The coronavirus pandemic has changed everything, and that includes how we’re all celebrating Pride in 2020.
With huge public gatherings out of the question, we’re asking a range of LGBTQ celebrities and allies for their personal Pride anthems, to help us all get into the Pride spirit from lockdown.
Today we’re speaking to model and activist Munroe Bergdorf, who in recent years has been at the centre of conversations surrounding transgender rights and white privilege.
In the latest in our My Pride Anthems series, Munroe reveals why she feels a kinship with Britney Spears, and how Carly Rae Jepsen’s music helped her through an especially difficult period...
Britney Spears – Gimme More
“Back when I was living in Brighton, my Pride anthems were very much all of Britney Spears’ Blackout album. It’s just very expressive of where I was at during that time in my life – it’s very hedonistic, very sexually-charged and free, and whenever I listen to it, it just reminds me of being myself on my own terms.
“I think my generation feels a real closeness to Britney in terms of going through really difficult patches and still coming out the other side. Obviously I’m very open with how I’ve struggled with my mental health, and I know what it’s like to feel like you’re not coping, and I know what it’s like to get into situations where you are not coping. So to see her struggling is difficult for me, but also I feel a closeness to that. And I think that a lot of queer people feel a closeness to that. There’s a reason that she’s a gay icon, and I think it’s because she had a really raw deal, and came through it.”
Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande – Rain On Me
“Out of really difficult times, art thrives and culture thrives. And we’re going through such a tough time with the government messing up, the pandemic, all of the police brutality, the Conservatives trying to repeal trans rights. We’ve got the opportunity to bring ourselves closer, during this time. And I can see it happening again, with Lady Gaga... so I would say that Rain On Me is going to be my Pride anthem this year.
“It’s just camp as tits, isn’t it? It’s just the gayest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life. And it’s exactly what we needed. I just think Lady Gaga is fab, she’s an incredible talent, and Ariana Grande is obviously incredible too. Rain On Me is an undeniable homage to queerness. And even though we’re in tough times, and we’re being ‘rained on’, we’re still gonna make the most of it and soldier on.”
Beyoncé – Freakum Dress
“Beyoncé’s B’Day album has got a lot of amazing memories for me. It came out around the time I was just coming out of high school, but it’s timeless. I just think there’s something about Beyoncé, I’m highly suspicious of anybody who doesn’t like Beyoncé. She’s just an undeniable talent.”
Madonna – Get Together
“Confessions On A Dance Floor is a classic, it’s flawless from start to finish. I love the mixed version that just flows right the way through.
“Madonna is phenomenal in many respects, with what she’s done for women, what she’s done for queer people in terms of the conversations and expression, and I think she deserves a lot more respect than she gets these days.”
Pussycat Dolls – Buttons
“I was really excited to see Pussycat Dolls at Brighton Pride and I’m gutted that I’m not going to be able to. I was actually more excited about the Pussycat Dolls than Mariah Carey, even though I love Mariah. But the Pussycat Dolls are just fab.
“And I love how the narrative has changed with the Pussycat Dolls, now they’re a little bit older. Before they were in their twenties and thirties, and now they’re in their forties, and it’s just really great to see 40-year-old women being sexy and expressive, [it shows] that age is no longer deemed a cut-off for being the kind of woman you want to be. And obviously Nicole Scherzinger is just gorgeous.”
Spice Girls – Wannabe
“I think the Spice Girls are indicative of when I didn’t have Pride. When I was a kid, I think they were my access to being flamboyant and embracing who I was.
“They were very much my introduction to feminism as well. In terms of Girl Power – it was very much an entry level thing, but we all need to start somewhere. Geri Halliwell and Mel B were my heroes, and still are, really.”
Missy Elliott – Get Ur Freak On
“I grew up in the middle of nowhere, basically. So as soon as I came to Brighton as a teenager, and started hearing songs like Missy Elliott and Aaliyah and all these songs that I had grown up with – but didn’t have anyone to enjoy them with – out in clubs, they really just took on a new meaning for me. It just made me feel like all of that time that I’d been in isolation, I was actually connected to a community that whole time.
“And I feel like that’s what we’re going to experience when we’re all out of isolation and we can celebrate Pride. Songs like Rain On Me, that we’re listening to now while we can’t see the ones we love or our community, we’re going to experience that release.”
Carly Rae Jepsen – Run Away With Me
“It’s just iconic, isn’t it? I love a strong instrumental, and that saxophone intro is just like a gay klaxon. I’ve just got so many amazing memories of it.
“That whole Emotion album came out during a really difficult time. And I just needed an album as extremely joy-filled as that. I think I discovered it during the whole L’Oréal scandal, actually. Or just after that. But I listened to that album and it completely changed my mindset.
“It’s just unashamedly kitschy fun dance-pop, but sometimes that’s just exactly what you need. It’s not trying to be cool, and I don’t give a fuck about being cool. I think the coolest thing that you can do is be yourself, and not censor yourself. And I think that’s what it reminds me to do.”
We’ll be adding each celebrity’s song choices to our bumper My Pride Anthems playlist each day. Take a listen below:
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.