Stage Name: Valencia Prime
Whether she is on or off the stage, Valencia Prime always puts a smile on your face. She will twirl and give you the splits, the lip sync, and after her performance she will come give you the biggest hug like she’s your momma.
Valencia Prime is a self-described, “show stopping plus size dancing diva,” adding that she is “the big girl that can do it and I hope it inspires the next generation of drag.”
Valencia has been performing for about four and a half years. Her first performance was at L’Etage where she performed What About Us by Brandy.
Valencia always knew she was going to be Valencia. “Here’s the story on that,” Valencia said during our interview. “In my heart, I always knew I was going to be Valencia, and I started my transition in 2014. At first my mom was a little skeptical, but she said if you’re happy then let’s do it.”
Then Valencia’s name came from her sister. “I was nine years old. And I remember my mom would play a lot of music. We would dance and what not,and then she would gather the family around and I would dance in front of the family. And the Name came from my sister Athena. She came up with the name beause we would play this game on the internet called ‘Adventure Quest‘, and there was this crazy looking character with purple hair, and that worked.”
At home and off the stage, Valencia lives the family life. Valencia is married and raising three kids with her husband. She was wed last year, and she has been with her husband for ten years. She lovingly referred to their children as her “three little disasters”, and she has been in their lives since the day they were born. All three children came from Valencia’s husband, and the mother of their children is one of her closest friends. Between the marriage, her three kids, and working two jobs, Valencia told me that “sleep has become a figment of my imagination”.
Valencia began her drag career on her own, stating she was a “drag orphan”-meaning she did not have a drag mother to show her the ropes, makeup tips and all that comes with the journey of becoming a drag queen. And while taking this journey on one’s own could very easily discourage most queens, Valencia powered through her struggle and has since joined the other Philly queens on the scene-as well as becoming a member of the Philly Drag Mafia.
For many drag performers, the issue of size comes to mind. Valencia will tell you that
she has had a lot of people (other entertainers included) who have told her that she is “too big to dance the way that I do and perform the way that I do.” “I’ve been told so many times i should quit,” Valencia said, “and I should do slow songs because they’re better suited for big girls. I finally realized my worth when I did a show called Drag-A-Rama and normally I have a standing ovation, but there was a specific woman in the crowd who I heard tell her friends ‘Get your phone out and tip this girl because she’s about to give us one hell of a show.’ Just hearing that gave me all the confirmation I needed.”
Beside being a regularly booked queen of the scene, Valencia works two jobs-job one is being a Morale Coordinator for PowerCorps PHL, and the other is working as a home health aide for her grandmother.
Valencia may have come to life without a drag mother, but she has had many influences on her career path in the drag world: “Lisa Lisa, Tina Montgomery Karen Vonsay, Sapphira Cristal, Dalyla Mizani Cristal, Aloe Vera, Lady Geisha, Fanci Dismount, Iris Spectre, Brittany Lynn, Sir Donyx Diva Luvsit, Raven Samore, Satine Harlow and finally my baby Brooklyn Ford. These incredible entertainers have come into my life and molded me into the person I am today in and out of Drag.” Valencia said.
When asked about her gigs, specifically her favorite gig, Valencia said, “My favorite gig is actually a tie between a show I was a part of at Tabu called Terrible People and the cast that night was Aloe Vera, Brooklyn Ford, Lady Geisha, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Dalyla Mizani Cristal and myself, and we had so much fun-we made so much money-we had a packed crowd, and all of it was incredible. And I’m leaning more towards the Manayunk Pride event because I looove Pride. I love how it brings families together, and different communities all come out to watch. We had an amazing time and I honestly didn’t want it to end-and I’m praying i can be a part of it again next year.” (*Editor’s note to Valencia: I know the girl that runs the event, I’m sure she can get you back in next year lol…)
Pre-quarantine and covid, Valencia could be seen performing at Tabu and JocksPHL. “I have a new show there that I host every Monday night called PrimeTime where I give three new up and coming entertainers a platform to shine and showcase their talents. So far it’s been amazing because these newcomers are powerhouses. It’s mind-blowing watching them work. I would also like to expand more and perform at different shows.” Valencia said.
Valencia also added that her main goals in being a drag artist were to just be on stage and entertain the masses. “I don’t care if I’m paid or not- if i can make good tips then i’m totally down for that.” (*Editor’s note: Trust me, when Valencia works with the family-SHE GETS PAID HUNNY…)
When asked for three words to describe her drag persona, Valencia replied with “hood, humble, and respectful.” Trust that after having any conversation with Valencia, you know that you are dealing with an old soul, and that SHE GETS IT. Valencia can totally see through the drag bullshit, the drama, and doesn’t just follow the pack. She is smart, makes her own choices, and is not easily swayed by the rumor mills-aka the typical facebook statuses that yearn for attention in the Philly performance scene. Valencia thrives by being herself, and lives off of the energy of the crowds. “I love seeing everyone gagging over my performance. I love seeing the crowd go wild when I jump off the stage into my death drop. I love that they just enjoy Valencia Prime as an experience.” she said.
On the opposite side, Valencia mentions her least favorite thing about performing is, “having to go pee when you’re padded and have on 4 pairs of tights,” adding that her most embarrassing moment on stage was running face first into a wall while performing, because she did not sleep for 2 days.
With what little down time Valencia has, she helps her Aunt design, decorate, and plan weddings. She also loves watching what she calls “my ratchet tv shows like Love and Hip Hop and Bad Girls Club…it speaks to my soul.”
For now, things are on hold for Valencia as far as performing goes, with the pandemic and city restrictions in the Philly bar scene. “This pandemic is a clear indicator that the universe does not like me,” Valencia told me. “I say that because I had a show at a bar called WERK-the show was a hit the first night, we made great sales for the bar and killed it. The next time we were gonna do the show Covid came along and killed those plans along with my birthday. Now that I’ve started PrimeTime we’re doing good and all of the sudden we’re back on lockdown.”
Don’t worry though kids-Valencia is just getting started. Not only with us in the Philly Drag Mafia, but in her own right as well. You can’t stop a force of nature, and Valencia is just that-an unstoppable force. And we are lucky to have her in “the family”.
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