Valentina is the stage name of James Leyva, a drag queen, performer, acting artist, and one of the Season 9 contestants of RuPaul's Drag Race (placed 7th and the winner of the "Miss Congeniality" title), as well as one of the All Stars 4 contestants (once again placed 7th).
"Valentina" comes from a same named Mexican hot sauce brand.
RuPaul's Drag Race
|Season Competed:||Season 9||All Stars 4|
|Ranking:||7th Place (Miss C.)||7th Place|
|Mini Challenges Won:||1 (Ep. 8)||0|
|Times as Team Captain:||0||0|
|Main Challenges Won:||1 (Ep. 2)||1 (Ep. 2)|
|Times in Bottom:||1 (Ep. 9)||3 (Eps. 3, 5, 7)|
|Episode Eliminated:||Episode 9||Episode 7|
In the Season 9's 1st episode, the contestants were challenged to make a look inspired by their hometown and remake their favorite Lady Gaga look. For her hometown look, Valentina did a mariachi-themed outfit. While for the Gaga outfit, she chose Gaga's CFDA Awards 2011 dress. She was praised by the judges, placed high, but didn't win.
Valentina had her 1st win in Episode 2, "She Done Already Done Brought It On", after a cheerleader routine challenge. She was praised both for her performance, and runway look, fact that happened again in most of the consecutive episodes, where she paced high again 3 times (in Episodes 3, 4 and 7), and was, also, safe 3 times (in Episodes 5, 6 and 8).
In the 9th episode, "Your Pilot's on Fire", the main challenge was to create their own TV show pilot. Valentina and Nina Bo'nina Brown were paired together and struggled with filming their TV pilot as they had not prepared a script and had to improvise. Although Valentina received some positive comments on her runway outfit, she and Nina were criticized for their lack of planning and organization, which ultimately landed them both in the Bottom 2. Valentina initially attempted to lip sync with her mouth covered by her runway mask, but RuPaul made her remove it, revealing she couldn't remember the lyrics to the song and she was eliminated. Much like Trixie Mattel's, and BenDeLaCreme's, her elimination was a shock to most viewers, as she was considered to be one of the stronger contestants of Season 9.
On Season 9's reunion, several of the other contestants (most notably Aja and Farrah Moan) objected to Valentina winning the "Miss Congeniality" vote. They argued that the "Miss Congeniality" prize is more of a popularity contest and Valentina should be crowned "fan favorite" instead as she wasn't seen to be the most congenial contestant, largely because she didn't speak out about the hate her fans sent to other contestants following her elimination. Following the controversy, Valentina suggested her fans to leave rose emojis in her fellow Season 9 contestants' comment sections to show them that they're not all hateful. This led to many of her followers flooding many drag queens' social media with red rose emojis. While some responded positively to this as a nice gesture, many others saw it as an annoyance and spam, with some asking fans to stop.
All Stars 4
In the 1st episode, the contestants were asked to roast each other in the show's "Reading is Fundamental" mini-challenge. Valentina did well but didn't win. Similarly, Valentina's lip sync performance during the variety/talent show maxi-challenge was also declared safe.
In Episode 2, the contestants auditioned for RuPaul's new supergroup, "Henny!", writing their lyrics, singing and performing choreographed numbers, featuring "RuPaul's Drag Race" legend Stacy Layne Matthews. Valentina was praised by her performance as well as her runway look, ending up on top with Monét X Change. After they lip sync to "Into You" by Ariana Grande, Valentina was declared winner and eliminated Farrah Moan.
On All Stars 4, Valentina placed for the 1st time in the Bottom in the 3rd episode, alongst Gia Gunn, after a unfunny Eartha Kitt impersonation in the romantic twisted version of "Snatch Game". However, Gia was chose to be eliminated by Manila Luzon, so Valentina could participate on Episode 4 (where she was safe), and on Episode 5 (where she placed again in the Bottom but was safe as all the other contestants there).
In Episode 6, the remain contestants take part in a lip-sync tournament allowing the eliminated ones to gain re-entry into the competition. Farrah lip synced against Valentina to "Kitty Girl" by RuPaul. Valentina won and stayed in the competition until Episode 7, where the contestants were tasked to come up with their own night clubs. She was paired with Naomi Smalls, they created the "Club 96", but unfortunately, both ended in the Bottom 2, while Latrice Royale won the challenge as well as the lip sync against Trinity The Tuck and chose to eliminate Valentina.
- "Hello, it's me: Valentina!" (Season 9 entrance quote)
- "Fan favorite is here!" (All Stars 4 entrance quote)
- "I'm glad these girls see me as a threat."
- "I was literally shaking, but I said to myself: 'Valentina, when in doubt, smile!'"
- "I'm Valentina, I'm also corny!" (on Season 9's cheerleader challenge)
- "I'm not gonna say nothing to that." (to Aja, after her rant on Season 9 Episode 3's Untucked)
- "I'd like to keep it on, please." (when asked by RuPaul to remove her mask for lip sync)
- "Farrah Moan, just shut up already!"
- "DEODORANT, BITCH!" (to Shea Couleé on Season 9's "Reading is Fundamental" challenge)
- "In my country, we're known for beautiful women, and I think, also... COCAÍNA." (as Ariadna Gutierrez on "Snatch Game")
- "I can never win anything!" (as Ariadna Gutierrez on "Snatch Game")
- "Escandalo." (Spanish for "scandal". Said to Farrah, after she explain Tyga's relationship with the Kardashian family)
- "Hasta luego, los quiero mucho." (Spanish for "See you soon, love y'all". Season 9 exit quote)
- "Am I the villain? Villaintina? Me?"
