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A Suitably Witchy Tarot Reading with Pop Star Kim Petras

The first card the pop musician drew was 'Death'. Panic ensued.

by Daisy Jones; photos by Bekky Lonsdale
30 August 2019, 8:30am

All photography by Bekky Lonsdale

Why bother asking musicians interview questions when we can just ask the tarot instead? This is 'WTF (WHAT THE FUTURE)', a format in which VICE's resident planet obsessive Daisy Jones uses ancient divinatory methods to find out stuff about pop stars.

It’s one in the afternoon, and we are surrounded by pink. Pink tables, pink chairs, pink roses bobbing above our heads. Bright pink iced cakes, with dark pink cherries on top. I feel out of place in an old black t-shirt and shorts, like a goth who just got lost. But Cologne-born, LA-based pop star Kim Petras looks at one with her surroundings. Plants dangle around her pristinely waved hair. Her freshly manicured nails tap lightly on the marble table top. Two high heeled feet perch beneath her chair while she looks at me, eyes bright, waiting.

The reason we’re here, at Hackney’s Palm Vaults cafe – which has the kind of pleasing aesthetic that makes it better known on Instagram than IRL – is because I’m going to read Kim’s tarot cards. She’s never had her tarot read before, which seems unexpected for someone so into pop culture, the occult and “spooky shit” (last year’s Halloween EP, Turn Off the Light, Vol. 1, included a collaboration with actual Elvira, Mistress of the Dark). But that's only because she’s “never known anyone who does it.” “I’m excited!” she says now, peering closely at the cards before shuffling them, her long shiny black nails making it a relatively difficult process.

I Read Kim Petras' Tarot Cards Bekky Lonsdale
Bekky Lonsdale

It’s a good time for 27-year-old Kim to get her cards read. She put out her debut album, Clarity – a 12-song collection of neatly crafted pop music that darts between glacial club beats (“Icy”) and electro emo jams (“All I Do is Cry”) – in June. In the time since, she's been gearing up to release another Halloween mixtape, Turn Off the Light, Vol. 2, in early October. But she's also just moved into her own place in LA. She's been through a break up. She's on the brink of her Saturn returns. In other words, she's about to enter a whole new phase in her life. Which as I said, is the perfect time to get a reading.

VICE: Okay, so have a shuffle…
Kim Petras: [Draws the ‘Death’ card first] I knew it, I’m gonna die.

The 'Death' Tarot card reading VICE

Tarot reading spread VICE

Yep, your present is ‘Death’. But although it sounds like a scary card, it’s not. It means something is coming to an end, which indicates the start of a new cycle. Also, at the bottom here you’ve got ‘Happiness and ‘Abundance’ so there’s a good feeling around this end. It’s not a sad feeling of loss.
Yeah, I guess I just had my album out, which is an end. And I’m just about to drop my second Halloween EP, which is really spooky stuff, so I’m excited for that beginning. But also, there are so many new things in my life...

Oh, really? Like what? What is it that you’ve left behind?
Just like… people. I’m switching up people that I’m working with, and I went through a break up at the beginning of the year. A couple of weeks ago, I moved into a new place so I’m living by myself for the first time ever. I’m used to being around a bunch of people.

Omg, how have you decorated it?
Haha it was furnished! It’s like really old gay men vibes because that’s the landlord’s style. I spend a lot of time there grossly lounging around watching movies all day and ordering way too much food. It’s really nice that nobody can see me.

Tarot card reading 'Worry' VICE

I would love to live alone! Okay, let’s look at your general future, which is ‘Worry’. Again, this isn’t a scary card. It just indicates a kind of ‘everyday’ worry, rather than full-on anxiety. A feeling of needing to sort things out...
I’m a worrier, man. I need to stop it. I always worry too much about the most random shit. But I’m learning to cope with it better, the busier I get. I feel like I can’t sit around and overthink about every little detail anymore because I’ve got to get up and do shit now. But worry is definitely an annoying thing in my life.

