Last week you may have heard the real winner and only infamous contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race Valentina make the claim that she is like Selena at the show’s reunion. The cast was GAGGED. The viewers were SHAKING. And white twinks everywhere were busy making shirts for RedBubble.
It was quite the controversial, if not delusional, statement for Valentina to make but it got her attention and I’m writing about it now so props to her. But for credibility’s take, let’s see just how much Valentina relates to Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla who was tragically murdered in 1995 at the age of 23.
Last night I watched Selena’s terrific concert ominously titled “The Last Concert” on Tidal (it is truly worth the watch) and I couldn’t help but wonder how her energy translated to Latinx stars today. Valentina surely has the camp and magnetic energy that Selena possessed. Both have incredibly iconic fashion sense. Fans have claimed that Valentina exaggerates her heritage (like praying with her candles on the show) to come across as an over the top Telenova character. While she’s successful at this, I also think there’s no denying that she has more of an ego on display than Selena ever did. Valentina has been in this game for 4 months but Selena is still being talked about 22 years after her death. Give yourself a year of relevancy before you come for a legend. (Maybe Selena Gomez is a better target)
Let’s not forget that Selena has a track record where Valnetina does not. Sure, she pulled a stunt and got sent home on Drag Race. That was memorable. But the lip-synch itself was nothing incredible. Sasha Valour wiped the floor with most of those bitches when she performed at the finale and I would like to see Val come at her performance with that amount of intensity. One thing Selena did NOT fuck around with was her performance. She was energetic, she was engaged, and she served more than a look. In order for Val to reach an iconic level that does not become one note she needs to deliver on performances. People wouldn’t be talking about Selena two decades later if she hadn’t given some of the most powerful performances with songs like “I Could Fall in Love” or (my personal favorite) “Bidi Bidi Bon Bon”.
Selena was also multi-talented in ways Valentina will need to prove herself in. Selena owned two boutiques and had begun designing her own fashion line. She was turning her business ventures into profits. In 1993 and 1994 Selena was named one of the top 20 wealthiest Hispanic musicians. She made her film debut in a cameo alongside Faye Dunaway, Johnny Depp and Marlon Brando. And she was transitioning to recording her music English for a wider crossover appeal. At the time of her death Selena was considered “bigger than Tejano” itself.
All of these accomplishments considered it seems extremely nearsighted for Valentina to consider herself close to touching Selena’s legacy.
Of course, Valentina can clinch this. She has a knack for saying statements that are quotable and rebloggable. She already has the support of Vogue who tapped her to do a beauty guru video and she has legion of fans who are rabid about her. She can coast on this success if she wants to. Or she can truly assassinate every bitter queen left from season 9 and become a true household name. In order to do this though she’s going to have to deliver. She’s going to have to act. She’s going to have to try VERY HARD. And she’s going to need do more than serve a half baked album for a quick coin like most contestants do.
What I personally like about Valnetina though – which I think should be used to her advantage – is her etherealness. Her exit interview on Untucked was truly heartbreaking and magical. She seemed out of this world, untouchable. I want to see more of this but I want to see it onstage. Cockiness is great offstage, but it is even better onstage.
Plenty of queens have gained the notoriety Valentina has but very few of them have kept the momentum. At this moment she is known for appearing on a reality TV show. What she and her fans will do best to remember is controversy only lasts for so long. In a year a new queen will come along to say some ridiculous things, do some bullshit on stage and get sent home leaving behind a legacy that is yearning to be exploited. Act quick, Val. Selena is still untouchable. But you have a moment to make your mark.