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grand marshal

On Thursday, May 9, 2019, Nina West was named “The

Giving back and uplifting those unable to lift

Pride of Season 11” on RuPaul’s Drag Race, however

themselves is something he was taught at a young

she has been The Pride of Columbus for much, much

age. Through the tradition of the collection

longer. Nina West, a persona brought to life by

of tips for charity during the encore, the West

Andrew Levitt, has graced the Columbus Drag seen

Family shows began raising money for charities

for nearly two decades. She is best known for her

and organizations having a direct impact on the

amazing theatrical performances, unparalleled

quality of life for the LGBTQ+ community. “The

comedy, and deep love for the community second

more I did it the more I found the power of what

to no one. Stonewall Columbus can think of no

I was doing,” says Andrew. The Family would take

one more perfect to serve as the 2019 Stonewall

the crumpled dollar bills and stuff them into

Columbus Pride parade & Festival Grand Marshal.

shoeboxes and trash bags to hand to the charity

Andrew Levitt began drag as what he called a “one-time thing” for an end of the semester event

representatives after the show. These funds averaged about $1,500 each performance.

at his school, Denison University. After school let

As drag became increasingly mainstream, Nina and

out Andrew turned to his soon-to-be Drag Mother

her drag family’s popularity continued to grow.

Virginia West. What followed was a few shows

The idea that drag queens could legitimately

to earn a little extra cash. Little did Andrew

fundraise became more and more possible and even

know, Nina West would grow into everything he

welcomed. In 2015, Andrew Levitt created “The Nina

had ever dreamed.

West Fund” at The Columbus Foundation. The fund

As Nina West grew in popularity, Andrew knew he wanted to stay true to his values. His desire to use drag as a platform from which to

has helped support Kaleidoscope Youth Center, Ronald McDonald House, Equitas Health, Planned Parenthood, Family Pride Network, and the ACLU.

instigate, implement, and support change

Nina West has been bringing Columbus, OHio joy and

and progress within our community was

laughter for nearly twenty years. While she may

at the forefront. “This was during the Bush

not be just a Columbus celebrity anymore - she is

administration, Defense of Marriage Act, Don’t

still our Super Star. Congratulations Andrew on

Ask, Don’t Tell. I wanted to know why wasn’t

all of your accomplishments. Your city is proud

anyone talking about these things in a night club,”

of you, your community loves you, and now the

Andrew said. “People were being talked at about

nation is in awe of you!

important topics instead of being talked with.” this inspired Andrew’s mission to make genuine connections and engage with the community on a greater level.

e vis i t r o m n r T o lea

m o c . t s e w n i na 2019 PRIDE GUIDE | 27

Profile for Stonewall Columbus

The Official 2019 Stonewall Columbus Pride Guide  

Pride Guide for the 38th Annual Stonewall Columbus Festival and Parade. The event takes place June 14-16, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. For more i...

The Official 2019 Stonewall Columbus Pride Guide  

Pride Guide for the 38th Annual Stonewall Columbus Festival and Parade. The event takes place June 14-16, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. For more i...