Is Chappell Roan the next big queer pop icon?

Pop fans have declared Missouri singer-songwriter and “Good Luck, Babe!” star Chappell Roan as the music industry’s next big queer icon following her stellar Coachella set.

The 26-year-old star, whose real name is Kayleigh Rose Amstutz, made waves on social media over the weekend after she gave a particularly sapphic performance at the California music festival

In one moment that has since gone viral, she gave a shout out to her ex-girlfriend while performing as she knew she’d be sitting at home, alone, watching.

Chappell’s set came during what some fans have dubbed the festival’s “gaychella” year, due to the huge number of queer women on the line-up, including Reneé Rapp. It’s likely one of the reasons that she seems to have gained a fair few fans since her performance.

It’s the most recent highlight in her big ascension to fame over the past year, following the release of her debut album The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess last September.

Amstutz, who has said that she uses the Chappell Roan moniker to showcase “the larger-than-life, drag queen version of” herself, appears to have seen her fanbase explode in recent weeks after becoming the opening act for Olivia Rodrigo on her GUTS tour.

Then, at the beginning of the month, she made history by becoming the first lesbian to kiss Olivia Rodrigo on the cheek and give a lecture at Harvard University all in one day. She’s also taken over TikTok with her viral dance to 2023 song “Hot To Go”, and by unapologetically bashing men in several now much-shared videos.

Now that is a multi-talent.

Not only is she viral, she’s contagious too: a recently shared graphic on social media suggests that she has more than quadrupled the number of fans listening to her on Spotify in the few months since last November. 

The pop songstress identifies as queer, and has previously spoken openly about her tricky journey to living her life authentically. 

In a conversation with The Guardian in December, she recalled growing up “thinking being gay was bad and a sin.”

However, that changed after she moved to Los Angeles. “I went to the gay club and it was so impactful, like magic. It was the opposite of everything I was taught,” she shared, adding that the experience inspired one of her biggest hits to-date, “Pink Pony Club”.

Despite being dubbed one of the most exciting queer superstars to come about in recent years, she’s previously spoken about how she struggled to find her place in the LGBTQ+ community.

“I think what I really struggle with, and still, is ‘being gay enough’,” she once told PopBuzz, adding: “Sometimes I just feel, like, do I belong in the queer community?”

Chappell Roan
Chappell Roan tells PinkNews about her religious upbringing, drag bans and why queer expression is so important. (Supplied)

Both in interviews and through her music, she’s explained that she spent a lot of her youth fantasising about being with women, even while dating men. It took her a while until her first kiss with a woman took place, but since then, she’s chronicled the highs and lows of being in same-sex relationships, most recently through new single “Good Luck, Babe!”.

Last year, ahead of the release of The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess, she spoke exclusively to PinkNews about why she feels it’s so important to give back to the queer community that has embraced her.

“Otherwise, to me, what’s the point?” she declared. “This job is never paid well. I’ve worked for free for years, and it’s never been for the money.

“It’s just your duty as an artist to f**king do your part. Especially if you’re profiting off queer people, you best be giving back, they are loyal.”

Part of giving back involved inviting local drag performers to open for her on all her recent tour dates, and donating some of the profits from her shows to support Black trans people through charity, For The Gworls.