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Valentina is the stage name of James Leyva, a drag performer from Los Angeles, California and one of the 14 contestants competing in the ninth season of RuPaul's Drag Race.


"Hello, it's me, Valentina!"

Rupaul's Drag Race

Season 9

In episode one "Oh. My. Gaga!", Valentina received positive critiques from the judges for her runway outfits. For the challenge, the queens had to showcase a hometown look and a Lady Gaga inspired look. For the hometown look, she did a mariachi-themed outfit, representing Los Angeles. For the Gaga outfit, she chose Gaga's CFDA Awards 2011 dress and was praised for her runway walk, which Gaga herself said brought a tear to her eye. Ross Matthews said her hometown look was his favorite look.

In episode two "She Done Already Done Brought it On", Valentina was picked last for the cheerleading teams due to her being relatively new to drag and ended up on Cynthia Lee Fontaine's team, dubbed "Team Cucu". Valentina was nervous for the challenge but pulled through due to her positive attitude. Her positivity, performance, and widely loved bridal inspired runway look won her the challenge.

In episode three "Draggily Ever After", Valentina received some backlash from the other contestants over her winning the previous challenge. She chose to do an ice/winter theme for her Princess look, with a fairy as her sidekick. The judges praised her look and were surprised by her comedy. Valentina placed high in the challenge, but did not win.

Memorable Quotes

  • "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!"
  • "I'm not gonna say nothing to that.." To Aja after her rant in Untucked


  • She was the first queen revealed for Season 9 during a Facebook live-stream, being interviewed by Michelle Visage.
  • Valentina got her drag name from the Mexican hot sauce, also called Valentina.
  • She was accepted on her first time auditioning for the show.
  • She had only been performing in drag professionally for 10 months at the time of filming for Season 9.
  • She revealed she was struggling with an eating disorder on the fifth episode of Season 9.
  • Valentina won the 2015 club version of the Boulet Brothers' DRAGULA.
  • Valentina doesn't have a drag mother but considers the Virgin of Guadalupe, an apparition of the Virgin Mary that occurred in Mexico during colonial times, her drag mother. 
  • Valentina shaved her eyebrows on the third episode of Season 9.


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