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Kim Petras - 2020
Kim PetrasPhotography Joey James

Kim Petras’s online obsessions: Disneyland secrets and cringe compilations

As she releases her new single ‘Malibu’, we catch up with the pop star to talk all things internet

Dazed Faves is the series where we talk all things online – that surreal meme account you’re obsessed with, weird conspiracy theory subreddits, ASMR YouTubes, or slime Instagrams.

When she was a kid, Kim Petras would use the internet to keep up with her friends. Today, the pop star uses it to promote her music career. Still, there are a lot of similarities. MSN Messenger might have been replaced by Twitter group chats, but she’s still messaging people (her stans, in this case, who she keeps in regular contact with), getting their advice and keeping up with their work.

Petras’s new single is “Malibu”, which she describes as a “fizzy, refreshing drink that comes to you during this quarantine and makes you forget all your anxieties”. Its star-studded ‘At Home Edition’ music video features cameos from Paris Hilton, Demi Lovato, Jonathan Van Ness, Charli XCX, and more. Following its release, we caught up with Kim about her online obsessions, with enough online rabbit holes to sink into while you’re locking down.

FAVE OLD YOUTUBE VIDEO: SHOES

Kim Petras: The internet was always there. I remember using it as a kid for stupid online games, and chatting with friends on MSN Messenger and ICQ. Then I remember discovering stupid YouTube videos like “Shoes” and my life changed completely. It was like, “Wow, this is the best thing ever in my life.” It was definitely that and, like, the dramatic hamster. And this lady who’s advertising the rainbow sponge, and she dips the sponge into different colours and freaks out over every detail. We used to watch that with my friends and learn every word. There’s also this video of a yoga teacher, “Yogie Okey Dokie's Yoga Farm”, one of the most amazing videos on the internet ever.

Since then, the internet had been the place where I find fucked up and funny things to watch. Now, it has a lot to do with my career and communicating with my fans. One of the reasons I feel like I can be an artist and release stuff is because of the internet.

FAVE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM: TWITTER

Kim Petras: I feel like most of my personality comes through on Twitter. My fans are really funny, so they send me a lot of stuff on there. I have group chats with my fans where we just talk about random stuff and they tell me about their lives. I found the artwork for my single “Reminds Me” from this art account on Twitter – I hit her up and was like, “Would you be down to make the cover for this song?” It’s a very creative, free place. Instagram is a close second, but it’s more about images than words and sentences. So Twitter is more personal, but they kind of go hand in hand. I have a TikTok, I find it a lot of fun, but I don’t necessarily do the dancing. It reminds me of Vine – I loved Vine, and don’t know why it disappeared.

FAVE VIDEO GENRE: CRINGE

Kim Petras: love finding cringey stuff. I think cringing is my favourite thing that the internet has taught me – which brings me to my favourite Instagram meme account, @MyCringe. It’s, like, horrible TikToks and other really cringey moments. I save them and watch them over and over, then send my friends to disturb them, too. That’s something about my friends – we send each other the most awful stuff that we can find on the internet.

Have you ever self-analysed and asked why cringe videos appeal to you so much?

Kim Petras: Oh my God. Yes, I’ve thought about it. Like, “Why am I this terrible person?” I don’t know, but I think it’s because it reminds me of my embarrassing moments, too. I feel less alone. Everybody does really embarrassing shit!

Do you think there are any embarrassing cringe moments from you floating around on the internet that haven’t been found yet?

Kim Petras: I feel like everything I do is an embarrassing cringe moment, so yes. People haven’t made compilations of it yet, but I’m sure it’ll happen one day, and it will be glorious. My fans find all my cringe moments and always remind me of them, it’s so funny. Me and my fans share the cringe passion, it’s really beautiful.

FAVE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS: HER STANS

Kim Petras: I put out my first song two-and-a-half years ago, and probably since two years ago I’ve had my core fanbase. I performed in little gay clubs all over America for years before anything ever happened for me. Fans heard about my songs and I’d start with maybe ten people coming to my shows, then one hundred people, and it’d steadily keep growing. I have a lot of real relationships and friendships with my fans. I have group chats with them, and a lot of their numbers. For me, I always felt like no one understood me, which is a really cliché thing, but I wanted to make music because I wanted people to understand me. Once I had my stans, I felt a lot less alone. My concerts are a safe place for my fans to be whoever they want, and it’s the same on Twitter and on social media. I’d be incomplete without them. They’re super talented, I asked them advice and opinions, I look at their profiles and see what they like and what they listen to.

On Twitter and Instagram, Skinny Academy makes some of the funniest memes of me that I’ve seen, and some of the stupidest. Kim Petras Closet is a fashion account, she literally finds anything I’m wearing within minutes and tells you where to buy it – I’m like, “How the fuck did you find that?”

Have you got a favourite reaction meme you’ve seen of yourself?

Kim Petras: There’s a GIF of me fake crying. And me in front of the Westboro Baptist Church protesters, showing the peace sign and doing the kissy face, is a really good reaction.

FAVE YOUTUBE RABBIT HOLE: DISNEYLAND

Kim Petras: I go down YouTube rabbit holes all the time. I’m really obsessed with Disneyland. I wanted to be a Mouseketeer as a kid. I grew up in Germany, and the closest Disneyland is Paris – which is good, but not as good as in the US or Tokyo or Shanghai. I got this Disneyland book and got obsessed with knowing all the names of the attractions, watching interviews with the Imagineers. So I watch videos about attractions that were never built, and the closed-off stuff, and the Imagineering videos, like “What the Indiana Jones attraction could have been”, stupid shit like that. There’s a channel called Defunctland, they have some really good videos describing every little detail of why Disneyland is the way it is. I love finding out all the secrets to do with that.

I really like the dedication to theming, storytelling, and immersion. It’s very similar to writing songs and creating an atmosphere. They create a bit of a fantasy. I’ll watch it with directors about directing movies, and with fashion designers about how their brand DNA is in their design – I’m obsessed with anybody who creates a fantasy.