You’ve also got ‘Strife’ in your future mental state, which definitely fits in with what you’re saying about overthinking stuff. But you’ve got ‘The Priestess’ in your future environment, which is a very nourishing, almost motherly presence. In other words, you’ll be fretting, but people around you will help. Do you have people who offer you guidance?
Yeah, I have mentors... my manager is my mentor, and I feel like the producers I work with are my mentors. I definitely feel guided. I haven’t seen my family much at all this year, but I’m excited to see them in a week and a half. Other times, I’m just on my own, figuring shit out.

Your conclusion is the 'Princess of Cups', which is a strange one! She’s a dreamy character, who wants her wishes to come true, so that could be you. She’s very good at manifesting her desires.
That’s definitely me as fuck. I feel like I’m dreamy as fuck, I live in my head a lot. I manifest a lot of things by just repeatedly saying them until they come true. And doing them repeatedly until they come true. Ever since I was young I’ve just had this vision of where I want to be. This picture of myself on the biggest stage, in the best outfit...

Tarot reading spread VICE
Bekky Lonsdale

Which is happening.
Totally. And I’ve spent my whole life holding on to that, trial and error, learning from shit, sticking with it. I feel like it’s helped me to repeatedly paint it out, and every time I have an idea I will write it down. I believe in that big time.

What are your manifestation methods? This sounds weird, but I sometimes ask the sky.
I definitely look at the sky and the stars. I don’t really believe in religion or anything. But I believe in having a connection with something, I just don’t know what.

Are you into any other magic?
I’m kind of obsessed with the occult. In Germany, in the little town I grew up in right outside of Cologne, is where most witches were burned. There’s a museum of it. My family is really into it too, and we learn about it at school.

I grew up in a house which was all girls and they’re all really witchy. They have spell books and are just interested. I really want to believe in that stuff, but sometimes I just can’t. It’s the same with aliens. I can’t believe it until I see it. I just hope that someday I see something magical like an alien, or a witch, that would be sick. But it’s definitely a fun thing that I spend a lot of time on, that I’m pretty obsessed with.

I Read Kim Petras' Tarot Cards Bekky Lonsdale VICE
Bekky Lonsdale

Have you ever cast a spell?
Never. I’ve held onto bad feelings, but I know that only makes you feel worse.

Say if you could cast a spell tomorrow and you knew it would come true, what would it be?
Oh my god, I just want to do to some cool shit. I could steal shit from stores, designer shit. I always have this fantasy of stopping the world, freezing everyone and just running into a store taking all the money and all the clothes. That’s my biggest dream. I’d run into Chanel, take all the bags. I’d go into all the big fat designer stores.

Good plan. Where would you start? Rodeo Drive?
If had it my way I would go to Paris, to Champs-Élysées. It’s just YSL next to Chanel next to Dior next to Versace. Other than that, I’d probably just wish that people that I love don’t die. That’s a classic thing, but then I guess with mortality, in movies, if you bring people back from the dead, it’s always weird, it never works. So from what I see in movies, I wouldn’t want to do that.

I Read Kim Petras' Tarot Cards Bekky Lonsdale VICE
Bekky Lonsdale

What's your favourite horror movie?
There are so many I love. Hereditary is one of my favourites from the last few years, and probably The Exorcist is my all-time favourite – it’s unbeatably weird. In general, I’m really obsessed with movies. I love going on tours in Hollywood and seeing movie sets. I love watching director’s interviews, like with Stanley Kubrick and Hitchcock. And I pull a lot from Death Becomes Her, movies like that.

I can definitely see those Death Becomes Her influences in your videos. How does your second Halloween EP differ from your first?
It’s darker, it goes harder. It’s sonically much creepier. It hits harder than the last one did. Think... the It Follows soundtrack. Or the Drive soundtrack. It has a bit of that 80s synth. If you listen to the last one, it’s still in the same lane, but with new colours. Every song goes into the next, there’s no stop. You've got to listen to it from front to back.

I can't wait. So did this tarot spread resonate with you?
Absolutely, although I’m bummed out that 'Worry' is in there because I want to ditch that shit.

You know... it says 'Worry', but it also says there's nothing to worry about! Remember that when it comes up in the future.

Kim Petras takes her Broken Tour to Europe until early September, then to Outloud and Miami Beach Pop festivals in the US.

@daisythejones / @bekkyonfilm