There’s no question: “Valentina” was the name on every RuPaul’s Drag Race fan’s lips this season (even if those lips were covered). Now that the season has wrapped, the L.A.-based drag queen has made it clear that she intends to use her platform to be an ambassador for the Latin community.
“I need to shed light on the Latin community because in my eyes, it’s the most beautiful music and it’s the most beautiful culture,” Valentina told Billboard. “And I really want people that have a negative idea of it, due to the political climate, to look past it and see the beauty in Latin excellence.”
As part of our 30 Days of Pride initiative, we asked Valentina which Latin artists her fans needed to know about. Check out her selections — and her reaction to Gloria Trevi’s love letter to the LGBTQ community — below.
My ultimate, ultimate favorite is Juan Gabriel. He composes, writes the lyrics, knows his music inside out. An amazing, amazing artist that recently passed away while I was filming Drag Race. Some of my favorites are “Amor Eterno,” “Hasta Te Que Conocí,” “Costumbres” and “Así Fue.”
It’s a bit controversial because he was never really fully out. People just knew through his aura. He never really had to say it. And that’s the power of being a star. He had so much control of his life, and kind of for the gays was this representation with never really having to say it and that is so powerful. And he was just his genuine, flamboyant self through everything that he did. Through being emotional, through being flamboyant, through the things that he wore, and was a total star. And I’m so, so disappointed that he passed away so soon because through what I was doing I was hoping that I would get to meet him.
Yma Sumac is a beautiful, Peruvian soprano. She was born in the mountains of Machu Picchu. Something about the elevation made her lung capacity be able to sing such ridiculously high and low notes. I really love “Gopher Mambo.”
I absolutely love and adore her. She’s a Spanish actress and singer that was loved and embraced by Juan Gabriel and brought to Mexico and became a Latin sensation. I really love “La Gata Bajo La Lluvia.” I love “Amor Eterno.”
Absolutely love, love, love and adore her. I love “Así Fue,” “Buenos Dias Tristeza.” I love so many of her songs.
“Así Fue” was composed by Juan Gabriel for Isabel Pantoja. It’s a performance that has given me lots of opportunities. I’ve been discovered by a lot of people within Latin America and have gotten the acknowledgement from my Spanish friends from Spain. And just shedding light to beautiful, classic music that is, you know, not the trash of pop music today.
And more modern times, someone that I really love and adore. Her body of work is very modern. She’s kind of like a Latina Barbie. I love Thalía. I really, really, really love “Entre el Mar y Una Estrella,” “Amor a la Mexicana” and “Mujer Latina.”
We also asked the Latina queen about Gloria Trevi’s love letter to the LGBTQ community, which was penned in Spanish: “It’s unapologetically, authentically her native language, and she’s shedding light to that. It’s almost as if she’s saying, ‘I want people that can’t understand it to find a way to understand.’ The romanticism of the Spanish language doesn’t translate to English because Spanish language can be very poetic,” said Valentina. “So in part that’s kind of why I do my performances in Spanish. They have this extra telenovela beauty and emotions.”