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Gender Is a Construct. Christine and the Queens Built a Bulldozer.

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She started writing a new album — a new chapter in the life of Christine — about a woman she described as “horny, hungry and ambitious,” with a masculine mien, now going by the name Chris. The album, also called “Chris,” is to be released on Sept. 21.

“When I compared my situation with some male rock stars, I was really interested in how different the feeling was,” Ms. Letissier, 30, said in an interview in English this summer in a Lower East Side hotel, while she was visiting for an industry showcase and to perform the new album’s lead single, “Girlfriend,” on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” “For men, with success comes power, admiration and respect. But when you’re a woman and you succeed, people either question your authorship immediately, or you get accused of being bossy, bitchy or capricious.”

In April of last year, she sat for her first photo session as Chris, for a spread in the cult French magazine Ego├»ste. By that time, Ms. Letissier had fully conceived the new persona and written an essay about it. After makeup and wardrobe — she wore a crisp white oxford shirt and loosefitting black trousers — she felt transformed. So she was surprised when the photographer, the high-fashion maven Paolo Roversi, objected.

“He was like: ‘Why don’t you want to be totally Chris? I don’t get it,”’ she recalled. Ms. Letissier looked like Chris from the neck down, he said, but her hair, then an undulating bob, was still Christine.

Mr. Roversi suggested that she cut it. Ms. Letissier, ambushed in the moment by latent insecurity, resisted. “My jaw is a bit square,” she murmured.


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