The massive internet sensation from TV show Thailand’s Got Talent, Nunthita “Bell” Kampiranond, 27, tells us about her life and how she managed to seduce—and surprise—audiences with her gorgeous looks and soulful voice.

BK: Tell us about your life.
Bell:
I was born in Nakhon Ratchasima. My dad was a soldier and my mom was a nursing assistant. I have seven aunts and two sisters. I felt like I was a woman since I was young. But I never exposed my femininity until I graduated. Before that, I kept pretending to be a well-behaved boy.

BK: Why did you have to hide it?
Bell:
I didn’t know what to do. My father was really disappointed that I am like this. His family are all soldiers and he expected me to be a solidier too. He even beat me when I was in fourth grade to force me back to being a boy. I also was bullied at school, boys abused me, calling me e-tud [faggot] or katoey.

BK: When did you start singing?
Bell:
I’ve loved to sing since I was a kid. I always participated in singing contests. I even won best performance at a national singing contest.

BK: What did you do after graduating?
Bell:
I couldn’t continue college because my family didn’t have enough money. I became a singer at a pub called Dok Mai Coffee where I gained a reputation for singing in both male and female voices. It’s a selling point. That was the time that I started being myself too. I also work as a DJ and creative at G’s Radio 96.0 FM in Nakhon Ratchasima. I make a living and give money to my family. It’s been eight years now. My father feels better about me too.

BK: Why did you decide to participate in Thailand’s Got Talent?
Bell:
Anucha “Chi” Lanprasert, a scout talent who pushed Nathan Oman, told me to try. He planned it that I should dupe the audience with my girly voice then surprise them with my male tones.

BK: How do you feel about becoming a big hit worldwide now?
Bell:
I am so happy. I never expected it would be huge like this. I want to thank all the fans who support me. A fan in America even created an official website and sent me an iPod Touch with the quote “Thanks for being who you are. You make me smile,” etched on it. I am also proud that I am Thai. Thais see my talent whether I am a man or woman.

BK: Have you had sex-change surgery?
Bell:
Not yet. But I definitely will.

BK: Do you have a boyfriend?
Bell:
Yes, I do. He’s now worried that I will be too famous and meet somebody else.

BK: Any funny experiences because of your looks?
Bell:
There was a guy who came to listen to my music and chatted to me at the pub for a couple months. Once I told him that I would participate in the Miss Tiffany contest, he was in shock. He just thought that I was just a girl who had deep voice.

BK: What is your biggest dream?
Bell:
I just want to sing my own songs in front of thousands of people. That’s all I want.