Long before Pabllo Vittar's rendition of Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing" went viral, catapulting her to international fame, makeup played a special part in the Brazilian drag queen's life.
In a recent interview with Refinery29, Vittar recalls how her mom would wear the same red lipstick from Avon everywhere. "She would even go to the hospital with it on," she says with laughter. Seeing her mom's lipstick habit sparked Vittar's love for makeup at an early age. Eventually, she started wearing mascara and lipstick to school and watching drag queen beauty tutorials to learn even more techniques.
Today, makeup is essential to how Vittar expresses herself. "Phabullo Rodrigues is the boy, and I am Pabllo Vittar. Makeup is the line that divides those two people," she tells Refinery29. "I feel very empowered any time I wear makeup, even if it's a little mascara."
However, it was a journey for Vittar, who now has over 8 million followers on Instagram, to gain that confidence. "When I was a child, I suffered a lot for just being myself," she says, speaking on the bullying she faced in her small hometown in Brazil. It was with the support of family, especially her mother, that Vittar was able to gain a sense of self-confidence that outweighed the disapproval of others. "I believe that beauty is beyond makeup; it's being who you are without being afraid," she says.
These days, Vittar is unapologetic about who she is, despite a music industry that is rooted in a machismo (toxic masculinity) culture. "The industry can be very machismo, but it's time to break these barriers," she says. In her opinion, the strict gender roles are becoming more fluid, which is only proven by the fact that she became the first-ever drag queen to be nominated for a Latin Grammy last year.
Vittar is happy to see more and more Latin artists, like Bad Bunny and J Balvin, breaking norms, which ultimately promotes individuality for all. "[Latinx] men are changing their hair, they're taking care of their skin, and they're putting on accessories and mascara," she says. "I think it's incredible. You have to do whatever you feel like."
She feels the next generation is only going to build on the movement that is already happening. "The kids now, they are going to change this generation," she says. "People are becoming more open-minded and supportive of our community. I hope more and more doors open — and not just for myself, but all my LGBTQ+ friends."
Vittar is doing her part to pave the way by using her voice and her platform as the "World's Most Popular Drag Queen" to inspire others in the LGBTQ+ community. Just last month, the singer performed at World Pride and the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. She's also been vocal in her opposition to the prejudicial practices that threaten to erode the LGBTQ+ rights in Brazil. As an activist, she is fighting so that all her fans are free to be themselves. "Life can only be lived once. Don't be afraid to show who you really are," she exclaims. "If your true self bothers other people, that's their problem, not yours."
Ahead, shop a few of Vittar's makeup must-haves:
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