"I will always continue to choose kindness and positivity and lead with love," West exclusively tells EW of critics of the family-focused campaign.

By Joey Nolfi
June 01, 2021 at 04:19 PM EDT
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RuPaul's Drag Race Miss Congeniality winner Nina West is living up to her title as she defends her new LGBTQIA+ Pride campaign — created in collaboration with the animated Nickelodeon children's series Blue's Clues and You — from conservative critics.

West exclusively tells EW that "representation" and "inclusivity" matter most during Pride season, and that "LGBTQIA+ families deserve a safe space to raise their children and celebrate their individuality and grow without fear."

That sentiment, West feels, holds true even amid backlash against her video project with the kid-focused network — featuring an animated version of West leading a sing-along through the Blue's Clues Pride Parade starring nonbinary animal characters carrying intersectional Pride flags — which detractors have recently slammed for "flagrantly" pushing "gender confusion and sexualized themes" at children.

"What I love about my collaboration with Nickelodeon and Blue's Clues and You! is that we celebrate everyone that makes up our LGBTQIA+ community. It reminds us all that we are integral for the fight for equality," West says. "My job is to not only provide a space for celebration and fun but to reiterate, specifically to my community, that LGBTQIA+ are valid, worthy, and perfect the way they are. I will always continue to choose kindness and positivity and lead with love while educating people on LGBTQIA+ issues and equality. Happy Pride!"

Though many, including author Allie Beth Stuckey, have led an intense charge against the video online (Stuckey called it a "gross" social experiment using kids as "unconsenting subjects"), West, Nickelodeon, and Blue's Clues have received an influx of support from others on social media.

"For the first time in my 40 yrs as a non-binary/trans wheelchair user, I've seen myself represented. All it took was Blues Clues' pride video! One of the non-binary dolphins is using a power wheelchair and is a parent! That's me!" tweeted writer Dominick Evans, while entertainer Eugene Lee Yang said that it was "nice to see a little joy once in a while" and that the video "has more queer representation than anything else out there and it is melting my cold gay heart."

After winning Miss Congeniality on season 11 of RuPaul's Drag Race, West — a Columbus, Ohio -based activist who has raised millions of dollars for queer charities in the past — delved into several child-oriented endeavors, including her popular Story Time With Nina video series that aired digitally throughout 2020. She also lent her voice to the 2019 animated short Coaster, and is currently working on a children's variety show with Queer Eye's Bobby Berk.

Watch West's Blue's Clues Pride video above.

Subscribe to EW's BINGE podcast for full recaps of all 13 seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race, featuring exclusive interviews with the season 13 top four, Jaida Essence Hall, Trixie Mattel, Katya, Peppermint, Bianca Del Rio, Bob the Drag Queen, Sasha Velour, and more.

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