The iconic Leiomy Maldonado knows that VR is the future.

Meta‘s campaign, “It’s Your World,” calls for the next generation to connect to their passion and pave their path on their terms. The campaign recruited a bold collective of creators equipped with their latest products to ignite honest conversations about AI and mixed reality, and the ballroom icon, model and activist was one the creators who stormed the streets of New York City representing a range of industries and cultures. 

The Bronx native’s work as a dancer and model has made her a trendsetter in the LGBTQ+ community. Her love for voguing and Ballroom was ignited when she was a young teen after a teacher introduced her through a videotape of a local event. Her consistent presence and creativity secured her spots working in mainstream media as a choreographer, a cast member on FX’s Pose, and a fan-favorite judge on HBO Max’s Legendary. 

While Ballroom culture has remerged into pop culture, making its way onto worldwide stages, the individuals in which it originated haven’t always received the acknowledgment. 

“Ballroom was an inspiration to so many, but the fact that people didn’t know about it, people were getting away with being able to steal from it,” she said.

Maldonado advocates for the art form and the community with her large platform to counteract the “culture vultures” of the past who have profited from the Ballroom culture and community without knowing the history. 

Photo: Fred Daniels III

She became a brain trust partner for the Metaverse Culture Series through her efforts. In 2022, she participated in the company’s “Dream House” in Horizon Worlds, along with celebrity stylist Law Roach and activist Dr. David. Jobs.

The VR universe allowed users to engage with other influencers and members of the community virtually. They were able to create a safe space regardless of their location.

The tech company’s initiative behind virtual inclusion was an excellent incentive for Maldonano to continue her relationship with them. They’ve also intoduced  Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses where you can live stream from the glasses to Facebook or Instagram.

Photo: Fred Daniels III

Maldoano favored the smart glasses because of the ability to create content on the go alongside her followers.

“It’s literally like you’re there. And that’s changes a lot of experiences for people,” said the self-proclaimed “techie.”

She added, “When it comes to the VR world, it creates so many different worlds, and you can make your own. It creates so many different spaces, especially for queer people, where as opposed to a lot of times, queer people are afraid to go outside and just be seen.”

Being an advocate in any form is vital for Maldoano, especially in the virtual space, as it is the world of the future.

She stated, “It’s always important to have someone be a face for any campaign when it comes to genuine energy and really touching people outside of branding….I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for a lot of people.”