×

Rent Live's Valentina: Get to Know the Fox Musical's Scene-Stealing Angel

If you’re watching Fox’s “live” production of Rent, entranced by the Santa-suited firecracker playing Angel Dumott Schunard and desperate to know more, you’ve come to the right place.Valentina has been a household name on TVLine for years, so this introduction really is long overdue.

Valentina, who is gay and identifies as gender non-binary, rose to prominence in 2017 as a contestant on Season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, though her time on the show was cut short when she failed to memorize the lyrics to Ariana Grande’s “Greedy” as part of a lip sync battle. Valentina’s fellow queens weren’t her biggest fans, as they felt that she didn’t form a genuine connection with anyone, so they were even more furious when the viewers voted to bestow upon her the title of Miss Congeniality.

She returned to the franchise in late 2018 as a promising contestant on Season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, but her second shot at the crown fell short of everyone’s expectations. She was eliminated just two days ago after she and her teammate failed to impress the judges with the nightclub they designed for that episode’s challenge. (Being a drag queen is hard work, OK?)

One of the things that makes Valentina such a dynamic presence is her commitment to “the fantasy” as a means of overcoming adversity — or overcoming reality, in some cases. On the Jan. 18 episode of All Stars, she attempted to explain her unique thought process: “When it comes to me and living in my world and this little coconut head that I’ve got, it’s a lot of fantasies. And when I feel the fantasy, it is my reality, and no one can change that.” And who am I to tell her otherwise?

Hit PLAY on Valentina’s performance of “Today 4 U” above “I’ll Cover You” below, then drop a comment: What did you think of her performance as Angel?