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Big Freedia: Twerking Girl Turned Storyteller

Big Freedia

In God Save the Queen Diva, discover how she went from 'sissy' to star.

In her new memoir, God Save the Queen Diva(Gallery Books, $24.99), Big Freedia chronicles her transformation from Freddie, a "fat sissy" growing up in a bad neighborhood in New Orleans, to the twerking bounce sensation and reality TV star she is today. Whether detailing the highs (Freddie's principal once called his mother to complain his hair was too tall and distracting) or the lows (the musician was trapped on a roof for two days during Hurricane Katrina), Freedia's tales pop as much as the booty that made her famous. We checked in.

Out: Your mother, Ms. V.--the "original queen diva"--once told you that hip-hop wasn't a place for gay men. What do you make of that now?

Big Freedia: It's definitely changing. There's a level of acceptance for gay people in hip-hop culture that just wasn't there before. Tons of artists are reaching out to me now. And more are coming out, which is really changing things.

What are your hopes for this book?

This book is about some of the struggles I had growing up in New Orleans, decisions I had to make in my career, and all the times God saved me. I want it to be an inspiration. I hope that people are able to connect with situations I've been in and relate to the ways I've dealt with them.

If you'd had access to a book like this growing up, do you think it would have helped?

I think so, because back then there was no one to look up to. I had to do it on my own, teach myself how to think and act--I didn't have the help kids have today. I wasn't encouraged to see things in a different light.

What advice would you give to a kid who gets picked on--who doesn't fit in?

When I was small, I'd just flip it. People would call me names, and I would be so nice--that really messed them up. They'd be like, "Oh, you fat sissy," and I'd just say, "Thank you!" with a nice, big smile and keep on going. A lot of times just killing people with kindness-that's what you gotta do.

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