2019 American Music Awards

Valentina Shares How 'Drag Race' Prepared Her For 'Rent' & Calls On Fans to Respect Latrice Royale

"I hope that my fans and my following understand that it's a competition, and that is my friend. Nobody should come for Latrice because she is always and still will be the Dearly Beloved of 'Drag Race,'" Valentina says.

It’s a busy week for Valentina. Not only is she navigating a press day one day ahead of the air date of her elimination on RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4, but the drag superstar is in final rehearsals as Angel in Sunday night’s (Jan. 27) Rent: Live on Fox.

Valentina’s elimination from Drag Race is unsettling. Sure, she had one of the worst track records of the remaining contestants, but she was the odds-on favorite to win when the cast was announced. Between her dramatic confessionals and fantastical idiosyncrasies, her presence will be missed next week.

But Valentina is doing just fine, she says on the way to her Rent trailer. Billboard caught up with the queen about her feelings of being eliminated, her single “A Prueba De Todo” and advice on how her fans can create their own fantasy: “You have to be a dreamer and you have to see the picture -- and believe it, even if nobody else does.”

One of my favorite things about you is how you allow yourself to create your own fantasy, and I think people can really learn from that. What is the fantasy today?

My fantasy today is to get into rehearsals and really just authentically feel and not be in my head about cues, or notes or anything like that, but to authentically just feel my entire fantasy as Angel, and deliver something so authentic and so beautiful that I get lost, and me not even knowing that I'm myself anymore. That's what my fantasy is going to be today.

I think a lot of people could learn from your ability to create your own fantasy. Do you have advice to fans on how they can do that?

I don't know. I think you have to be the kind of person that really believes it. You have to be a dreamer and you have to see the picture -- and believe it, even if nobody else does. Be a person of good intention, and do not harm anybody, but really just believe and dream your fantasies into existence. It's worked for me, and I hope it helps other people out there that maybe are not in the ideal situation. You can dream of the ideal situation, and maybe eventually it'll be the one you dreamt of or desired.

Let’s talk about the competition. Were you shocked that Latrice chose to eliminate you?

No.

Given that you are from such different seasons, I was surprised to see that you and Latrice had a friendship that seemed to form outside of the competition. How did you two become friends?

Latrice and I became very close because of the Werk the World tours, and within that time we're in tight spaces. We're in dressing rooms getting ready together, and we're also in the tour bus together, and so within that time you really get to know each other -- you really get to enjoy getting ready with each other.

We got the call to be invited to All Stars when we were on tour in Europe, and for a while it was like a secret, but we knew. We were both going, and both preparing for this while being on the same damn tour. We share a lot of memories and experiences together, so I have a lot of love and respect for Latrice.

I have a bit of nervousness and tension right now as to how crazy people out there will react to her eliminating me, and I hope maybe through this interview people know that I have the most love, and most respect, and no hard feelings for Latrice. That we share so many beautiful experiences, and have an incredible friendship. That will never come between me and her, and how we are in person, and I hope that my fans and my following understand that it's a competition, and that is my friend. Nobody should come for Latrice because she is always and still will be the Dearly Beloved of Drag Race.

That's really great, and you're keeping your Miss Congeniality mindset. I like that.

Thank you. Well, you know, I'd rather be Miss Fan Favorite than Miss Congeniality because Miss Congeniality is exhausting. Let's not forget that I am a diva, too.

A lot of Ru girls rush to release music right after the season they're on, and you have very solid singing voice, but you waited almost two years to release music, your song “A Prueba De Todo.” What took so long?

I really wanted to explore my voice, and I underwent vocal training. I have a long process of understanding what it's like to go to vocal training, and then to transition into record, what it's like to sing while recording -- it’s a total different kind of thing. It's like once you step foot in the studio, and singing with the headphones on, it's a different auditory experience. So that whole process, I'd rather be refined, and rehearsed, and really confident in what I'm doing, rather than just put out something, and just cackity cackity cackity cack. I really wanted something that was full of substance, something that really resonated with me and my story, and I really wanted to be confident in presenting something that I stood behind.

The message of “A Prueba De Todo” is beautiful. It really resonates with me and my life right now, and I think it resonates with a lot of my fans and my following -- people that have felt underestimated, or pushed down, or pushed out of the way, and can still make it through. As somebody that's been through a lot through this experience and through this career already, where my career has been wanting to pulled away from me, I kept going. And with your hair blowing in the wind, with your head held high -- even if the reality, or to other people it is a nightmare, your fantasy is your dream come true.

How did Drag Race prepare you for Rent: Live?

I think the preparation from Drag Race is more so about the platform. Drag Race gave me the platform to have a big following, and I'm so incredibly grateful to RuPaul's Drag Race for giving me the opportunity to live my dream, to be discovered by the talent agency that pulled me to audition for Fox's Rent: Live. I'm so grateful to that, and I will always remember myself, and the start of my career being with RuPaul's Drag Race, which I will eternally and always be so grateful for.

Out of the remaining six queens, who are you rooting for?

I am very close with Trinity. I love her. That is my good friend, but I'm rooting for them all, and wish them all the best of luck.

Would you return for another season of All Stars if you were asked?

It just depends on the circumstance, you know? What would that mean, and why would I return? For what reason, you know? For what reason? What would the check look like, or what would the real reason behind that be? Where would I be in that point in time with my career? I think I can't say. I can't speak about the future like that, because it has to actually happen.

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