‘The queen from Queens' Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appears on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’
Nina West may have gone home in sixth place on this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, but she definitely always had Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s vote. On Thursday’s Season 11 cast reunion, West got a special shout-out from AOC, a.k.a. the “queen from Queens,” in an Instagram video captioned “interrupting normal programming for #dragrace stanning.”
Ocasio-Cortez revealed that she was “so sad” that West went home early, and told West, “Just know how important you are to the bigger picture, and I’m so proud of you and your fundamental kindness and goodness. And I’m just really looking forward to watching you grow. You’re amazing, and I’m sad, but I’m excited for you.”
This wasn’t the first time that Ocasio-Cortez expressed her affection and respect for West on social media. During the week that West was eliminated, AOC tweeted, “In our house, we name a Queen of Hearts… that is YOU! Thank you for being a relentless example of kindness, consciousness, compassion, and courage. Thank you for using your gifts to focus on voices + issues that deserve all the shine and elevation in the world.” Ocasio-Cortez also tweeted an Out magazine article in which West discussed her philanthropy.
West (real name: Andrew Levitt) is an outspoken queer activist who grew up in a Republican family in Canton, Ohio, and now runs the Nina West Foundation to help organizations serving central Ohio LGBTQ youth and families (the foundation has raised $2.5 million for LGBT+ causes). West was deeply moved by AOC’s sweet words, replying at the time on Instagram: “I am really humbled by all of this love and support. Thank you [Ocasio-Cortez] for this amazing outpouring of love for me. But so much more, thank you for using your voice for all of us and fighting for all of us. I am so in awe of you, inspired by you, and hopefully one day, I will have the chance to thank you in person. I love you.”
On Thursday’s Drag Race reunion show, West told host RuPaul after watching the young congresswoman’s video, “As an activist and as someone who’s politically engaged, that was, I think, the greatest thing that could have come from this. This idea that someone like her a year ago was serving tables in a restaurant and she never have up on her dreams, and the fact that she even noticed me and celebrated me, and celebrates me, is tremendous.”
Ocasio-Cortez is a known Drag Race devotee. Along with her support for West, the “superfan” has expressed a desire to be a Drag Race guest judge. “It would be a dream of mine to be a guest. Maybe we'll reach out,” she posted earlier this year after watching an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4. “It's just so amazing and I'm just so thankful that we have a community that can celebrate each other and just find joy in each other and beauty in each other and uplift each other. … If you haven’t watched it, it’s one of the most amazing things ever.” She has also quoted All Stars 4 contestant Monique Hart on Twitter.
On Thursday’s Drag Race Season 11 penultimate episode, West expressed love not just for AOC but for RuPaul as well. “To have the impact that I’ve had on people, who’ve already seen the world and done tremendous things and had impact on me and the lives of millions of other people, is humbling and amazing. And it wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for you or for this show,” West told Ru. “The bravery that you lead with allows all of us to have a voice and to have strength in ourselves to continue this legacy. I hope you know how much it means to all of us.”
“Nina for President!” cheered fifth-place contestant Vanessa Vanjie Mateo.
The winner of Drag Race Season 11 — either Yvie Oddly, Silky Nutmeg Ganache, Brooke Lynn Hytes, or A’keria Davenport — will be crowned on May 30. But it looks like Nina West is already a winner, baby.