Time Out São Paulo

Silvetty Montilla: interview

This queen bee has been wowing the crowds for almost 25 years. She weighs in on why gay São Paulo rocks

What do you think of the gay scene in São Paulo?
After 24 years working as a drag queen in this city, I can say that São Paulo is amazing. It’s a huge city where everything happens. I see it as a city of opportunities – there are so many clubs and bars to perform in, and the audience has loads of places to choose from. Gay people from all over the country gravitate here. From all over the world, actually.

But why did you start working in São Paulo? Why not Rio?
São Paulo is just huge, and I can’t see myself living anywhere else now – I couldn’t do it. I travel all over the country performing, but only here can I work from Monday to Monday. I was born and raised here, but I don’t prefer it because of that – it’s because I love the city. In other cities, the nightlife only happens at weekends, but here, you can find something to do at any time, any day.

So, what do you think is the best thing about the gay scene here in São Paulo?
Everything about the gay scene here is wonderful! I’ve been to so many cities, including ones that are famous for gay nightlife, like London, Paris and Barcelona, and I didn’t find them that interesting. I mean, they were nice, but São Paulo is better. There’s so much to do, and so much variety. There’s something for every crowd.

And the worst thing?

Drugs. Each club has its own personal and unique style, but drugs are coming in. They are getting stronger and stronger and people who use them are getting younger and younger. It is really sad and the audience changes too, because they respond differently to the show. You go to a nightclub to dance and to have fun, not to use drugs.

Also, I’m not a big fan of dark rooms. If you want to have sex, go to a motel. If you want do it with ten or fifteen people, then just gather everyone together and go to a motel. I have nothing against people who like doing that, but if I had to choose between having and not having a darkroom in a club, my choice would be not to.

So, what’s it like being the top drag queen in town?
I wish I were! I just have a lot of experience and I like to work with humour and improvisation. I like what I do and I work a lot because of that, but I also know that the audience is really demanding. I adapt myself to the crowd, and not everyone does that. I perform for the young gay crowd, for the sauna audience, even weddings. Not everyone does that. I just really enjoy what I do; it’s fulfilling and gratifying. I can’t say whether I’m the best – I get a good response from my audience, and that’s good for the ego, sure, but I’m not gonna sit here and brag about myself. I’ll let others do that.

  • Catch Silvetty Montilla on stage every Sunday at Blue Space

By Arthur Anderman
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