Daniel Anthony “Danny” Noriega, better known by his stage name Adore Delano, is an American drag musician who first came to fame as a contestant on the seventh season of American Idol in 2008. Since then, she’s maintained her spot in the limelight by making it to the top three on the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, releasing several albums, and, as of December 2019, joining the cast of season 4 of Ex on the Beach: Peak of Love. Find out more about the star with these ten facts.
1. She had some doubts about joining Ex on the Beach
Considering Ex on the Beach premises on the idea of cracking open the cast’s love lives for all to see, it’s not the obvious choice for someone who’s private about their dating life. For Delano, who’s been noticeably reticent about her love life up to now, it took some serious consideration before she agreed to sign up. “I am so private with my dating life that I didn’t know if I really wanted to do it,” she’s revealed on Heavy. “I didn’t know exactly what it was going to be, but I’m no stranger to this, so I had an idea. A celebrity winter dating show? I was like, ‘Hmmm. There’s no way that there’s no twist to this! There’s definitely a cinnamon twist.’ So, I was like, ‘Whatever. Even if it happens, I get along with all my exes!’”
2. She wants to inspire kids
While Delano has said her main hope for Ex on The Beach is to come away with a lifelong friend, she’s also hoping her appearance serves as an inspiration to others. “I hope that viewers take away that no matter what gender you identify as or what sexuality you are that you can join a dating show,” she shared with Entertainment Weekly. “I remember being a little kid and never seeing someone like Demi or myself on a show like this – and with such confidence. Even when I was insecure [on the show], I would go into the bathroom and be like, there are kids watching this. Even though we’re being crazy, I want them to know, “You’re a part of society too! And your gender is valid.”
3. She identifies as non-binary
Although Delano came out as gay at the age of 12, she’s since said in interviews she’s not averse to dating members of either sex. Delano identifies as non-binary, telling Billboard “gender isn’t a real thing… it’s just something they came up with to categorize and control people”.
4. She’s released three albums
To date, Delano has released three studio albums, thirteen singles, one promotional single, and eleven music videos. Her debut studio album, Till Death Do Us Party, was released not long after she rose to fame on RuPaul’s Drag Race. The album did phenomenally well, debuting at No. 3 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart and at No. 59 on the Billboard 200. Following on from the success of her debut, she released the guitar-heavy After Party in 2016, and her third album, Whatever, in 2017.
5. She’s faced legal issues
The rise to fame can sometimes be challenging, and in Delano’s case, it’s been speckled with legal issues. In April 2017, Delano took her former management company, Producer Entertainment Group, to court after alleging that of the $2.5 million she’d earned over the previous three years, she’d only ever seen $300,000 in actual payment. In January 2018, the company fired back, launching a countersuit against Delano over $180,000 in unpaid management fees.
6. She voluntarily quit RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 2
After making her name on season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Delano made her dramatic return to the franchise in August 2016 in RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 2. After receiving fierce criticism from both regular judge Michelle Visage and guest judge Raven SymonÃ© in the first episode, Delano left the show voluntarily in episode 2, becoming the first-ever contestant in both series to do so.
7. Her first stage name was Violet Valentine
Before she was Adore, she was Violet Valentine, a name she would liberally spray paint around the city in her younger days. After making her drag debut as Violet, she eventually decided to change it to Adore Delano after researching demonic child names and fixing on Delano as her favorite.
8. She’s appeared in a Taylor Swift video
As well as appearing in her own videos, Delano can claim to have featured in a video with one of the most popular pop princesses of the last decade. In June 2019, she joined the likes of Dexter Mayfield, YouTuber Hannah Hart, Laverne Cox, Chester Lockhart, Todrick Hall, Hayley Kiyoko, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, lawyer Justin Mikita, Ciara, Netflix series Queer Eye’s Fab Five (Tan France, Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Antoni Porowski, Jonathan Van Ness), figure skater Adam Rippon, Adam Lambert, and Ellen DeGeneres on Taylor Swift’s Grammy-nominated music video to You Need to Calm Down.
9. Music has always been a solace
While Delano may have faced criticism on Ru Paul’s Drag Race for being a “sloppy queen”, no one could deny her musical talent or vocal skills. Music has always been a conciliation to Delano, as she shared during an interview with the Bubble. “I can remember being as young as 12 years old writing music that made no sense, but it made me feel better about myself,” she said. “There was no language for what I was feeling as a kid. I grew up in a predominantly Latino, Hispanic community that was masculine driven. It was just a really confusing time in my life. And music provided an outlet. Some people find an escape in poetry, but I would find it in making sounds.”
10. She’s watched every single episode of Ex on the Beach
There’s being prepared, and then there’s being prepared. When it came to getting ready for Ex on the Beach, Delano left no stone unturned in making sure she was ready for whatever the show had to throw at her. As well as watching every episode of the US series, she even watched the UK version. “I was so hip to it because I was just so nervous,” she told ET. “You have to, you know? You have to know what you’re walking into – so you can start swinging before they do.”