Anitta Covers HARPER’S BAZAAR’s June/July 2023 Freedom Issue

Posted on May 30, 2023


Samira Nasr, Editor in Chief, Harper’s BAZAAR says, “This is our Freedom issue, and our cover star, the Brazilian pop star Anitta, is someone who has fought for it her entire life. After coming up in the favelas of Rio, Anitta—captured brilliantly by photographer Emmanuel Sanchez Monsalve—is now an international sensation. But she speaks her mind and unapologetically brings the entirety of who she is to everything she does. She has gone on to create her own singular vision of success: one that gives her the choice to be exactly who she is. Women like Anitta are showing us that we no longer need to conform to old norms about how to look or dress in order to be taken seriously, that you can own your own sexuality and also be an ambitious businesswoman—that there is room for a more complex, nuanced version of what it means to show up in the world as a woman.”




On her outspoken and seemingly brazen personality: “I dance, ass to the sky, and it sells more,” she tells me. “People love to complain: ‘Oh, this person’s so vulgar.’ But that’s what they like. Besides everything, I’m also a businesswoman. I’m an artist. I know how to get onstage and make everyone jump, make everyone do what I want. I know it sells.”

On hiring language tutors to travel alongside her and help her master five languages while getting glammed:
“[People] don’t have the courage to say what they want,” she explains. “They want to laugh and talk about the girl who said, ‘Oh, I learned to speak with boyfriends.’ If you put that in a quote, a million clicks. If you put ‘Oh, she put different teachers in the dressing room so she could learn while she was getting glam,’ nobody’s going to f**king click on that.”

On growing up in the Brazilian favela, Honório, having never seen the famed beaches until she became a singer:
“People would say it’s the ghetto here, it’s like the hood,” she says. “I used to say, ‘When I’m old, I’m going to get rich. We’re going to have a pool. We’re all going to be at the pool.’ Everyone was like, okay. They didn’t want to disappoint me, but they knew that was not even close to being real.…But I was so sure. I could tell.”

On turning to her father’s religion, Candomblé, which is practiced widely among Afro-Brazilians and has been marginalized in the majority–Roman Catholic country: “People are very prejudiced,” she says. “When it comes from the poor communities, people see it as a bad thing. When it comes from Black people, when it comes from Indians, when it comes from Asians, all the people who suffer racism, I think those religions suffer more.”

On how her experience growing up in a favela has directly informed her music: “If you are born in a place where all you have access to is guns, crime, drugs, sex—that’s what you’re going to write about,” she says, leaning forward. “We cannot sing about the beautiful paradise in Rio if we are not even getting close [enough] to see that.… I’m not saying, ‘Oh, it’s so good to commit a crime.’ No. I’m just saying you gave zero opportunities for these people to choose other stuff.”

On educating herself about political issues in order to speak with authority, particularly after the 2018 election of  Brazil’s former president, Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right extremist: “When we are born into the type of reality that I was in my country, we don’t get the motivation to understand politics,” she explains. “So we vote not knowing s**t about it, not knowing whatever the f**k we are doing. And that’s what [politicians] want, because then it’s easier to play with us.”

On the pressures of her unofficial role as a de facto ambassador for the entire country of Brazil, and taking time off in 2022 to manage health scares with endometriosis and the Epstein-Barr virus: “I couldn’t get up to the second floor of my house,” she says. “I was so sick, and I saw how much I was not taking care of myself. I was just working, working, working because it takes so much so much effort to do what I’m doing right now. There’s a reason why it’s been so many decades since a Brazilian person has done what I’m doing here now.”

On splitting with her U.S. label, Warner, after a series of social media posts where she complained about her contract and then signing with Universal’s Republic Records: “I want to build a whole strategy because I don’t want to leave that in my label’s hands,” she says of her next album. “All the others I was leaving at their hands. That’s why it didn’t go that well. Crazy. But this I want to go massive. So I’m going to do it myself. I got big enough for people to pay attention to what I’m doing, so it’s a good moment for me to drop this album [that’s] finally something I believe and something I think, ‘Okay, that is me,’”she says. “Now that I got this attention, I can really be myself.”


[Photo Credit: Emmanuel Sanchez Monsalve for Harper’s BAZAAR Magazine]

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