There are a few things you need to know about Mikaela Straus: She loves Juuling, eating pickles, and Amanda Bynes. She partook in a diverse Gap ad campaign featuring Muslims and Jews (she’s the latter). She stans Barbra Streisand and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She wrote a song called “Pussy Is God,” and her stage name is King Princess. Oh, and she is your newest favorite queer Jewish pop icon.
Straus, AKA King Princess, isn’t your average Brooklyn-bred musician — she’s much, much cooler. At just 19-years-old, she’s become a symbol of free love and radical feminism. With lyrics like “Your pussy is god and you know it” and music videos showing the genderqueer singer kissing a realistic female doll, King Princess gives much needed representation to the LGBTQ+ community. Her first album is still in the works, but she’s currently on tour performing music from her EP album, Make My Bed, and most recently released her newest single, “I Know,” featuring Fiona Apple.
Growing up in Williamsburg immersed in her dad’s Brooklyn studio, Mission Sound, definitely encouraged Straus to pursue the music industry, but she’s a self-made star. Last February, Straus released her first single with Mark Ronson’s label, Zelig Records. With the help of a tweet from Harry Styles, her song “1950” blew up, and rightfully so. A dreamy melodic pop song with cutting lyrics, Straus says she wanted the single — written with hair still dripping wet after jumping out of the shower at her USC dorm — to pay tribute to a point in history in an empowering way. “It’s a metaphor in the sense that I think I was using the idea of the way that queer people had to hide their love in history, throughout our history,” Strauss explains on a video with Genius.
I love it when we play 1950.
— Harry Styles. (@Harry_Styles) March 7, 2018
When it comes to expressing queer love, Strauss’s sexy, sultry music doesn’t beat around the bush. But her work isn’t just for queer people, the pop singer says. She understands the importance of an artist explaining what a song is about, but she also recognizes the importance of people claiming the song for themselves. “I want people to be able to listen to this music, gay, straight, whatever the fuck, and take something out of it, ya know?” Straus said in the Genius video.
Toronto I’m so sorry I got strep throat and my kind Jewish doctor has advised me to stay in bed tonight. pic.twitter.com/C49YW1fDj1
— King Princess (@KingPrincess69) July 15, 2018
Although she’s a non-practicing Jew, King Princess’ most popular songs are dripping with religious imagery, but like, in an ironic sort of way. In “1950” she sings, “Tell me why my gods look like you, and tell me why it’s wrong“ in her Lord-esque, angelic voice. In “Pussy Is God,” Straus says, “You know that it’s god baby, when you’re around her, I’ve been praying for hours, she’s god and I’ve found her.” These lyrics are Straus’ attempt at illustrating that homosexuality and religion aren’t oil and water. “I think if there’s a space for religions and sexuality to intersect, there can be some comedy about it because there is something extremely fucked up and fun about being the antithesis of a belief system,” Straus told Harper’s Bazaar. “Gay people have always existed in the religious community, but never in a way that’s respectful.”
The queer community has also been lacking role models that are actually queer, Straus tells i-D. Gay icons like Madonna and Britney Spears might represent LGBTQ values, but to have someone who’s actually a part of the community provides much needed representation and visibility to queer people of all ages. Straus’ authenticity and transparency in her lyrics is what makes her sensational, but for her highly anticipated album, she’s itching to explore areas outside her own experiences. “I move the focus a little bit away from me to more about the things that I think about,” she said an interview. “Communities like drag, gender, expression, and friendship — concepts that go beyond me.
Her relatability and unapologetic attitude, paired with a charismatic energy and honey coated voice, is why Straus has already been dubbed by fans as royalty. And at a time when the political climate is attempting to bury queerness and individuality, King Princess couldn’t have chosen a better time to reign as the LGBTQ+ community’s queer Jewish icon.