King Princess on supporting Black Lives Matter and using her identity for good

King Princess wears top Orseund Iris, shorts Agolde, sandals Ann Demeulemeester and necklace talents own. Photographed by Quinn Wilson for PORTER, NET-A-PORTER. All items can be purchased straight from the magazine pages via net-a-porter.com. (Credit: Quinn Wilson/Porter/NET-A-PORTER.com)

Singer Mikaela Straus, better known as King Princess, was photographed for NET-A-PORTER’s digital title, PORTER, by her girlfriend Quinn Whitney Wilson (a filmmaker and Lizzo’s creative director) on top of a 10,000ft volcanic crater.

Straus talks to PORTER about supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, Pride, being at the most pivotal moment of her life and how it’s important for her to use her identity for good. “…right now, with everything that is going on in the world, it is important I use that queer identity as a positive, to be like: ‘I’m queer, I’m also in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and I’m not going to be complacent about racism.’”

Recent transgender comments from J.K. Rowling left Straus feeling appalled: “I think the problem right now is people are failing to see beyond themselves. I don’t know why people feel they need to either be something or they can’t possibly relate to it. I will never understand what it’s like to be Black, but I can still support the Black Lives Matter movement and strive to empathize.” 

Straus released her first single in 2018, the beautiful 1950, which is an ode to the book (and lesbian love story) The Price of Salt, on which the film Carol is based, and her record Pussy Is God has become a gay anthem: “I honestly didn’t even want to put that song out! My team told me to. “I was like, ‘This song is vulgar.’ But I see a lot of lesbians staring into one another’s eyes at my shows singing it, so, I’m glad it’s serving its purpose.” 

King Princess wears top Orseund Iris, shorts Agolde, sandals Ann Demeulemeester and necklace talents own. Photographed by Quinn Wilson for PORTER, NET-A-PORTER. All items can be purchased straight from the magazine pages via net-a-porter.com (Credit: Quinn Wilson/Porter/NET-A-PORTER.com)

This spring – before it was postponed due to the global health emergency – she was supposed to tour with Harry Styles, a long-standing fan of her work. The tour with Harry Styles will be rescheduled, but she doesn’t know what exactly that will look like, or how live music will reconfigure itself: “Large gatherings of people for money is probably the last line of business that is going to return. A concert is the closest you could be to someone. I think that it’s going to be really different and that’s good.”

Straus wonders if it is an intense time to be 21: “I think I will remember being 21 as the most pivotal learning year of my life. I think I’m learning how to be a better teammate, a better girlfriend, a better parent to my dog… I think everyone in my team is in a really good place to make really good art and put it out to the best of our ability. But also to be socially conscious while we’re doing it.” 

For PORTER’s shoot, Straus is photographed in Gucci, Andersson Bell, Christopher Esber and more. All items can be purchased straight from the shoot via the NET-A-PORTER app, available on Android as well as iPhone and iPad, and through net-a-porter.com.

King Princess wears dress Christopher Esber and necklace talents own. Photographed by Quinn Wilson for PORTER, NET-A-PORTER. All items can be purchased straight from the magazine pages via net-a-porter.com (Credit: Quinn Wilson/Porter/NET-A-PORTER.com)

Interview highlights

Mikaela Straus on the recent comments from J.K. Rowling: “I think the problem right now is people are failing to see beyond themselves. I don’t know why people feel they need to either be something or they can’t possibly relate to it. I will never understand what it’s like to be Black, but I can still support the Black Lives Matter movement and strive to empathize.” 

Mikaela Straus on her song Pussy Is God: “I honestly didn’t even want to put that song out! My team told me to. “I was like, ‘This song is vulgar.’ But I see a lot of lesbians staring into one another’s eyes at my shows singing it, so, I’m glad it’s serving its purpose.” 

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Mikaela Straus on her tour with Harry Styles being postponed: “Large gatherings of people for money is probably the last line of business that is going to return. A concert is the closest you could be to someone. I think that it’s going to be really different and that’s good.”

Mikaela Straus on her style: “I think I found my style the minute I realized my destiny is not dressing like a woman every day. I spent so long trying desperately to feel the way that other women feel in clothes that are assigned to us, but I now love to dress how I feel. I can be super-flamboyant, but there’s a large element of workwear, too.” 

Mikaela Straus on how she feels about her different lifestyle during lockdown: “I’m so used to being on a tour bus and wishing that I had time to be at my computer and at my guitar, but then when I got it, I was like: ‘What do I do?’ Quinn feels the same. It’s been very much about figuring out how to be artists again for ourselves instead of for a profit.”

Mikaela Straus on how much she has missed performing over the past few months: “Imagine: you’re on tour for three months. You live on a bus with your crew and your interaction with the outside world is so limited; when you go out to a bar, people identify you – because they’re gay bars – and then for 70 minutes every night you’re on stage and it’s all about you. Rinse and repeat. That’s a weird world to exist in. So, when you get off tour, there’s an acclimatization period that is a brutal fighting of the ego.”

Mikaela Straus on being back the studio soon, working on her second album:“Cheap Queen was my sad lesbian album. It was a cathartic experience. I was going through a lot and I needed to put out a biographical piece of work that detailed my feelings. But I’m more about providing for my fans now, more into dancing now. I want to focus a lot of my heart and attention on bangers.” 

Mikaela Straus on her upbeat personality: “Yes, I think I thrive on the intersection of being a goofball and having really painful art. If I didn’t have music, I would be sad in real life.”

To see the full interview, head to PORTER or download the NET-A-PORTER app for iPhone, iPad and Android.

See also: Laura Harrier on Hollywood, social media and turning 30 under lockdown

In this Story: #culture / entertainment