For German pop superstar Kim Petras, headlining a massive world tour and reaching wild success in the US has been a dream come true.
"I couldn't believe it. My team was freaking out, I was freaking out. And it's been really incredible so far," the 26-year-old singer told ET's Deidre Behar backstage during the Hollywood stop on her Broken Tour earlier this week. "Just seeing my fans everyday has been a lot as well, but it's been really incredible"
While her profile as a mainstream pop artist has skyrocketed in recent years, elevating her status as a musician, Petras says her increasing fame hasn't changed her own outlook, or her interactions with her devoted fans.
"I love what I do and it doesn't really feel different," she shared. "Whenever I meet a fan, I'm like really friendly. I feel like my fans are my friends so I don't really feel like anything's like changed for me."
"I've always wanted to do this so I love it… I think probably the biggest change is just that I don't have any time to do anything anymore. Like, it's just job, job, job," Petras added. "But I've always wanted it to be this way."
With her success, the young singer acknowledged that a lot of aspects of her personal life have been put on hold as she focuses on her career.
"I definitely try to call my mom as much as possible. I try to keep my family updated, but [my personal life] really is definitely on the back burner," she explained. "I've been working towards this moment of actually breaking [as an artist] my whole entire life. [So] it's all that I care about right now."
However, one aspect of her life that she's not letting fall by the wayside is her role as an advocate for the LGBTQ community, especially through her music.
"Well I'm transgender. I'm part of the community. I feel like I was born and raised in a gay club. Like all my friends are gay. I only went to gay clubs ever. My first whole era was dedicated to writing gay club classics," said Petras, who made headlines in Germany, and became the focus of intense and divisive media scrutiny, when she transitioned as a teenager.
"I just feel really passionate about transgender kids and transgender people in general. Cause I was one of them. And it was really hard," Petras shared. "It's a hard thing to go through and a hard thing to go to school with. There's a very high suicide rate which is very, very sad. And I just really care deeply."
However, the singer admitted that her openness about her gender identity and transition has been a delicate balance for her as an artist.
"In the beginning, I didn't wanna make a big deal out of it because I know that it quickly overshadows everything else. It becomes the only thing people wanna talk about. And that's really annoying," she shared. "Then you have people saying you're using your identity and your sexuality to get to places and that you don't deserve it, and you haven't worked for it. So it's a very hard balance to strike."
"That was the reason that my first covers of my music didn't have my face on them. Nobody knew I was transgender and my first song still went to No. 1 on the global viral chart on Spotify. I didn't talk about it in interviews. Like, I really did the most to just not mention it at all," Petras added. "But a lot of people were saying, 'Oh, she doesn't care about us,' and that's so far from the truth. And it sucks."
For Petras, hearing that kind of criticism from members of her own LGBTQ community was "very hurtful."
"People thought that I didn't want to be an advocate for trans people," she recalled. "So now, I don't care [about] whatever people say. If people say I'm using my story to get places or if people say whatever they want about me, I wanna be a voice for transgender people. And that's really close to my heart."
"I just wanna be me, and at the same time make music," Petras said. And I wanna be taken seriously as an artist, [while] being a trans girl at the same time."
Another major artist who has recently added her voice to the public conversation as an LGBTQ advocate and ally is Taylor Swift, whose recent single, "You Need to Calm Down," addressed her support for the community.
Reflecting on Swift's foray into the ongoing battle for LGBTQ rights, Petras explained, "I think she's such a big, huge, massive, mainstream pop star with such a broad fan base, it's amazing that she chose to support us."
Swift, however, has also faced quite a bit of criticism from skeptics who have accused the singer of trying to capitalize on being an advocate, and claim the songstress is simply trying to cash in on being an ally.
"I don't think she's doing it because of that reason. I think she truly cares," Petras said. "I think she has friends that are gay and I think its amazing that she is finally standing up for gay rights as well.
"I just think we need to treat people better and with more acceptance in the gay community and just accpet anyone who wants to support us," she added, "because there's still a long way to go for the LQBTQ community."
Petras also opened up to ET about another pop star, Paris Hilton, whom the singer has become friends with in recent years and has served as her muse in the past.
"Well, she's like the sweetest baby angel ever. Literally the sweetest person I've ever met in my life," Petras gushed. "I used to be really obsessed with The Simple Life as a kid. There's pictures with me like standing in front of my wall, which had like a bunch of Paris Hilton pictures on it."
In fact, Petras said her first single, "I Don't Want It at All," was "very inspired by her."
"And then she chose to be in the video!" Petras recalled. "I was nothing, it was my first song and [we had a] tiny budget, a tiny dressing room. But she was like, 'I love the song so much, I'm gonna be in the music video.'
"She's really supportive and really great," Petras said, adding that she would be "so down" do collaborate with Hilton on a duet in the future.
As for her immediate future, Petras said she has some big plans, and they all mean a lot of good news is on the way for her fans.
"I'm gonna go on more tours. I'm doing my European leg. Then I'm gonna come back, I think at the end of this year," Petras shared.
"I'm also gonna drop my second Halloween EP," she continued. "I have a lot of music to finish that I wanna drop. I wanna do a bunch of music videos.
"And, I mean, my like all-time goal is probably to play Madison Square Garden," she added. "Like, that's just my [ultimate] goal."
Throughout all of it, from making music to shooting videos to touring around the world, Petras' said her hope is that her music and her live performances help her fans who are struggling with their own problems and living their own lives the best that they can.
"Pop, for me, has been an escape from my life and my problems. So that's what I wanna do for my fans," Petras explained. "So I hope they can just be free and forget about their problems and have the best night of their lives."
Petras' debut studio album, Clarity, is available June 28.