Meet Pabllo Vittar: Major Lazer's Favorite Brazilian Drag Queen
Just like Americans pick a summer song, Brazilians choose the hit from Carnival -- usually a catchy song, with a great choreography, sang by everyone during the most colorful holiday of the country.
Axé music and funk music already had their shots. In 2017, there was no competition: The outrageous pop song “Todo Dia,” a collaboration between the drag queen Pabllo Vittar and Rico Dalasam, was heard everywhere.
Pabllo's success caught the attention of Diplo and Major Lazer, and she was invited to record the song “Sua Cara” with Brazilian pop star Anitta, which is part of the group’s EP Know No Better, released June 1.
Pabllo Vittar released her first album, Vai Passar Mal, in the beginning of 2017 and got attention from the music specialists and the public with her distinguished vocals and catchy songs. But it was a long road before becoming famous.
“On my 18th birthday, I started to do drag for real. It was just for fun at first; I used to play dress up. I evolved a lot until I found the aesthetic I like," Pabllo remembers.
It was through an ex-boyfriend that she had the first contact with the reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race and discovered a new drag world.
With the support from her family and friends -- her mom would help her with the make up, her sisters would see her performances -- Pabllo started to make videos for the Internet, singing covers, and doing performances in parties when she was discovered by producer Rodrigo Gorky (Bonde do Rolê), who invited her to record a demo.
“I never thought I’d make an album with my own songs. Gorky embraced my ideas to bring my personality into the album," she says about Vai Passar Mal, an album with a mix made by specific Brazilian rhythms from different states of the country.
It took them one year to produce the album, but it was worth it. All of the 10 tracks have surpassed the 1 million streams mark on Spotify. Pabllo sees the importance of having a drag queen on the most-played chart, so others can feel represented.
“The drag art is growing. We have drags on ads, tv shows, novelas, movies. People now have more access to knowledge about it and less prejudice," Pabllo said. "I get a lot of messages. The community is changing the image of what drags used to be related to, that all we do is party. We help causes. They tell me I inspired them, but knowing it inspires me. I dropped out of college to follow this dream. We don’t have more time to wait, we have to make a statement and ask for our rights and for respect."
Even though drag queens and transgender women have found more space in the media recently, Pabllo understands that some people are still confused. Recently, the drag was called a woman by Playboy magazine, and it was all over the Internet.
“I thought it was beautiful. I thanked them. Having a drag on Playboy is a form of representation," she says. "If I offended trans women, I apologize. I am a man, gay, gender fluid, drag. I don’t like to label myself. Never considered myself trans. If people don’t understand, I can explain. I don’t act all crazy."