Pop Culture

Kim Petras Is a Bitch Who Gets What She Wants on ‘Los Espookys’

Kim Petras is one powerful pop star. On tonight’s episode of Los Espookys, the blonde, Barbiecore US Ambassador Melanie Gibbons (played by Greta Titelman) has finally met her match in Secretary of State Kimberly Reynolds—her even blonder and Barbie-r boss—played by Petras, making her acting debut. “I was super nervous,” Petras admits to Vanity Fair between intermittent pulls from her vape pen in a joint Zoom interview with Titelman. “I got an acting coach to explain to me how acting works and did all this research.”

The hard work paid off, as Petras is delightful on the show as a politician with a Paris Hilton vibe, in a role that Los Espookys creators Julio Torres and Ana Fabrega wrote specifically for her. “When I got the scripts for season two, Julio mentioned to me, ‘I think we’re getting Kim Petras to be your boss,’” Titelman says. “I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, we wrote the part for her. We think she’s down to do it.’” But then, of course, a global pandemic occurred, creating a three-plus year gap between season one and season two of the HBO comedy, forcing Titelman to keep Petras’s involvement on the show secret from even her closest confidants, like Fire Island and I Love That for You’s Matt Rogers, a close friend and frequent collaborator. “I didn’t tell Matt. I didn’t tell any of our other friends,” says Titelman. “I was like, ‘It’s so major, I can’t spoil it.’”

It all began, as so many surprise collaborations do, backstage at a concert. “In 2019, Julio came to my show at Terminal 5 in New York—Julio and [Saturday Night Live’s] Bowen Yang,” Petras recalls. “We talked backstage. I’m a big fan of Julio and of Bowen, and we just had a good time and linked up.” Naturally, that backstage kiki led to a correspondence that set everything in motion. “A couple weeks later I got an Instagram DM like, ‘Would you ever be down to be in Los Espookys? Because we have been listening to ‘Turn Off the Light’ nonstop writing it.’”

Even though her guest spot was put on hold by the pandemic, Petras was always determined to make it happen. “[During] those two years. I was like, ‘Well, once this is over, I’m going to shoot Los Espookys. Fuck everyone.’” A fan of the show and all things Halloween-related, Petras says that she and her friends watched season one “three times over” and “are all addicted to it.” “I’m a spooky girl. I love to be spooked,” she says. “So it was kind of a no-brainer. I was like, ‘Yes, absolutely.’”

“I didn’t want to act one day,” Petras tells VF. “I was a songwriter, studio rat my whole life.” But once she arrived on the Los Espookys set in Santiago, Chile, it clicked that the blonde and powerful political figure Torres and Fabrega wrote for her was an extension of the pop star persona she had already perfectly crafted. “Once I got there, it was like, ‘We wrote this for you,’” Petras says. “It’s kind of your stage character, just in politics. Move the stage character to politics.”

Given that one of Petras’s most beloved refrains goes, “I want all my clothes designer / I want someone else to buy ’em / If I cannot get it right now / I don’t want it, I don’t want it, I don’t want it at all,” it wasn’t all that tricky to get into character. “I can be a bitch who gets what she wants onstage—that’s the persona I’ve created,” says Petras. “It was easy bringing that into Melanie Gibbons’s office and being Secretary of State.”

Titelman maintains that Petras felt like a pro on set. “Kim was so easy,” Titelman says. “I was intimidated, obviously, because I am a huge Kim fan. I was singing Kim’s songs to her on set.” (“I loved it,” chimed in Petras.) “It didn’t feel like Kim was acting for the first time,” Titelman continued. “She just immediately fit into the Los Espookys universe because she has the same sensibility, knows the same references. We’re all a part of the same kind of culture. She just got it.”

Greta Titelman and Kim Petras

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