Called “Vonder Woman of Vogue,” Leiomy Maldonado boasts an impressive resume of collaborations with the likes of Willow Smith and Icona Pop. You may also have found out she was one of the judges of the competition HBO Max Shows “Legend”, a dance competition inspired by the world of dance. Ten houses compete against each other in weekly trending battles, with a different theme guiding each episode.
For the 35-year-old Bronx-born dancer, the experience of being on the show was both fun and fulfilling. She has long wanted an opportunity for dance culture to “be celebrated and showcased on a stage of such magnitude.”
Maldonado told POPSUGAR: “Because it’s something I’m a part of, that’s very important to me. “I’ve heard from so many different people [about] how they learned to accept their siblings, or how they learned to accept their children, and learned to accept or understand the LGBT community a little more. For me, that is success. “
Maldonado first met vognding at the Boys & Girls Club in her native Bronx through someone who eventually became her first transgender mentor. She was captivated by the art form and was eager to learn more. A few days later, when they met again, she was given a VHS tape.
Maldonado recalls: “I went home and put it in the VCR. “I was automatically pulled into a wonderland that was basically a ballroom. Then I started doing LGBTQ+ shows after school. And I met other voguers there. And from there , I was introduced to my first home.”
In 2003, she played her first ball and was “cut down,” as she puts it, though the experience only fueled her passion for the game more. She said: “I was so excited to go out there and showcase what I had learned, and once I got slashed, for me it was like a ‘oh, well’ thing. “I don’t expect to do well anyway, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to be more competitive and back there.”
Maldonado seems to have a penchant for jumping into the unknown. She recently joined a group of LGBTQ+ community leaders, including Roach’s Law and Tess Holliday, in a group discussion for the Metaverse Cultural Series “Dream House.” They discuss identities, chosen families, safety, and culture in the metaverse.
Earlier, POPSUGAR joined Maldonado in the metaverse to chat about how to dress up, prepare for summer adventures, and all the lessons life has taught her.