Kat Graham Learned Everything From Drag Queens
BY Josh Hinkle
April 25 2012 12:58 PM ET UPDATED: April 30 2012 3:21 PM ET
Are you a big fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race?
Are you kidding me? Like every morning after the show airs we rewatch it in hair and makeup at The Vampire Diaries. They know I’m a massive fan of RuPaul. In fact, Ru doesn’t know this, but I met her the first time at Perez’s birthday party and I was with my boyfriend. Ru was dancing on the floor, just like living, you know? I started to cry when I saw her. I finally got up the guts to meet her and introduce myself. For me, I have a deeper connection to everything. I sometimes feel that with my music people look at it like it just might be pop or they try to put me in a box, like it’s kind of Pussycat Dolls or whatever. In my mind, for me, Paris is always burning. I think I’m a drag queen and if somebody says I look like one, you don’t understand that you’re giving me a compliment because that’s where I live, that’s where my music flourishes and grows. My ideas grow from the gay community. That’s where I live mentally.
So where did your inspiration for “Put Your Graffiti On Me” come from?
Different places. One, I’ve always been about self-acceptance and self-love. I wanted to express that in sassy way, where it’s like if you want me come and get me. I wanted to put it in a song that had euphemisms. So when graffiti came about, it was perfect because I was singing about someone who I wanted, if they really wanted me, to come and put their name on it. It’s the attitude I have.
Who are some of your pop idols?
I feel like there isn’t that many in the era I grew up in. I’m 22 now, but when I was a kid in grade school it was all the Janet stuff. I would actually have to archive stuff from the early ‘90s and watch old Janet videos. It was always Janet for me. Right now I feel there’s a space missing where there aren’t a lot of the Madonnas or the Janets who are dancing. Having that element to your performance is a must, like the Paula Abduls. There aren’t that many now but I always look back to the ‘90s for my deepest inspiration.
Your best friend is transgender. Tell me about her.
Alissa Brooks is incredible. She actually was assisting me for like a month because after “Graffiti” came out it was insanity. We were just trying to keep up with everything and trying to take as many opportunities as possible. I perform with her sometimes and I go to her shows. I support her. I’ve literally done the lights for her show, pulled the curtains back, introduced her, everything. For me, it’s totally normal. She’s just Alissa. She’s my heart and a lot of my inspiration. She’s fearless and she’s strong. What we want to do is eventually change the perception of the world. I know it’s a lot and I know it’s going to take some time but for me, one, I’m on both sides. I’ve had discrimination from being Jewish to being African-American, and here I am fully waving the rainbow flag everywhere I go to whoever will listen to me. I’ve definitely been dealing with a lot, everything from racism to discrimination. So for me, it’s even more of a fight, and I will fight for any sort of inequality, especially for my team. My managers, my agents, my best friend, I mean everyone is in the LGBT community. I feel like I might as well be. It’s no different. I feel like I’m so out of the closet for not even being gay. But, you know, for Alissa, she’s not the only transgender friend I have, but she’s my best friend. I want to empower people that are different like me. I want it to be normal. I don’t want people to think that I’m forcing it down people’s throats. I want people to have a natural progression to understand that people are people regardless of their age, sex, color of their skin, race, religion, whatever. [They need to] really start looking at people as people and stop judging them because they might be transgender or gay or bi or straight or whatever. I hope I’m doing that. If my music doesn’t go further than where it’s at right now but the message that I have goes beyond me then I will have succeeded.
Purchase "Put Your Graffiti On Me" here.Watch the video below.
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