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The World’s Next Big Drag Queen Is Brazilian

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nytimes.com

São Paulo’s main avenue was packed this month with thousands of people draped in the yellow and green of the Brazilian flag and captivated by a commanding figure atop a tractor-trailer rigged with speakers.

From above, the scene could have maybe passed for one of the many political rallies held in the same spot by former President Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian far-right leader who has infamously declared that he could never love a gay son. (Though, to be fair, the enormous rainbow flag would be a giveaway.) It was, in fact, one of the world’s largest Pride parades, and the person atop the sound truck was Phabullo Rodrigues da Silva, 30, the gay son of a working-class single mother in Brazil’s north.

Yet everyone in the crowd knew him as Pabllo Vittar, a 6-foot-2-inch drag queen in a glittering cutoff Brazilian soccer jersey and shredded jean shorts — one of the biggest pop stars in this nation of 203 million. “It’s so beautiful to see you in yellow and green!” Pabllo Vittar shouted to those in the crowd, many wearing fishnet and G-strings.

She had called on the revelers to wear Brazil’s national colors to reclaim the Brazilian flag from Mr. Bolsonaro’s right-wing movement. “Let’s dance!” RuPaul may still be the queen of queens, but the heir to the global crown has arrived..

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