Andrew Levitt as Andrew Levitt, being honored at the 2017 Human Rights Campaign Gala in Columbus. (Photo via Facebook)
Andrew Levitt as Nina West. (Photo by Staley Munroe)

Andrew Levitt, who created the drag character, says he’s going to focus on Nina full-time.


By Bob Vitale

It’s a big job being Nina West.

So Andrew Levitt, the Columbus resident who created the persona and built it into Ohio’s most beloved name in drag, is making a move to focus on full-time on his character.

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Levitt announced via Facebook this afternoon that he’s leaving his job as social media and promotions manager at Union Cafe and Axis to “dream big.”

“What initially started out as a hobby has become much more than I could have ever imagined. I am so grateful for that,” Levitt said. “As my commitment to ‘Nina West’ and to this community has grown larger, I have realized that now is the time to make a decision to leave my office position at Union and Axis, and begin to focus solely on Nina and the dreams I still have for her, and, in turn, for Columbus, and beyond.”

Levitt said he started working at Union and Axis in 2001 and worked his way up from a VJ and bartender to his current job. He thanked owner Rajesh Lahoti for “helping me dream even bigger.”

He promised in capital letters—”YES, I still will be at Union and Axis”—to continue as a show director and host at the Short North gay nightspots but said “it is time to take the office ‘hat’ away so that my wig can really fly.

“A new chapter is about to begin,” Levitt said.

Lahoti returned the love in comments shared with Prizm.

“Andrew Levitt and Nina West are both dear to me!” he said. “Most people see the force of nature called Nina West but don’t know that Andrew also diligently has been working full-time in an office doing social media among many of his magic tricks which include finding 30 hours in a day.”

“In my time developing real estate, doing bars and working as a consultant I’ve met a lot of people smarter than me but very very few that would work harder than me. Andrew is one of those amazing people that is both smarter and works 10 times harder than me, so he’s been an inspiration to our entire office. This move is amazing and will allow Nina/Andrew to to continue his international dominance and grow to new heights. I am always #TeamNina and supportive of this move. Andrew and Nina are family to me. I can’t wait to see what my sistah does next!”

Nina West’s new show, “The Wonderful World of Nina,” opens on Friday, April 20 at Axis and runs through Sunday, May 6.

Bob Vitale
A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, Bob has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.