Chicago Pride Fest 2022 promises to be hotter and more exciting than ever. This popular festival features a wide variety of musical acts on three stages and is surrounded by numerous vendor booths up and down the Halsted Street strip.
One of several drag artists scheduled to perform at Pride Fest is a live singing sensation. At 26 years old, Grag Queen was crowned the winner of the televised competition contest Queen of the Universe that aired in six parts on Paramount+ and was similar to the popular Eurovision Song Contest. This Brazilian singer slayed the competition with her powerful renditions of Andra Day's "Rise Up" and Cyndi Lauper's "Girl Just Want to Have Fun" to take home $250,000.
This sudden success surprised many, as Gregory Mohd had only started performing in drag in 2018. He was quickly signed to SB Music in Brazil after his big win and is preparing for a forthcoming album in English.
Windy City Times: How was performing with your fellow Brazilian drag singer Pabllo Vittar? I just interviewed her at a recent Chicago concert.
Grag Queen: Oh, that was in Manchester. It was cool. She's my friend and we always kiki together.
WCT: Are you from Sao Paulo?
GQ: I am actually from Canela, a town in southern Brazil, but right now I live in Sao Paulo.
WCT: Do you identify as queer and what are your pronouns?
GQ: I am gay and do drag so any pronouns are good. We don't have the word "queer" in Portuguese.
WCT: You only started performing in drag in 2018?
GQ: Yesnot very long ago.
WCT: What inspired you to try it?
GQ: It just recently happened in my country where there was an explosion of drag queens. I was in high school where I was deciding what to do with my life and where I would work. I saw that Pabllo Vittar and Gloria Groove were successful drag queens and pop stars in Brazil.
I started trying out drag and just fell more into doing it. My career started moving forward and then I found myself crowned Queen of the Universe!
WCT: What made you audition for the singing competition Queen of the Universe in the first place?
GQ: I saw ads everywhere that were looking for queens around the world who could sing and look pretty. This was a chance for people to prove their talent and showcase themselves to the rest of the world.
They wanted someone to bring fashion, vocals and uniqueness, so that sounded like me.
WCT: Did you have a favorite judge on that show?
GQ: Michelle Visage. She is tough on drag queens sometimes but is really sweet every time. Brazilians love her because of that.
WCT: Where is the trophy you won on Queen of the Universe?
GQ: It is back in Canela at home with my father and mother. In my apartment, I don't have space for that. It is taller than me!
My parents love it and it's a dream come true for them. It is a small town so everyone stops by their house to see the award and take pictures. That makes me very happy because the win also belongs to them.
WCT: That is sweet. What did you do with the prize money?
GQ: I live on it and make sure I have plenty of money to take care of my health. I always buy more clothes and make videos. Touring costs money and wigs can be expensive. Trust me!
WCT: Did you always like to sing when you were younger?
GQ: Yes. I have a church background so I always sang there.
WCT: With such a swiftly moving career, how have you adapted?
GQ: I think I have always been a performer. As soon as I saw my face painted for the first time, my self-esteem returned and I felt happier than I felt as Gregory. I found another persona inside of me. It was the true essence of myself. This all gave me the courage to do what I love. I sing and write, which I truly love to do.
WCT: Is this appearance at Roscoe's Tavern tonight your first time in Chicago?
WCT: Welcome to Chicago!
GQ: Thank you. It feels almost like a movie because even though I have seen movies about Chicago when I was in Brazil, it still doesn't look quite the same. I am living a fantasy at the moment.
WCT: What are your plans after this?
GQ: I am going back to LA because I have West Hollywood's Pride and a few more shows. I will be coming back to Chicago for Pride Fest.
WCT: Yes, let's talk about that. Have you started planning your act yet?
GQ: I am still working on that. I always try to do something different. I think it will be a lot of fun. I'm a Brazilian performer, baby!
WCT: Does that mean you plan on revealing a lot of skin?
GQ: I could, but I want to show that I am much more than that. I don't lip-sync. It will be all live singing.
WCT: I heard you are on Hulu's and Disney+'s Love, Victor soundtrack. I just spoke with some of the cast members right before I met up with you. How was creating this new track?
GQ: It was so great working with Leland and Jesse Saint John. All of the people working in the Disney offices said they are addicted to the song already. I have been playing it every day and it is almost time to drop the track. It will be available when the series comes out.
I still pinch myself that Disney is paying me to write and sing. This is huge for a queen from southern Brazil!
WCT: What goals do you have for the future?
GQ: Well, I never imagined that Queen of the Universe would happen. I just want to keep making my friends and family proud. Every day that I live is a gag and a Grag.
Flying to Chicago with a visa and then performing on the same stage at Roscoe's as Adore Delano is a big deal for me.
WCT: Have you made a lot of friends from RuPaul's Drag Race?
GQ: Yes, it is like a sisterhood. They are always congratulating me and they have to mention that I got the biggest amount of money in all of the franchises. In Brazil, we don't pay taxes so it came out to be a large amount of money.
Get ready to be Grag-ged on Sunday, June 19, at 7:15 p.m. at the Bud Light Seltzer North Stage during Pride Fest. Look for more performers and information at NorthHalsted.com .