The coming of Hayley Kiyoko, lesbian pop star
From Disney Channel actor to singer-songwriter, Hayley Kiyoko is now on her way to becoming the first lesbian pop star.
Kiyoko– whose community of fans have dubbed as the “Lesbian Jesus”– attributed the direction of her career to many things, but cited pop star Katy Perry’s song, “I Kissed a Girl” as inspiration
She also loves her fans, saying in an interview with NewNowNext: “I’m honored that people can relate to me because I feel like I have been looking and searching for a community of people I can relate to my whole life.”
Hayley Kiyoko: Starting out young
Born on 3 April 1991 in Los Angeles, California, Hayley Kiyoko is the daughter of actor/ comedian Jamie Alcroft and figure skater and choreographer Sarah Kawahara.
Kiyoko has mixed lineage: her mother, while of Japanese ancestry, is from Canada, while her father is from Ohio but has German, Welsh, English, and Scottish ancestry.
Starting dance lessons as a child led Kiyoko to start as a child model and actress, appearing in commercials like GM Onstar, Slim Jim, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
She also started drum lessons at the age of 6, writing up drum charts and selling them in local music stores by 11 years old.
Nickolodeon discovered at the Culver City Ice Rink, which led her to be part of a short piece on children in sports. She got her first agent by the 7th grade.
Later on, she had guest star roles on Nickelodeon’s Unfabulous in 2004.
Hayley Kiyoko in the spotlight
Hayley Kiyoko worked her way up, starting with being a member of a five all-girl singing-and-dancing group called the Stunners in 2007.
This group had an EP with a video that debuted on Cartoon Network in 2009, and toured as Justin Bieber’s opening act in the summer of 2010. The group disbanded in 2011.
She appeared on Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place in 2007 and starred as Velma Dinkley in the TV movie Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins in 2009.
She reprised her role in Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster in 2010, and starred in the Disney Channel movie Lemonade Mouth.
She also had roles in the Lifetime Channel’s TV movie Blue Lagoon: The Awakening, ABC Family’s The Fosters, CSI: Cyber, the Netflix movie XOXO, Universal’s Jem and the Holograms, Insidious: Chapter 3, and the CW series The Vampire Diaries.
On the music side, she released her debut EP, A Belle to Remember, in 2013, which was partially crowdfunded. She released her second EP, This Side of Paradise, in 2015, which had the single and video “Girls Like Girls.”
In 2016, she released songs and videos from her next EP, Citrine. She released her debut studio album, Expectations, in 30 March 2018.
Hayley Kiyoko as ‘Lesbian Jesus’
So, here’s a serious question: is Hayley Kiyoko the real thing? Is she really the ‘Lesbian Jesus’ as her fans contend?
Kiyoko has admitted that she knew she was gay when she was still seven, having a crush on a teacher by then. That’s why when she first heard Katy Perry sing “I kissed a girl just to try it,” she was ecstatic.
“It was a very exciting moment. Of course, I wished that it was a gay girl singing, but I was like, ‘That’s gonna be me’,” she told The Guardian.
For a time, she still tried to hide who she was– especially with Disney. But she got tired, so she decided to be true to herself: “I wrote for the first time how I truly feel about girls.”
That’s when she first came out with her 2015 single “Girls Like Girls.” With her success, Atlantic signed her up to produce Citrine.
Kiyoko now hopes that with her queer songs that helped her accept herself, her community of fans will also accept themselves.
“That’s the whole reason for doing pop music and being in the mainstream and being bold: trying to showcase not [being] scared,” she said.
Check out her latest song, “Curious,” below: