Blonde sleek hair almost styled like a Bratz Doll. Incredibly long legs, an angelic voice. This is Pabllo Vittar. When Drag Queens used to be more of an underground phenomenon, Pabllo reached for new goals: She was nominated as the first-ever drag queen for the Grammys. In collaboration with Calvin Klein, we spoke with the Brazilian musician about Pride, her coming out experience, and the importance of brands in pride collaborations.
Pride is about being your authentic self. When did you start to come out?
I came out really really early. I actually started already when I was in school. I never really identified with the girls, but neither with the guys. Luckily, I discovered at some point the whole topic of gender fluidity, which finally gave me answers to the questions I had inside.
How was the coming out experience for you?
I was for sure very lucky. My family and friends had a very important role in my coming out, and the amount of support I received from them was just indescribable. I’m very happy to have them in my life.
What does it mean to you to be part of the LGBTQI+ Community?
It means the world to me. The LGBTQI+ Community allows me to belong to a group of people, that are all alike. Without them, I would never be where I am today. But, I still have to mention, that even in our beautiful community, I still discover a lot of hate. If and when we notice it, we have to stop it. We only have us and we shouldn’t discriminate against each other. This is something that’s very important to me and I try as much as possible to advocate for this on all given channels. People still need to learn that in LGBTQI+ there is not only the letter “G”. We have to embrace and acknowledge the full spectrum.
How do you celebrate Pride? What does it mean to you?
I’m just being myself on a daily basis because for me Pride is not on one day, it’s every day. And especially this year, because we cannot physically be out on the street and visible to the people, I’ve tried to focus on and study our past: to learn more about the people that are important to us, who opened the doors for us to be who we are. I’m very much aware of the fact that I never had to go on the streets and bleed for my rights. We are privileged when it comes to that. Let us remember people like Marsha P. Johnson that did that for us and helped to give us our voice.
You mentioned that Pride is not on one day. How can you celebrate it every day?
I’m trying to be my most unique and authentic self every day. That’s the thing many people ask me, like, how I can be so energetic all the time. But the answer to that is simple: I’m embracing myself! There is no one like me! There is no one like you.
You performed worldwide already at many Pride events. Which city do you find celebrates its queerness the most?
I am blessed to have the ability to travel around the world and celebrate with the community worldwide. Honestly, I’m always very amazed when I see how different each city celebrates their pride, so it’s hard to name one specific city. It’s so much better when you realize how diverse each pride and each city is, but they still hold the same values.
You started to get into music really early. When did the drag aspect come into play?
I actually started making music when I was only 5 years old. My mom would bring me to church where we would make really beautiful music. I got the possibility to sing and perform there. Later, the drag aspect came into it. I was a Halloween queen because I started doing drag when I was 18 at this Halloween party. I remember it so well because I was so nervous. A year after that party, I released my first song and things started to get bigger. When I look back at that time, it makes me really happy. The people that were with me when I performed for the first time, are still with me. They always believed in me.
Did drag give you the power to not only make music but also release it?
Yes, completely! The small-town gay boy that I was got so much power when he started to put on a wig…
Speaking about your roots, how is life as a queer body in Brazil?
That’s a good question, and actually it is very hard for me to respond to. The country is really big, and the disparities in it are very evident. I live in the South of Brazil, so my experience might not be like someone that lives in the North. But in general, it’s really hard to be queer. I think it’s even harder for our beautiful trans community. They are so marginalized and are not represented in their work and offerings, so one of the only ways to earn money for them is sex work. They are simply not regarded by society, or recognized by the government. They are totally invisible to the powers that exist that could help them. We have to think, that while we are talking, our fellow trans people are getting killed in the streets.
Time Magazine gave you the title as “Next Generation Leader”. Where do you wish to lead the new generation?
I am very humbled by the title the magazine gave me. Not gonna lie, sometimes it’s really hard for me to grasp the position and the reach that I have. As a leader, I would go back to what we have discussed earlier: knowing your past, knowing how we got here, and knowing who fought for us. I want this generation to be educated; to research all these things and to be aware that we can eradicate hate together, and push forward with love.
What advice would you give queer people that are worried to come out to their family?
If you are stuck with family members that don’t support your authentic self, it’s definitely very hard. My advice is to be patient and to be cautious with your actions with the people you’re surrounded by. But most importantly, try to look for a community. Look for a community that you’re able to identify yourself with. Look for a community with people that respect you. Look for a community that loves you for who you are and cherishes your unique existence. Even if it’s just an online group for now! Surround yourself with love.
Was there a Pop Diva that inspired you when you grew up?
I was in Public School in the early 2000s, so definitely Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Disney Characters (…): the list of gay icons is long! All the glitter and the fabulousity inspired me for sure. But I also looked up to many people that are really close to me: my friends, my family, even just people that cross the street. I try to acknowledge their fashion more as a statement, so it’s really important to me to represent myself through the clothes I’m wearing.
Who is your Gay Icon?
In Brazil, there sadly weren’t many Gay Icons. The queer people that were represented in television, they were only presented as either “the joker” or someone that you should make fun of. There was this show where they approached a gay man with the question “hey, make a joke!” which is a really weird experience, but it has happened to me as well. I am not your clown that makes you laugh whenever you want! Yes, we as gay people can be hilarious and we can be whatever we want, but that doesn’t define me as a jester. But, if I had to choose an Icon, I can only talk once again about these incredible female figures that I mentioned before, such as Beyoncé and Britney Spears. Those were the people that truly inspired me.
Many brands are now doing pride collections. You have collaborated with Calvin Klein for a while now, and the brand actually does a lot for the community, outside of Pride. What would you expect other brands to do in support?
It’s extremely important for brands who have a large platform and visibility, such as Calvin Klein, to get more involved- to look for talents, or even ordinary people, that have been marginalized for too long. It is necessary for brands to do that, and not only in June. For me, the CK Campaign is a yearly celebration and not only in the month of June. We queer bodies also have bills to pay and food to bring to the table, not just during this one month. I’m happy to have had the possibility to work for Calvin Klein for a while now, and the way they treat me is like the true Diva I am.
Complete the sentence: Pride is…
being who you are!