- "Valentina is the diva of the season. The rumors are true: I take a long time to get ready. The rumors are true: I have high expectations, like my heels."
- "Ru, Mystique was a mistake." (referring to Latrice Royale in the "Reading Is Fundamental" challenge of All Stars 4)
- "So you think I can go home tonight?" (to Trinity The Tuck)
- "I’m sending your ass home, bitch, because sending Latrice? That's too much." (to Trinity The Tuck)
- "Ladies I'm boiling, my blood is simmering through my veins and I have some things to say, okay? I am DEEPLY and UTTERLY offended, that judge with the bun and the gold, I do not appreciate her non-constructive criticism of my beautiful outfit."
- "Can't you see her now, with a juicy red apple in her mouth and Satan's finger up her ass?" (referring to Lady Bunny, during the roast Bunny)
- "You think this is cute? This story of let's just get rid of the bitch. Well you know what bitches I still got another motherfucking week!" (to Manila, and Monét after they reveal their elimination choice)
- "Sending me home doesn't make sense with my fantasy."
- "But all I can say is that no matter what... we're still in our heels." (to Naomi Smalls)
- "I know I’m a lot. It’s, like, a privilege but, like, a curse."
- "I'll always remain... your diva with a heart. But bitch, let it be known: she left with a crown." (All Stars 4 exit quote)
"Ladies, I love you with all my heart. If ever you need me, I'm yours. Con amor, Valentina" ("con amor" meaning "with love" in Spanish)
All Stars 4
"UGH! I had to pack. Love you all, Valentina"
- Valentina worships the Virgin of Guadalupe (an apparition of the Virgin Mary that occurred in Mexico during colonial times) as the mentor of her life and drag career;
- She's trilingual (speaks Spanish, English, and Brazilian Portuguese). Thus, she's one of the few RuPaul's Drag Race alumnis able to speak at least 3 languages, such as Gia Gunn, and Katya;
- On 2015, she won the club version of the Boulet Brothers' DRAGULA;
- She was featured in the fashion magazines Vogue México, and Vogue;
- She's on the cast of the musical RENT: Live;
- She has a show on WOWPresents' YouTube channel called La Vida de Valentina and also voices a character named "Arugula" in the WOWPresents+ exclusive show Drag Tots. The show also features Detox, Bianca Del Rio, Latrice Royale, and others. RuPaul herself also voices a character;
- She was the 1st contestant revealed for Season 9, being interviewed by Michelle Visage during a Facebook live-stream;
- She claimed to have only been performing professionally in clubs for 10 months at the time of Season 9's filming, and was accepted on her 1st time auditioning for the show;
- She revealed she was struggling with an eating disorder on the 5th episode of Season 9;
- Nina Bo'nina Brown, and her are the only contestants so far to be stopped by RuPaul during a lip sync. RuPaul later said that Valentina's lip sync is one of his top 3 shocking moments on the show. The other 2 being Roxxxy Andrews' abandonment story and Ongina's announcement of her HIV status;
- She's the 1st contestant to participate in a lip sync with her mouth covered;
- Like Farrah Moan's, and Nina Bo'nina Brown's, her elimination was leaked online prior to the episode airing;
- She's the youngest "Miss Congeniality" title winner and is tied with Season 5 contestant Ivy Winters as the 2nd-lowest "Miss Congeniality" placement, as both came 7th on their respective seasons. Cynthia Lee Fontaine is the lowest-placing one, coming in 10th on Season 8;
- Her lip sync against Nina Bo'nina Brown was ranked number 1 in MsMojo's "Top 10 Moments from RuPaul's Drag Race Season 9";
- She was invited to return for All Stars 3 along with Aja after Trinity The Tuck, and Shea Couleé declined, but reportedly turned it down;
- Her All Stars 4 track record is similar to her Season 9 track record (won a challenge in Episode 2 and being eliminated in 7th place on Episode 7).
Season 9 Looks
All Stars 4 Looks
- "A Prueba de Todo" (2018)
- "Don't Funk It Up" (2018) by RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars 4 Cast
- (2017) RuPaul's Drag Race, on Season 9
- (2018) America's Next Top Model, on Cycle 24
- (2018) RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars 4
- (2017) Untucked, on Season 9
- (2017) La Vida de Valentina
- (2018) Drag Tots
- (2019) Werq the World
- (2019) La Casa de las Flores
- "Yo Soy Su Vida" (2019) by Gloria Trevi
- "Ábranse Perras" (2019) by Glovia Trevi
|2nd: Peppermint • 3rd/4th: Shea Couleé & Trinity Taylor|
|5th: Alexis Michelle • 6th: Nina Bo'nina Brown • 7th: Valentina (Miss Congeniality) • 8th: Farrah Moan • 9th: Aja • 10th: Cynthia Lee Fontaine • 11th: Eureka O'Hara • 12th: Charlie Hides • 13th: Kimora Blac • 14th: Jaymes Mansfield|
|RuPaul • Michelle Visage • Carson Kressley • Ross Mathews|
|Jason Carter • Miles Davis Moody • Bryce Eilenberg|
|Monét X Change & Trinity The Tuck|
|3rd/4th: Monique Heart & Naomi Smalls|
|5th: Latrice Royale • 6th: Manila Luzon • 7th: Valentina • 8th: Gia Gunn • 9th: Farrah Moan • 10th: Jasmine Masters|
|Jason Carter • Bruno Carvalho • Bryce Eilenberg|