The Life and Times of Pabllo Vittar

Enter the fantasy of Brazil’s unstoppable crossover ahead of her single, “Flash Pose,” featuring Charli XCX.

The Brazilian invasion has begun, its glamorous figurehead the drag-queen-turned-pop-phenom Pabllo Vittar. While her gender-agnostic moniker, increasingly clocked by American pop, belies her extravagant, Barbarella-like presentation, gender soon becomes secondary to a talent as irresistible as Vittar’s. Born Phabullo da Silva in Brazil’s northeast, Vittar (who uses pronouns fluidly) cut a megawatt figure even as a young chorister in church—preempting religious or societal scorn with inborn resiliency: Her mantra, Vittar tells us via translator, is, “If you don’t like me or don’t like what I do, that’s your problem and not mine. I just keep going.” That go-go attitude has seemingly carried over from youth; Vittar’s entree to dance, she says, was her hazardous zeal in more typically masculine pursuits: “I took kung fu when I was young, and I [practiced so hard] that I broke my toes,” she recalls. “So my mother took me off the kung fu, and then I started doing ballet and jazz.”

However arresting on the surface, Vittar’s highlighter-hued style—captured here by photographer Augusto Silva Alliegro—is deeply rooted. Citing anime and comics as formative to her visual persuasion, she brandishes Sailor Moon and Powerpuff Girls tattoos—exhibiting her superhuman mettle even at a resting state—and likens herself to a Mortal Kombat avatar (the girl character, naturally). Her real-life heroes range from Brazilian superstar Daniela Mercury, one of her mentors, to Drag Race alumna Violet Chachki (“I just met her in L.A.!” she says with glee of the latter). 

Vittar serves as a link between the new golden age of LGBTQ+ stan-dom (canonized by Charli XCX’s 2017 Pop 2, which featured the likes Vittar, Kim Petras and Carly Rae Jepsen) and less socially progressive regimes at home and abroad (Brazil is governed by the Trumpian Jair Bolsonaro) Today, XCX and Vittar reprise their prog-pop partnership, with their single “Flash Pose” slated to drop at 8 p.m. ET tonight. 

Politics of prejudice be damned, Vittar is kryptonite to the reduced expectations often held for gender-queer performers. Last month, in addition to routing through the major ports of LGBTQ+ pageantry, from Miami to Chicago to NYC, Vittar made one particularly symbolic campaign stop: serenading the United Nations in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s birthday. If her Instagram missive that day—”There will be queers at the UN, oh yes!”—wasn’t a harbinger of world domination, we don’t know what is.

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