The Queen of Queens
Victor Barreiro

Martha Ivelisse Pesante Rodríguez is how you’d find her listed on her birth certificate, but music lovers around the globe know her as Ivy Queen. This multiple Latin Grammy nominee is responsible for such chart-topping songs as “Quiero Bailar,” “Te He Querido, Te He Llorado” and “La Vida Es Asi,” and those are just to name a few. Ivy will soon grace the stage as she travels across the United States for her first-ever gay tour, thanks to Granda Entertainment and Club Papi. Los Angeles will get its chance to see her up close and personal when she takes the stage at Circus Disco Nightclub on Sunday, Feb. 16. On a personal note, late last year the songstress and her husband Puerto Rican choreographer, Xavier Sanchez, welcomed their first child together. I recently chatted with The Queen of Reggaeton about her new role as a mother, the upcoming tour and what the gay community really means to her.


Congratulations on the newest addition to your family! How is motherhood?
I’m in love. It’s like you really fall in love for the first time. I want to be with her. I don’t mind if I am tired, waking up in the middle of the night to feed her. I have always wanted to have a baby, but then I gave up on the idea. God has blessed me with her. She was supposed to be born on Dec. 3, but she was born early.

So Thanksgiving 2013 was extra special.
Extremely. You have no idea. We had so much fun in the hospital. We were there having our dinner, sharing with the nurses and doctors. We didn’t mind that we were in the hospital. We were celebrating her life. She was born healthy.

Will your daughter travel with you when you go on tour?
Of course I will take her with me. She has to see what I do.

Speaking of tours, what can we expect when you kick off your gay club tour with Club Papi and Granda Entertainment?
First of all, I am so happy that I said yes to Granda and to accept this tour. This is something that I’ve been wanting to do for so long. I finally sat down with Joe and I said, “I want to do something for the gay community. They always support me.” All of my best friends are gay. This is a tribute for the love that they have shown me. I said, “We got to do it. We have to do it big. I am not going to go to one club and that’s it. We have to travel around because the pride family is huge.” We sat down and talked about business and I am so glad that it’s happening. I want to have fun. I won’t be dropping from a big space ship from the top of the club, but I am going to make sure that the guys have fun and that they sing along with me. I am trying to incorporate with my husband, since he is a choreographer, we are trying to incorporate different drag queens from the U.S. I am a huge fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race and basically I want to have a drag queen at every city that I will be visiting.

And what about the outfits that we will see you wearing onstage?
We are thinking a lot about the fashion statement. I will do different type of clothing. I still haven’t chosen which pieces, but I will be hitting up my closet and hitting up my stylists. I will definitely be bringing shoes, honey, because I am all about shoes.

You are no stranger to the gay community, as you’ve performed at gay Pride in Los Angeles and Long Beach. What is it about the gay community that strikes a chord with you?
They feel free … that freedom that allows you to say what you feel even though if it hurts somebody when you’re telling the truth. Another thing is that they are so brilliant. They are so talented. I know a lot of makeup artists, painters, stylists that are so creative. I have friends that do clothing. They are happy and are celebrating life. That is what I love about them. I’ve been in a straight club with my husband and we’re getting it on, kissing each other. We open a magazine the next day and we’re there. If you go to a gay club and you feel free, I squeeze my husband and my husband squeezes me, nobody cares because we are celebrating life and we’re celebrating love. I’m telling you the truth because it happened to me. I love to be in a gay club with my husband because we are dancing and we’re free. That is what I love about them, the freedom of being who you are. That is why I love them so much. They support me.

What would you like to say to your gay fans?
Thank you for all of the love that they have shown me through Facebook, Twitter everywhere they send me love. They congratulated me about my daughter’s birth. They loved my baby’s name and said, “That’s the gayest name you could choose.” It’s my daughter, the daughter of The Queen, she cannot be less than that. She needs a name, honey. Of course, I want them to be there with me in every city and in every club that I’ll be visiting. So, basically I just want them to be free that night that I’ll be performing in the club. Sing along, be you. I don’t mind the nakedness because we were born naked, honey.

You are one to always watch out for the on the red carpet as you know how to make a fashion statement.  Where does your fashion sense come from?
I am all about mood. Sometimes I change my hair color and people don’t understand it, but as long as I feel good with myself and I stand in front of the mirror and I love it, I go with it. I just dyed my hair back to blonde, but I loved the burgundy that I used to have on. I’m having a hard time with the color that I am going to have for the tour.  

