close button

"I don't hold back." X Factor Judge Natalia Kills

Mar 16, 2015 Music

This story was first published in the March 2015 issue of Metro.


Every photo on Natalia Kills’ Instagram reminds us she’s beautiful. In every snap she’s wearing avant-garde get-ups and the anaesthetised pout of the fashionista. She knows it. “I like to use fashion to punctuate how very, very seriously I take myself. Very seriously.” She starts to laugh.

Kills looks like she’s got the extra­vagance of Cleopatra and the funk of Frida Kahlo. (“Frida Kahlo is a new one!” she says, “I’m not sure if I should be flattered or if I should switch from threading to waxing.”)

Life wasn’t always photogenic. In her song “Saturday Night”, a local Top 40 hit in 2013, Kills writes about domestic abuse, drug addiction and homelessness. It’s about her own life: as a teenager, her family fell from “penthouse to pavement”. Her father went to jail, they lost their money, she ditched school at 14, ran to London, then LA…

Often she was broke, often she slept on couches — this is an X Factor judge who knows what the road to fame feels like. She’s upfront about it and she’s cool with it.

“I think it’s culturally accepted to be selectively open in our ‘no filter’ generation. Plus it doesn’t just apply to me: does it bother you that all your exes borrow their friends’ laptops to find out so much about you? Or do you just accept it and keep posting things anyway, knowing you’re being spied on…?”

At 18, she was tipped to become “Britain’s Eminem”, but now she’s 28 and based in New York she sings pop, and has just finished working with Madonna on the song “Holy Water” for her new album, Rebel Heart. She’s signed with’s label, worked with David Guetta, appeared alongside Katy Perry and Bruno Mars and released two albums.

So what’s the profile now? “Whenever you think of wild flirtation, sad songs and pink champagne, think of me.”

As for judging on X Factor, she started in with some colourful comments to the audience during auditions and now she’s the edgy one. Will we see more of that?

Yep. “I don’t hold back.”


Latest issue shadow

Metro N°442 is Out Now.

In the Autumn 2024 issue of Metro we celebrate the best of Tāmaki Makaurau — 100 great things about life in Auckland, including our favourite florist, furniture store, cocktail, basketball court, tree, make-out spot, influencer, and psychic. The issue also includes the Metro Wine Awards, the battle over music technology company Serato, the end of The Pantograph Punch, the Billy Apple archives, a visit to Armenia, viral indie musician Lontalius, the state of fine dining, and the time we bombed West Auckland to kill a moth. Plus restaurants, movies, politics, astrology, and more.

Buy the latest issue