This Week's 'Drag Race' Eliminee Was In Shock About Her Meltdown
And we're in shock she left us so soon.
Photo via VH1
Valentina had only been doing drag for less than a year before showing up for this season of RuPaul's Drag Race, but she immediately became a judge favorite for her polished looks and daffy sense of humor. It was a heady affair, to say the least. "You're perfect, you're beautiful, you look like Linda Evangelista," Aja mockingly told her during the third Untucked recap, parodying the judges. "She could walk out there in a fucking diaper and they'll be like, 'Valentina, your smile is beautiful!'" (The read was so shady, that a Drag Race stan immortalized it as a club track.)
That judge love is why it comes as a total shock that she was eliminated in tonight's episode, in a meltdown that was largely avoidable. When Valentina and fellow contestant Nina Bo'Nina Brown were challenged to come up with a trailer for a TV show, they showed up to film without a script and bombed horrendously. Then, when the two squared off in the final lip sync to Ariana Grande's "Greedy," Valentina tried to hide behind the mask that covered her mouth. RuPaul had to stop the music and ask her to remove it. When she initially refused, it became obvious that it was because she didn't know the lyrics to the song—and thus, one of this season's favorites to win was sent home far before her time. Valentina told VICE she remembers little of her time on the runway; even though she walked away tonight, she won't be easily forgotten.
VICE: Valentina, every week, RuPaul tells his girls "don't fuck it up." And you really fucked it up.
Valentina: I sure did.
How are you feeling now?
At this point of time in my life, I'm very happy. It's something that [was filmed] a long time ago. I haven't seen the episode yet, but I'm sure it's going to bring up a lot of stuff. I don't remember much because I was in a state of shock. But right now, I'm feeling great—I'm a little nervous about watching it, but I can honestly say that I'm very grateful right now.
So you really didn't know the song at all?
I know they give you a chance to rehearse. Did you not rehearse?
It was a very short amount of time. We can't discuss details, but with the amount of time that I had, I was not prepared.
Did you think you could just hide behind the mask? Or was that incidental to what had happened?
Well, the mask went with my look. And at that point, I didn't know the lyrics. So I was just in a state of shock and my body was moving and I don't even remember what happened, to be honest.
What were you feeling when RuPaul asked you to take the mask off?
I don't remember if I even felt anything. The only thing I remember feeling was when he raised his voice at me, and I thought, "Oh my god, what is happening? This is bad. This is really bad."
As soon as it was over, you started to break down a bit. What was going through your mind when you finished your performance?
Did I? I don't remember.
You have lip sync amnesia!
I don't know! I don't remember. I'm sorry.
It must have been a very emotional moment for you.
I'm sure. I can speak to how I felt after all of it, when I got home from Drag Race. I was actually still in this weird state of shock for like a month and a half where I wasn't really feeling anything—I wasn't feeling empowered or grateful, and I was really hard on myself and disappointed, because my goal was to win. I wasn't processing or feeling. Then after a while, being in pain, I started to have small flashbacks of what could have been happening. And since then I've processed things, and I'm ultimately grateful for the experience. I feel like it's something that I can learn from, and I don't want to go back and think about things I could have done differently. Instead I want to know what happened and move forward, learn from it.
How did you process those feelings of inadequacy and letting yourself down?
My music, my privacy, my friends, my family. I did a little bit of writing. What really helped me through it was to realize that moments like this have always been my dream. I should just keep dreaming and achieve those things.
What are your dreams? What are you going to do next?
My ultimate dream is to become the face of drag in all of Latin America.
I mean, not a small dream.
No, it's not. It's something I know is really big. But I've been dreaming and wishing upon a star since I was really little. And if I've been able to get here, and I'd always dreamed of getting discovered and having that moment to be catapulted into something like this, why not shoot for the stars?
It was surprising that you had only been doing drag for 10 months when you started on the show. What have you learned about drag from Drag Race ?
I've learned that I have a purpose on this Earth, to just be an artist and dedicate myself to my creativity, and that there's true power behind being a performer. When I'm Valentina, I am the most powerful version of myself. I get to live my dream through this experience. So that's what I've learned.
Early on in the show, you were getting a lot of good feedback from the judges, and some of the other queens were really shady to you because of that. How did you deal with hearing that from the other girls?
I just focused on what's important. I made sure that what I did would win challenges and win the crown, and I tried to not get distracted by drama and to keep my eye on the prize.
There hasn't been too much drama this season, but every week in the workroom, when girls are putting their makeup on, things get very serious. How did you feel talking about your eating disorder with everyone, on national television?
It was a very vulnerable thing for me, because I am a very strategized person, and I like to have control. So to open up vulnerably, not only to my sisters on the show, but to everyone—it's been a way to start my healing process. An eating disorder is something that I'm always going to have and have to deal with. So it's allowed me to be empowered about the situation and not ashamed of it.
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