When Anitta received the invitation to her second-ever Met Gala, she knew exactly what to do: cancel the show she’d previously scheduled for the first Monday in May, and hit up her longtime pal Jeremy Scott. The two are “big, big, big friends,” the 29-year-old pop star says upon arriving to New York City, fresh off a two-week run of shows that made her the first solo Brazilian woman to ever perform at Coachella. That’s been true practically since the moment they met back home in Brazil, where she’s a pop megastar—making for her first brush with fashion heavyweights. She was still relatively new to the industry, and Scott’s designs were her gateway drug: At the time, the Moschino designer was on a SpongeBob kick, and SpongeBob just so happens to be Anitta’s favorite cartoon.
No doubt Scott would have taken her up on bringing SpongeBob to the red carpet—this is, after all, the man behind the hamburger getup that Katy Perry wore to the 2019 after parties—but the pair had something else in mind. Anitta was going to stick to the theme, Gilded Glamour, and she would branch out from the “sexy” Anitta that people are “very used to” seeing. “I don’t want to be always showing skin, every time very sexy,” she says, referring to looks like the cutout Dundas gown with a dramatic slit reaching all the way up to her waist that she wore to the event last year. “I think this time, the sexiness is going to come from inside of me.” Anitta put her faith in Scott entirely: It wasn’t until two days before she hit the red carpet that Anitta saw more than an illustration of the deep purple strapless gown he customized for her, which was dripping—fittingly, somewhat cartoonishly—with strands of pearls. (For her actual jewelry, Anitta turned to Jacob & Co. and Mikimoto, selecting a tanzanite and diamond necklace to match her dress.)
It wasn’t too long ago that many wouldn’t have recognized Anitta on the red carpet alongside the rest of the Moschino crew, which included MJ Rodriguez, Simone Ashley, and Megan Thee Stallion. (The latter joined Anitta in getting the party started early on the double-decker Moschino bus they took to the museum.) But since signing with Warner Records last year, and especially since the hit single Envolver, which is off her new trilingual album, Versions of Me, made her the first Brazilian artist to hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Global U.S. chart, Anitta is starting to become a familiar face to Americans. The same could be said in return. “I think I kind of met everyone,” Anitta says, laughing, when I ask who she’s excited to meet this year. The undeniable highlight: Rihanna, who’s made a point to stay in touch.
The purple of Anitta’s Moschino gown was a change from her high-profile appearances over the last few weeks. When onstage at Coachella, she very intentionally stuck to yellow, blue, and green, the national colors of Brazil. It was more of a political statement than the crowds may have realized: Last election season, President Jair Bolsonaro—Anitta, a vocal critic, describes him as “a worse version of Trump”—attempted to transform the Brazilian flag from a symbol of support for the country into one for himself. “People were avoiding wearing the colors, and I was like, You know what? No. The flag belongs to Brazil and to all Brazilians—it doesn’t matter which president you want to support,” she says, her passion palpable. “[My fans] know I’m super against this government right now, so when they saw me wearing the Brazilian flag colors, they were like, Okay, we can come back to wearing our flag, our jersey, again. That was my intention, and it worked.”
But when it came to the Met Gala, Anitta knew she could make a statement by simply attending, no matter what color she wore. It’s why she knew her fans wouldn’t begrudge her for skipping out on Carnival, where she’s performed so many times before: “I think right now, with Brazilian culture, the audience and everything understands the importance of me being at an event like this, bringing the country and my career to this spotlight,” she says. “I always use my career to change things that I believe in, in society and in the country itself. So I think they won’t be mad at me—they understand the importance of that.”
Of course, attending the Met Gala works in Anitta’s favor as well. Not only does she get to party with Scott; she also gets the chance to make it so that next time, it won’t be a designer who’s on her arms. (Not that she’s ever opposed to spending time with Scott.) “I’m single for some time now,” she says. After a pause, she laughs: “Maybe we find a date [on Monday]. That would be amazing.”