Meet Petra Collins: The Creative Genius Behind Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Brutal’

Her aesthetic is taking over.
Loading the player...

Olivia Rodrigo’s new music video for brutal has dropped and fans are obsessed with the 2000s vibe, filters and all that teenage angst. It’s quite the cocktail.

So just who is behind this increasingly popular aesthetic???

Petra Collins.

WATCH: Olivia Rodrigo’s brutal music video – directed by Petra Collins

If that name rings a bell, it may be because Petra, 28, also directed Olivia’s good 4 u music video.

Or it may because she has been featured in the MoMa, was the face of Gucci in 2016, photographed Kim Kardashian for Wonderland magazine, etc.

Yeah… her resume is very intimidating, and we’ve done a deep dive below.

Scroll on for everything you want to know about the artist, model, director and more.

Just who is Petra Collins? (Credit: Getty)

Who is Petra Collins?

According to Business of Fashion, “Petra Collins is an artist, model and photographer whose distinct aesthetic has made her one of the leading voices of the movement many are calling New-Wave Feminism”.

How old is Petra Collins?

Petra was born on December 21st, 1992, making her 28 years old. And a Sagittarius.

In an interview with The Talks, Petra revealed she is constantly being discredited because of her age.

“It’s so funny because in the art world, people are usually like, ‘You’re too young’, ‘You’re a woman’, or ‘You haven’t had enough experience’. I’m so used to it. It sucks when your ideas are treated like they’re not valid.”

Petra directed Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘brutal’ and ‘good 4 u’ music videos. (Credit: Instagram)

Where was Petra Collins born?

The photographer was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, where she studied artistic criticism and curatorial practice at the Ontario College of Art and Design for two years. She eventually ended up moving to New York when she was 20, later telling HIGHSNOBIETY she has a “naïve” view of fame.

“When I moved to New York, I still had that beautiful, naïve view of it. I was blind to [my work] being, not used against me, but used for capital gain…. When I was creating it, I felt I was doing something important, or something that would change the world. And so now, I’m like, ‘What the f**k kind of monster did I create?'”

What has Petra Collins done in her career?


At just 28 years old, Petra has an overwhelmingly long list of achievements in the art world, making waves when it comes to female-gaze photography.

When she was 17, Petra made a website called The Arduous where female artists could question contemporary understandings of femininity. Since then, she’s been featured and curated in over a dozen shows, including in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Tate Modern in London, and more.

In 2013, after Petra posted a photo of herself unwaxed in a bikini to Instagram, her account was removed from the platform. Following this, the now-28-year-old penned a piece for The Huffington Post entitled Why Instagram Censored My Body to discuss how women’s bodies are misogynistically policed online.

“To those who reported me, to those who are disgusted by my body, to those who commented ‘horrible’ or ‘disgusting’ on an image of ME, I want you to thoughtfully dissect your own reaction to these things, please think about WHY you felt this way, WHY this image was so shocking, WHY you have no tolerance for it. Hopefully you will come to understand that it might not be you thinking these things but society telling you how to think.”

WATCH: Olivia Rodrigo’s good 4 u video – directed by Petra Collins (Article continues after video)

Loading the player...

A year later, Petra had her first solo exhibition called Discharge which, like her initial Instagram post, strived to portray a more authentic view of girlhood and womanhood.

She has also notably shot covers for Vogue, The New York Times, as well as shooting Kim Kardashian for Wonderland.

Petra told Toronto Life in 2017 that the latter experience was “super fun”.

“I always make sure I understand my subjects and get really intimate with them. It was cool to shoot something so personal with someone so public. She was really easy to get along with and super sweet. She was also down for anything, which I really appreciated. It’s hard for celebrities to let go and let an artist take over, but that’s what I’ve got to do.”


Chosen by creative director Alessandro Michele to be the face of Gucci in 2016, Petra Collins walked in their Milan fashion show that same year. She has also featured in a Calvin Klein campaign and even scored herself a supporting role in Amazon’s TV series, Transparent.

Artist, model, actor and director… Petra does it all. (Credit: Getty)


Because artist, model and actor are simply not enough talent… Petra is also a director.

From directing Gucci, Adidas and Nordstrom adverts, to a three-part documentary series about young people entitled Making Space, to directing music videos for Carly Rae Jepsen, Cardi B and, of course, Olivia Rodrigo, Petra has quite a few highlights on her filmmaking resume.

When it comes to Olivia, Petra directed both the 18-year-old’s good 4 u music video, as well as her latest project, brutal.

Upon announcing the new video, Olivia deemed her friend Petra a “genius” on Twitter, while adding she “constantly inspires (her)” on Instagram.

Fans have revered the videos for their unique 2000s aesthetic shot in an overt female gaze.

As one fan aptly put in the YouTube comments section of the brutal music video: “Nothing more iconic than an Olivia Rodrigio x Petra Collins collab 🤧💖💖.”

And it seems that Petra is keen to do more directing in her time.

“I come from such a film background, and I’ve always loved movies. Eventually, I’d love to direct a feature film,” she told Toronto Life in 2017. Just imagine a Petra Collins film shot in the female-gaze… we absolutely need this.

Can’t get enough Olivia Rodrigo content? Check out the articles below!

Olivia Rodrigo’s Best Outfit Dupes That Will Give You Déjà Vu

Do Critics & Stans *Actually* Agree On Olivia Rodrigo’s Brutal Music Video?

Olivia Rodrigo Loves A Good Kilt… And So Should You

Olivia Rodrigo Just Made History… Again

Here’s What’s *Really* Going On Between Olivia Rodrigo & Joshua Bassett

Olivia Rodrigo’s Album Sour Is A Timely Testament To A Sad Girl’s Power

Olivia Rodrigo & Rumoured BF Adam Faze Are “Really Cute” Actually

We Bow Down To Olivia Rodrigo’s Outfit To Meet The President 

God, it’s brutal out here. (Credit: Instagram)

Hey girl! Want more fashion, beauty, health and pop culture news from Girlfriend?

Follow us on Instagram @girlfriendmag & turn ON our post notifications in the top right-hand corner of our IG profile so you never miss a post

Sign up to our weekly newsletter

Remember to add our homepage to your favourites https://www.girlfriend.com.au/

Related stories