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Dino Valentino: Reno Drag King

Cotton the Act was back on stage from, literally, breaking a leg. Dino Valentino was dressed and ready to perform that night at Splash. Dino and his boys were doing a Beatles lip sync cover of Twist and Shout.

Dino’s real name is Roberta and they are a pansexual, genderfluid drag king. They’ve never had to come out to their family, and their sister is also queer. Roberta’s mom knows that she performs, but has not yet been out to see Dino in action.

Their pronouns depend on the day or the outfit that they are wearing. One day, they wear heels and lashes and call themselves she, and the next day they bind with no makeup and prefer male pronouns. They prefer to be identified as male when in drag.

Roberta’s drag name came from loving Valentino’s hot sauce, and they decided to use the name that included their deep love of mouth burns.

Roberta started at 5-Star Saloon at an open mike under the inspiration and motivation of Cotton the Act, and Roberta immediately fell in love with drag and asked Cotton to be his drag dad. Dino Valentino has been performing in drag shows for one year.

Roberta Dino is a constantly changing canvas with a goth aesthetic. They consider themselves edgy and sexy but funny, too. They are inspired by Ash from Pokemon, Loki from Marvel and comic book-style face painting. They also love the look of old westerns, with leather dusters and leather hats. And, after seeing Shania Twampson with a glitter beard the night I saw them perform, mentioned that was next on their list of drag art to learn and master.

They are also inspired by Landon Cinder and King Crimson, both drag king influencers.

They have been performing about once per week since the world has opened up. Their day job is working as a teaching assistant for high school autistic kids and also being a single parent to two kids. The oldest is 11 and has taken an interest in the makeup and theatrics of drag.

Roberta said their favorite part of drag is getting out of their shell and building confidence. They love the Reno drag scene because of its di-fierce-ity. Reno drag has a lot of different skills and talents, professions and religions, colors and accents, and gender spectrums in the small community.

They will be performing at Winnemucca Pride this year. And look forward to more bookings and learning more makeup tricks. You can find them on instagram at itsdinovalentino.

Credit: Twitter #WinnemuccaPride tweet 10/31/21

Be sure to find #WinnemuccaPride on twitter and the Winnemucca LGBTQ+ Pride Festival page on Facebook to learn about all the upcoming enter-taint-ment to be announced for this year.

By Erica Pionke

Erica Pionke moved to Reno/Sparks, Nevada in March 2020 and is finally now getting out into the world and exploring all of its queer offerings with her hilarious and loving partner of 10 years, Debbie.

Erica is an avid outdoorsperson and a self-inflicted seeker of education. She works for the government, in realty, and has a history going back to her earlier years in law school, in real estate, zoning, and land management.

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