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How to be Visibly Radiant — Our Q+A with Pride Luminary Gottmik

This year's PRIDE Luminary for the Philia candle is Gottmik (𝒉𝒆/𝒉𝒊𝒎 𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒐𝒇 𝒅𝒓𝒂𝒈 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒔𝒉𝒆/𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒊𝒏 𝒅𝒓𝒂𝒈). Kade Gottlieb (Gottmik when in drag) is an American drag performer and makeup artist. Gottlieb gained his notoriety after becoming the first trans man to compete as Gottmik on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

KADE GOTTLIEB (GOTTMIK) by Santiago Sierra Soler.

ON PHILIA — "It smells really gorge, like honestly, GORGE. This candle is definitely full of gender — genderful." —GOTTMIK

KADE GOTTLIEB (GOTTMIK) clasping the PHILIA scented candle. Shot by Santiago Sierra Soler.


In this image —

Pride Philia $39


"Being queer in 2021 means everything to me. It just means visibility, it means light, it means community. We're on the road of acceptance on such a mainstream level, and we are such a loud, visible fighting community that I feel like we are making great strides, and we are on such a great path, and I'm ready to fight my ass off to get this, even more doors opened than there already are."

The editorial campaign for PHILIA. Shot by Santiago Sierra Soler.

What is something you used to feel guilty about that you are now proud of?

I grew up being guilty about just being myself. I literally thought that because I had this feminine side, that I was not a valid trans man, and I thought I could not be who I was always meant to be, and when I just woke up and realized that that makes no sense, and this box that I thought society was putting me in didn't exist — I just took the steps and put myself first, and now it's my favorite thing about me. How I'm so open and authentic — and I would never look back. It's so crazy to think I ever felt guilty about that.

What do you smell like?

I feel like if I were designing a scent that is just 100% Gottmik — I feel like it would be a very fruity, happy scent. It would be so cute. Not just floral — it'd be bubbly and happy, but then it would be like spicy too, because I feel like that's my personality. I'm like all happy, but then I have a little bit of a kick at the end, mama.

When do you feel your most radiant?

I feel so radiant when I get to be on stage and I get to meet all the people that are supporting me in my journey, in my drag and have helped me get to where I am today, but I also feel like just myself. Every day that I become more and more comfortable with myself out of drag, like I'm just so radiant — just like being here right now talking to you guys out of drag. Like, it's so cool that I'm doing that. I wouldn't have been able to do that a few years ago. So, it's really major for me.

What does community mean to you?

Community is just strength and power and love — it's just your fighting army behind you to support you while you be your most authentic self and tell your story, and be the person that another queer kid needs to see out there. So, yes, it's an army of angels that you need.

Why is sharing important?

Sharing is so important to me, and it has become more important to me now after being on the show because I was just so open about my story and just so down to, to tell everything about my life and my journey on that show. And then now my DMs and every time I meet people, they're just expressing to me that they had never seen someone like me on TV, and they needed that, and my journey helps them realize something about their gender or their sexuality or their artistic self, and it's just so crazy that me going out and telling my story publicly has helped so many people. Until the day I die, I will be the most sharing, open, honest person alive because if I can just speak and help someone, it's just the most amazing thing in the world.

Who are you fighting for — what’s your agenda?

My agenda is truly just to keep breaking down these barriers that society has put up for the queer community. We are such a strong, powerful community full of such amazing artists and human beings. The fact that we are still fighting for equality is just crazy to me — so I am just going to uplift as many trans and queer and gender non-binary voices as I can, because the fact that I am just a white male that has opened so many doors, like imagine what's gonna happen when we get to uplift trans women of color and have them tell their stories, and on the same level. That's just all I want to fight for because if I have changed a lot of people's minds, I just can't even imagine the stories out there that are gonna break down the most barriers that could ever be broken.

What are you attracted to?

I don't know — I feel like when I think of attraction, I think of like sex and flirty vibes. I guess attraction is like sensual, gorge? I'm attracted to good vibes. I'm attracted to happiness and people just being — just being themselves. I love love.


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Date —

June 28, 2021