You remember it. You certainly do! It was 2017 and Valentina’s world exploded. The RuPaul’s Drag Race alum, who had been pretty successful up until then, was the subject of a “blind item” of sorts, when Aurora Sexton posted on Facebook about queens from the show’s ninth season who had some peculiar demands and work habits.
According to her, the accused “show up an hour late, demand a show be tailored to their desires or threaten cancellation, demand police protection, be rude or dismissive to the staff facilitating their visit, disappoint their fans by cutting off meet n greets or deciding not to perform, were incapable of dressing themselves thus making others work extra to kill time, demanding to be taken to multiple restaurants and sticking the driver with the bills, why are there no red m&ms and champagne in my room?”
In the post, she specified “this is not about one individual person either.” Some were quick to assume it was Valentina, she of the rose emoji with Nayasha Lopez going so far as to say it explicitly. “Most of us know you’re talking abotu Valentina,” she wrote. Others post about the incident as well and videos surface of Valentina declining a hug at a meet and greet. And though Sexton later clarified (again) that she was talking about multiple queens, and others like Brooke Lynn Hytes confirm that Valentina does not demand champagne and M&Ms or stick drivers with the bill, the damage was done. A scandal had erupted.
In a new interview, Valentina reveals that the incident marked a dark time in her life and career, one that she says, many artists have to go through.
“We’ve all had these moments where we climb too high and then they want to drag us to see if we’ll make it through,” she said on an episode of Hey Qween, likening her scandal to other stars like Cardi B. “And I think red M&Ms was that moment where everybody wanted to just like snatch my wig off, throw it off, and see if I would cry or if I would stand there and pose.”
At the time that it all went down, according to the queen she was booked every day. “Me and my manager, Jason King, were just filling up the calendar,” she said. Though King currently runs Kings & Queens entertainment, Valentina was one of the first queens he ever managed and was, partially, trial and error.
“It got to the point where I was no longer having any fun,” Valentina said. “By the time that I got to this gig in Nashville, Tenessee for PLAY I was exhausted. I was probably very short of words, not the sweetheart, not acting like Miss Congeniality. I was running late.”
While Valentina does admit that she is — and always has been — a stickler for doing meet and greets before performances and never after (“Catch me for a picture when I’m fresh,”) she maintains that many of the other allegations weren’t about her. But still, she bared the brunt of the criticism with her fans buying photos of her and ripping them up to send videos to the queen.
“Emotionally [I was] lost,” she said. “I’m very lost, I don’t know who I am, i don’t know what I’m doing any more.”
“I was being overworked and I didn’t know how to vocalize that,” she revealed. She was also seeing a lot of success in the mainstream, sitting front row at fashion shows, doing interviews with Andy Cohen, and having a cameo on America’s Next Top Model. “All these things were happening or me and I was smiling through it — when in doubt smile — but I was so unhappy inside.” That unhappiness turned into real issues for the performer.
“I started to have panic attacks, really go through it,” she said. “I became mentally unstable and unhappy. I just got to the point where I demanded that I have some time off.” To demand that time she would go to extreme lengths, lying and saying she came down with kidney stones, or threatening to those close to her that she would hurt herself if she didn’t get a break. But things are different now.
While she’s still flying high, Valentina and King have recalibrated her schedule in order to allow her the breaks she needs. But more than that she’s reconnected with her community of family and friends, which has helped to provide her with the love and stability she needs to push forward in her career.
Watch the full interview below.