- By Ruby MellenRuby Mellen is a fellow at Foreign Policy with a background in TV, print, and digital journalism. Before coming to FP, she covered the 2016 election as a news associate at CNN in Washington, D.C., working on State of the Union with Jake Tapper. Prior to that, she was a politics fellow at the Huffington Post. She was born in New York and is a dual citizen of Belgium and the United States.
Croatia can now claim the world’s beloved muse for teen angst and heartbreak as one of its newest citizens. Lorde is a New Zealand-born singer/songwriter who has won multiple Grammys and become one of the youngest solo artists to top international music charts. Now, she can add Croatian citizen to her growing list of accomplishments.
The popstar, whose real name is Ella Yelich-O’Connor, casually announced her recent naturalization on the podcast WTF with Marc Maron.
“My mother is Croatian — there are actually like a 100,000 [Croatians living in New Zealand], a lot have been there for a long time,” she said. “So yeah I’m Croatian. I got Croatian citizenship,” she added.
While Croatian law says that in order for Lorde to become a citizen through her mother she would have had to be registered by the time she was 18, the 20-year-old popstar is the first to admit her high profile may have helped her get around certain requirements.
“I got [citizenship] from I think like being a bit of a fancy, famous Croatian. I think they hooked me up, so to speak,” she said.
Croatian citizenship gives the young ingenue access to good wine and beautiful beaches, but it also gives the New Zealander EU citizenship, giving her entrée to live and work in any EU-bloc country, a privilege many more are striving for in the wake of the United Kingdom’s plans to depart from the EU. While for some a passport is a badge of honor, for others it’s a ticket to economic stability.
Lorde is not the first star to snag an unexpected passport. Steven Seagal was given Russian citizenship by President Vladimir Putin after their friendship blossomed. Citing “exceptional circumstances,” New Zealand granted Peter Thiel citizenship after the tech-magnate spent just 12 days in the country, and Cambodia awarded Angelina Jolie Cambodian citizenship for her humanitarian efforts in the region.
According to the New Zealand government, New Zealand and Croatia share many things: New Zealand exports mutton and molluscs to Croatia, and in return, the Adriatic country exports electrical transformers, “self-adhesive plastic items,” and soup to the Kiwi land. Now they share Lorde too.
Photo credit: PHIL WALTER/Getty Images
Sept. 12, 2017 Update: This article has been updated to clarify the law on Croatian citizenship.