Beauty & Fashion

Kim Petras Has the Range — Interview

Content note: This story contains a mention of suicide ideation.

Few singers have a more varied stable of alter-egos as Kim Petras: Y2K Beverly Hills bimbo; French supermodel; mother dominatrix; vintage movie starlet; vampiress of the night… The 31-year-old German singer has channeled countless “characters” throughout her career, each of them their own elaborate performance piece about the power of transformation.

Fashion, wigs, and—maybe most importantly—makeup have been instrumental to each of these personas, as she’ll tell you herself. But that appreciation runs even deeper for Petras, arguably one of the most famous transgender people in the world right now, who says she’s used beauty products as a gender-affirming tool all of her life.

It’s kismet, in many ways, that Petras has landed one of the beauty industry’s and the LGBTQ+ community’s highest honors: the starring spot in MAC’s Viva Glam campaign, which aims to raise money and awareness for queer and trans issues annually via a collaborative, limited-edition lipstick shade. Petras talked with Allure about growing up surrounded by makeup, the products she can’t live without, what’s in store for her next character… Oh, and her candid thoughts on TikTok’s viral “gay pop” debate.

Allure: You’ve used makeup to transform into various “characters” throughout your career. What are your earliest memories of playing with makeup?

Kim Petras: My mom used MAC eye shadow religiously and always had it in her kit, and I would steal it and get in trouble for wearing it. Your mom’s makeup bag is such a magical place when you’re little. [Makeup] affirmed how I felt on the inside when I was a child and a teenager. I remember getting really into lipsticks when the nude lip was everything. I got really into setting spray; it sort of became my thing. I always had it with me. I would always spray it on myself every five minutes and at school breaks. I was not a cool kid, so I would sit in the corner and listen to music and spray my Fix+ every two minutes. It’s a core memory for me; the smell of that, to this day, won’t leave me.

[Makeup] was just fun, like painting. Then, later, I wore makeup all the time to let people know who I am. I think all that’s really important and beautiful.

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