tactics?
I’m always a prepared person, so it was not a change of tactics.
The judges didn’t love the end product. But you did make them laugh! How did you feel about their reaction?
I always strive for people to love what I do, but unfortunately sometimes it doesn’t always happen that way.
How would you change your pilot if you could go back in time?
No, I don’t look back. If anything, there’s a lot that I can learn from this experience. I’m learning to always be fully prepared for any scenario.
What inspired your Club Kids couture?
I was going for this fantasy of Dolce & Gabbana meets John Galliano meets Matador.
What was going through your mind when RuPaul asked you to remove your veil during the lip-synch?
I honestly don’t remember. I was in a state of shock and froze.
What happened afterward? Did you not know all the words, or was it nerves?
I froze and just didn’t know the words to the song. I was in a place of complete shock, and it caused me to just freeze.
How do you feel about your elimination?
It happened, but more than anything I feel proud to have been on the show and to have a great run leading up to my elimination.
You’re one of the younger queens this season. How is your generation changing drag?
I honestly don’t know, as I can only speak for myself, but through myself I can show that it’s not about how long you’ve been doing drag — it’s about how much passion and how much drive you have to show off your creativity. And to be under so much pressure and to still pull through.
What have you learned from the older queens since being on the show?
I’ve learned so many different tips and tricks from everyone, honestly.
What was your reaction when Peppermint came out as transgender this season?
I’m so proud of her, and this is such a proud moment for any trans person. I hope that other trans of queer people who already do drag or have wanted to do it will also feel comfortable enough to audition for the show.
Has the election changed the way you thought about drag and your goals as a performer?
I want to be as unapologetically flamboyant and glamorous as I possibly can.
How do you feel about Donald Trump’s wall along the Mexican border?
I feel how anyone in my position should feel about it.
The Pulse massacre was addressed this season. Did Orlando make you more fearful or change your experience when you perform at gay bars?
Yes, it really affected me emotionally. For the first time I thought to myself, I’m not safe. Not only was it an attack to the LGBT community, but it was also an attack on Latino night at Pulse and against drag queens. My condolences to the families that experienced loss on that tragic night.
What was the highlight of your time on the show?
Meeting RuPaul is the highlight of my time on the show.
What would you show the world if you had more time?
It might have not ended the way I wanted it to, but I’ve had plenty of time to prove that I’m a star.
Who are you rooting for among the remaining contestants?
I don’t know who wins, but if I were to root for one of the contestants as a fan, it would be Nina Bo’nina Brown. I really love what she does with her drag.
Valentina wants to become the face [of] drag in all of Latin America.
Thanks, Valentina! Look at one last lip-synch from the performer below.