The revolutionary pop star on coming out, Girls Like Girls and being dubbed the “Lesbian Jesus”
BY ROXY BOURDILLON
It’s official. Girls Like Girls and Girls Love Hayley Kiyoko.
This super talented, super gorgeous, super gay singer is queering the musical landscape like never before, making us feel all kinds of seen and represented AND filling our ears with dreamy pop perfection. I just can’t get enough of her brand new album Expectations and, of course, her stunning, sapphic music videos.
In a recent Q&A at a New York gig, attended by AfterEllen, Hayley opened up about her career, her sexuality and much, much more.
She spoke about her journey to self-confidence and cited breakthrough single Girls Like Girls as “a turning point”. “I released this video and I didn’t put myself in it. I wanted to focus on the story and the topic and the conversation. And then after that, I was like ‘Oh, I’m not being judged. This is cool.’ And then I released another music video and I’m making out with a girl and I wasn’t judged and I was like ‘Ok, I’ll do that again!’”
She described how as time has gone on she’s become even braver, admitting, “It’s really been a gradual thing where I release a music video and I push the boundaries a little more and then every time I start to love myself even more and feel really comfortable with who I am.”
But being queer in the music biz hasn’t always been a walk in the Pride parade. Hayley divulged some secrets from her girl group past. “If we’re going to be really honest, I felt very uncomfortable because I felt like I had to sell sex. I felt like I had to be very feminine, that I had to attract men to be successful in the music industry. That was really hard for me because that wasn’t an interest of mine.”
Luckily for Hayley (and us!) once she left the group to focus on her solo music, she felt far more able to be her true, queer, perfcet self. “I realised the confidence within. I could wear a T-shirt and pants and look like a boy, but still look like a girl and feel confident and love myself. And that takes times, it takes maturity.”
Always happy to help, she shared some sage coming out wisdom and recollected her own experience with coming out to her mum. “If you don’t get a good reaction, don’t feel like the world is going to end, because it’s not. You’re not alone and there is room for growth in everyone. My mom, for example. She didn’t react the best and you know, two months ago I was figuring out this music video and I was like ‘Aw, Mom you helped me out with this lesbian story. That’s so sweet.’ And she was like, ‘No honey, it’s just a love story between two people.’ And I was like, ‘She’s growing! She gets it!’ So if people don’t get it, that’s their personal struggle that they have to go through but just know that you are worth everything.”
In this fantastic, truly-bummed-I-missed-it In Convo With, Hayley disclosed what she thinks of being dubbed “Lesbian Jesus” by her fans. Turns out, at first she didn’t quite get it. “I’m gonna be honest with you, I’m not in-the-hip, in-the-know of the cute words that you young people use, like ‘shook’, so I thought all of you guys were calling people Lesbian Jesus. Then I realised it was only happening to me! It’s become a wild thing. It’s the highest honour. I’m very humbled by it and you know, it’s nice to have a nickname. I’ll take Lesbian Jesus.”
Listen to Hayley’s album Expectations here: hayleykiyokoofficial.com/music