10 THINGS I CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT
Nina West, the drag persona of Andrew Levitt, has grown into a legendary figure. Rising to national celebrity after appearing on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Andrew skillfully parlayed Nina’s prominence into a Columbus community asset by diving wholeheartedly into activism and philanthropy. He’s done thousands of shows, participates in hundreds of appearances each year, and has given generously in time, talent, and treasure to the community. In 2015, Andrew established The Nina West Fund at The Columbus Foundation to support local nonprofits that provide services for the LGBTQ community, including Kaleidoscope Youth Center, Make-A-Wish, and Dress For Success Columbus.
Andrew’s current collaborations include an educational and awareness initiative with The Buckeye Ranch aimed at supporting the mental well-being of LGBTQ+ youth and offering resources for families. Together, Andrew and The Buckeye Ranch hope to help youth, regardless of their sexuality and gender identity, live safe and rewarding lives. For more information about the initiative and LGBTQ+ resources, please visit buckeyeranch.org.
1. My dogs. I cannot imagine my life without my two pups, Edgar and Felicity. They are so loyal, stubborn, and just the best reason to get out of bed every morning.
2. An iced coffee. Speaking of rolling out of bed every morning, I can't seem to begin to function until I have a giant iced coffee in the morning.
3. My family. They have given me so much in so many different ways, challenging and nurturing me into the person I am today. I am grateful to have their love and support. It has not always been an easy road. Many LGBTQIA+ people have hurdles to navigate in our family lives that are different than those of our heterosexual counterparts. I am grateful to continue to grow in a strong relationship with my parents and sisters and their families, and to have been given the chance to welcome them into my wonderful world as well.
4. My friends. A very strong circle of friends keeps me balanced and laughing during all of life's ups and downs, and let me tell ya, I have been on quite a roller coaster these last few years. My friends have held my hands, allowed me to bend their ears, celebrate their triumphs, or just dish on the latest binge-worthy tv show. They are my chosen family; and I am so glad they chose me.
5. Index cards. I am constantly thinking, dreaming and creating, and I struggle to turn off my brain. A system that works for me and my creativity involves index cards...suffice it to say, I usually have them on me at all times,for the next great idea or even to write down where I put my car keys.
6. A good Disney sing along. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love Disney. Maybe you are even rolling your eyes...but trust me...no one can resist "Hakuna Matata" or even "Let it Go". Disney songs just make a day infinitely better.
7. Pizza. It is my favorite food. I just love pizza.
8. My community. I really love this city, and there is a reason why I call it home....because it is my home. We are the heart of it all.
9. My journal. I need to write down thoughts and keep track of my dreams, goals, and challenges. Journaling is my way to stay focused and connected and present.
10. Therapy. Mental health has been pushed to the forefront for me especially now. I think you need to tune it, take care of it, and reset your mind to keep it in pique shape. It is vital to my stability and well-being.