You’ve released so many popular songs.  Which one would you say always gets the crowd moving?
It depends on the city. I think it has to be “Te He Querido, Te He Llorado.” Everywhere I go, when they hear the beat, it’s on. People start to scream, they start to record and say, “This song is for you … whatever you did to me.” Revenge.

You’re known as the Queen of Reggaeton.  What does that mean to you?
It’s a huge title, but it’s a title that I have worked so hard for. I didn’t expect it. I have always said that I support the ladies who do the music that I have done. It’s a hardcore business because it’s ruled by guys. I had to think like a man to survive in this industry. The title doesn’t go to my head. I am honored and so proud with what has happened. I’m still going to work hard. Now my daughter is here and if she wants to be a part of the music scene then I will support her. If she doesn’t want to then I will support that as well. I just want my daughter to be free, but to know that mommy is a huge figure and has always represented the Latina community.

Last year you made your acting debut in The Vagina Monologues. Is there talk about returning to acting perhaps in a film or on a TV series?
That’s not my main focus, but I have always said that if acting comes to me, I want to be the bad bitch. I don’t want to be the one crying over love. When The Vagina Monologues producers came to me, I loved the idea because it was talking about all types of females and trying to make it fun, but at the same time empowering women. I told the producer and director that they needed to let me flip the script to a point where I felt comfortable with it. They were trying to tell me that I had to talk a certain way and I said no. I want them [the audience] to be able to listen. The only way that I am going to get their attention is by being me and not by having a different accent that they want me to have. I loved it. We did two shows on the same day. It was packed, which I loved. The other actors were so supportive. When I finished I just had to sit down and write another monologue. It was a beautiful experience. I would do it again for sure. Papi, it was off the hook. We tried to portray the female’s perspective. The period days, the days that you have to go to the gynocologist, all that type of shit. Everybody was laughing. You could feel the vibe. The truth is that women go through so much shit.

How is Detras Del Glamour going?
I have so many notebooks with notes around my house. I have always been honest and I was trying to focus on honesty and what it means when they call you “Diva” or when the call you “Queen” they think about money and not what you go through. That’s why I put the title Detras Del Glamourbecause it’s not all glam. I had to stop it because I know about writing, but I don’t know about going to an editorial or getting somebody to print the book. I want my story to be out because if one day I die … when every artist dies people write books from their perspective. That they were either this, they tell a story. Sometimes they alter half of the story. I want to be able, that when I am alive, to write the truth about what I have gone through in music, in love, being a woman, what I have gone through when I was called a drag queen and that I was born a man. I want to be able to say it … to say what I feel about it … to say the truth. When I die anybody can write anything about me. It will be a great book. It’s all about motivation. Where I come from I didn’t have luxuries, this great life or Louboutin shoes. I have them now because I worked hard.

You are very open about struggles from your past and about the struggles you face today. What is something that helps get you through those moments?
I read a lot. I read Osho. It’s about being honest to yourself. I always talk to my husband about things. We are friends. I always give people advice. When I give advice it’s because I went through it. I try to have people avoid making the same mistakes. Mistakes we all make because we’re human. We are not perfect. Silence is important to me. It’s important to have silence either in your house for one hour or half-an hour. You need to go through the process of silence because that’s’ when you have time to let your mind go. It’s important to control your mind. The mind is so powerful that it will let it happen. If you say I’m broke and the money is not going to show up, that’s exactly what is going to happen. That’s why I believe in energy. The energy that you put in your mind, you put it in your heart and for some reason the universe will make it happen. I’m telling you because I had a baby. You don’t know how many times I went to doctors saying that I wasn’t meant to be a mother. Be grateful of any little thing that comes your way. I use to celebrate my birthday by spending thousands and thousands of dollars. The best birthday ever that I‘ve had was the simplest one. My husband brought all of my friends and family together in front of the beach. It didn’t cost that much.

What would you say is your guilty pleasure?
Honey, shoes. I am a shoeaholic. I see shoes and I go crazy!

Where do you hope to be in five years?
I just want to be on planet Earth. I just want to be alive, involved in music. Music is my life. Without fans I would not have oxygen. They are my oxygen. I will be working hard. God has the time of everybody in his hands. I’ll be the queen that I am doing music.

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