Kim Petras ‘Clawed’ Her Way to the Top and Is Proud of It: ‘My Purpose Is to Be an Artist’

The 2023 SI Swimsuit Issue cover star made history with her Grammy win for ‘Unholy’ with Sam Smith.
Kim Petras.

Kim Petras.

Kim Petras is a hot name in the industry these days, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t work extremely hard to get to where she is now. The 2023 SI Swimsuit Issue cover model rose to fame when her single, “Unholy,” with Sam Smith won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and she made history as the first transgender woman to receive the award.

In a recent interview with People, the German singer admitted that before that song, she was struggling to “get anyone to release [her] music.” She said that while she was in a tough situation, she persevered. 

“It was a really s----- situation that then led to the biggest moment I’ve had in my career,” she said. “I’m so happy I clawed my way back.”

Petras received a lot of attention immediately after the Grammy Awards in February, but she said she wants to be known for more than just being transgender. The multihyphenate is full of grit and talent and deserves to be recognized for more than just making history with her identity.

“My purpose is to be an artist. I just so happen to be transgender, but that’s not all that I am,” the 30-year-old, who transitioned at the age of 16, added. “It’s been a nonstop mission since I was 12 years old to do this, but I feel like I’m just beginning.”

She said she always felt a strong connection to and was inspired by major pop stars like Britney Spears, Madonna, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. She moved to Los Angeles when she was 19 with nothing but a determined mindset to make it big.

“I came here by myself, had around 500 euros and stayed illegally for two years [before getting a visa],” she admitted. “I look up to creatives who are really authentic and carve out their own lane and are unafraid. That’s what I try to be. I’m from the middle of nowhere. I always knew I had to carve my own way.”

Petras released her label debut album, Feed the Beast, on Friday, June 23.

Kim Petras performed at the Citi Concert Series for ‘TODAY.’

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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.