Kim Petras on Making History With Her Grammy Win and Continuing to Inspire the LGBTQ+ Community

The award-winning pop star is featured on one of four SI Swimsuit Issue covers this year.

Kim Petras was photographed by Yu Tsai in Los Angeles. Swimsuit by LILY&ROSE. Earring by Jennifer Meyer.

Kim Petras made history in February as the first transgender woman to win the Grammy award for best pop duo or group performance. Earlier this month, Petras and rapper Nicki Minaj dropped a new single, “Alone,” as well as a music video for the track. The 30-year-old star also carved out some time to pose for the 2023 SI Swimsuit Issue in Los Angeles, and landed one of four covers this year. 

View Kim Petras’s full 2023 SI Swimsuit gallery here.

The early days

Petras grew up in a small farm town in Germany with a musical family—her dad played a lot of instruments and her older sisters were always into heavy metal music. Petras recalls getting her first MacBook Pro and immediately learning to produce in order to make demos through the internet.

She was passionate about the world of music from a young age and “wanted to be a part of it at any cost.” Petras moved to Los Angeles by herself at just 19, and since she didn’t have a place to stay, she couch (and studio) hopped.

“It wasn’t easy. It was a lot of not much sleep and working a lot, writing a lot of songs. I worked on my talents and my craft and got better as a songwriter for years before anything happened,” she says. “It’s so crazy looking back. I think I definitely didn’t think that that was possible for me. Other people definitely didn’t think it would happen. [Now I’ve] got a Nicki Minaj feature so [people] can’t tell me s---.”

Her historical Grammy moment

The singer calls her history-making win at the Grammy Awards an “unexpected [and] insane life moment.”

“I don’t think anything could have prepared me and I don’t think I’ll ever really have that feeling again. It was completely incredible,” she says about winning the award for her track “Unholy” with Sam Smith. “I’m so grateful to Sam for wanting me to give a speech and kind of pushing me to do it because I was so scared. [Smith] was like, ‘If we win, I want you to do it because it’s kind of a historical moment.’”

She has spent the past few months soaking in her success and finding ways to continue to inspire the LGBTQ+ community.

The importance of representation

Petras says that while there is still room for progress in terms of LGBTQ+ rights in America, there is also “more representation than there has ever been.”

The 30-year-old admits that she sometimes feels pressure to represent the transgender community, but more often—and more importantly—she feels blessed for the opportunities she’s been given and achieved through years of hard work.

“I feel so happy when I hear from trans people in general that they’re inspired by me,” she shares. “I think what you do is the most important thing. I always try to remember that everything I do is definitely not about being transgender—it’s a part of me, but there’s so many other parts of me and I think that’s really important for me to show to people. No matter what your gender or sexuality or any of that stuff is, it’s about what you make of life and it’s about what’s inside of you.”

Click here to see Petras’s full 2023 SI Swimsuit Issue gallery.

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Published
Ananya Panchal

ANANYA PANCHAL

Ananya Panchal is a NYC-based Lifestyle & Trending News writer at SI Swimsuit. Before joining the Swim team, the Boston University Alum worked for culture & entertainment beats at Bustle, The San Francisco Chronicle and the TODAY Show. When Ananya is not writing or doom-scrolling on social media, she can be found playing sudoku, rewatching One Tree Hill or trying new restaurants. She's also a coffee and chocolate (separately) enthusiast.