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Valentina is the stage name of James Leyva, a drag performer from Los Angeles, California. She is one of the 14 contestants who competed on the ninth season of RuPaul's Drag Race. She finished in seventh place and was voted Miss Congeniality by fans.


"Hello, it's me, Valentina!"

Rupaul's Drag Race

Season 9

Season Competed Season 9
Ranking 7th (Miss Congeniality)
Mini-Challenges Won 1 (ep. 8)
Times as Team Captain 0
Main Challenges Won 1 (ep. 2)
Times in Bottom Two 1 (ep. 9)
Episode Eliminated Episode 9

Episode One, "Oh. My. Gaga!" In this episode, the queens were challenged to make a look inspired by their hometown and remake their favorite Lady Gaga look. Valentina received positive critiques from the judges for her runway outfits. 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. Valentina did not win, but was deemed safe by the judges.

Episode Two, "She Done Already Done Brought it On" In this episode, the queens had to learn choreography for a cheer routine. 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.

Episode three, "Draggily Ever After" In this episode, the queens had to create their own fairytale princess and sidekick. Valentina 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 this challenge, but did not win.

Episode Four, "Good Morning Bitches" In this episode, the queens were challenged to create their own morning show. Valentina was on Aja's team and was also paired with Aja during the enter"taint"ment skit. She was on the winning team for this challenge, and was therefore declared safe.

Episode Nine, "Your Pilot's On Fire" In this episode, the maxi challenge was to create their own TV show pilot. Valentina and Nina Bo'nina Brown were paired together. They struggled with filming their TV pilot, as neither had prepared a script and instead relied on improvisation. Their show was lackluster and awkward compared to the others, and her club kid look was more high fashion than club kid according to Michelle Visage, which ultimately landed Valentina in the bottom two against her fellow teammate. She initially attempted to lipsync with her mask covering her mouth, but RuPaul paused the performance to make her remove it. It was then revealed she could not remember the lyrics to the song, and she was told by Ru that she thought she had it in the bag to make it to the finale, however, due to the unimpressive lipsync, she sashayed away.


Much like Trixie Mattel and BenDeLaCreme, Valentina's elimination was a huge shock to the fans of RuPaul's Drag Race, as she was considered to be one of the stronger contestants of Season 9. Many of Valentina's fans sent threats to Nina Bo'nina Brown, the other participant in the bottom two that week, and Alexis Michelle, the queen that many thought deserved to be in the bottom two. Both of them had to disable their comment sections on social media for a short period of time.

After Valentina was crowned Miss Congeniality at the reunion, several other queens (including Aja and Farrah Moan) argued that Valentina was not congenial enough to deserve the title and that Miss Congeniality is more fan favorite than who is actually the most congenial.

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
  • "I lied you ugly stripper!"
  • "Hey!"
  • "I'd like to keep it on, please." -Valentina asking RuPaul to allow her to keep her mask on for her lipsync
  • "Farrah Moan, just shut up already" to Farrah Moan


  • Valentina was the first queen revealed for Season 9 during a Facebook live-stream, being interviewed by Michelle Visage.
  • She took her drag name from the Mexican hot sauce called Valentina.
  • She was accepted on her first time auditioning for the show.
  • She had only been a professional drag performer 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. 
  • She is the first queen to be stopped by RuPaul during a lipsync, as well as the first to 'lipsync' with her face covered.
  • Like Farrah Moan and Nina Bo'nina Brown, Valentina's elimination was leaked online prior to the episode airing.


Start a Discussion Discussions about Valentina

  • Season 9 Reunion

    3 messages
    • Yeah! I was so confused as to the fact they were attacking Valentina! I understand most of the reasons as to why they were upset. However, t...
    • Exactly!I wouldn't have a problem with them all if they had actually started saying all this shit before the finale.  Moreover, like I s...
  • Miss Congeniality (Season 9)

    13 messages
    • I have to be the outsider here and say Kimora Blac deserves that title. I know that she has low chance to win it, but she was such a sweet he...
    • Sweetheart on the show or outside of it?

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