'RuPaul's Drag Race' Star Valentina Hopes Latino Community Is Proud Of Her 'Rent' Performance

Photo Courtesy of FOX

Valentina may have been eliminated from RuPaul's Drag Race, but she's not done with Hollywood. Not by a long shot.

The California-born beauty of Mexican descent will perform in Fox's Rent: Live on Sunday night, a live version of the popular Broadway musical written by Jonathan Larson. Valentina will play the role of Angel Dumott Schunard, an HIV-positive, New York City drag queen.

"Playing Angel has been the biggest artistic challenge of my life," Valentina told Latina.com. "I am learning so much! There are so many moving pieces to playing this role at once: singing, acting, dancing, quick changes, working with cameras, and lighting cues.

There’s so much that I’ve taken on with this project and it’s the biggest challenge I’ve ever taken on, professionally. It’s also the most exciting thing I’ve ever done, as well. I feel so blessed."

Valentina, born James Andrew Leyva, hopes that she can inspire others watching at home to reach for the stars. Not only that, but she hopes that Latinos watching her performance at home feel proud of the hard work she's put into this role.

I don’t use my platform politically, to be honest, because I feel like my form of activism is through example and visibility," she explained. As a triple minority--- Latino, gay, and non-binary--- I feel like I can give people hope.

I want other Latinos to feel like they can land roles like this too. Especially others who, like me, didn’t come from much can also achieve their dreams. In my life, there have been things that have held me back, so I understand.

I hope people in the Latino community can feel like this is a proud moment for us. I hope that I make them proud when I play Angel."

Spending so many hours on set, Valentina admits it was easy to bond with co-star Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Tom Collins in the musical. 

"I’ve bonded while working with Brandon, my love interest in the musical," she said. "He’s so sweet and I love him dearly. I’m so lucky to be working alongside him, he’s such a professional in everything he does.

Not only that, but he has a huge heart and he’s a talented singer. Most importantly, he challenges me every day to be a better person while holding my hand through everything."

She added, "[Tonight], audiences can expect to laugh and cry, fall in love with great music, and amazing chemistry between this cast."