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I’m a woman and I love myself and I love other women, and some of those women are really good-looking! Even at a young age, her work ethic was inspiring. Surprisingly, it didn’t seem to take that long for the world to take Kiyoko seriously, too.

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HAYLEY KIYOKOA multi-talented Japanese-American actress, pop singer, and songwriter. Inside, 27-year-old Hayley Kiyoko – dubbed Lesbian Jesus” by her fans – awaits. She poses and talks with the lucky ones who paid for meet-and-greet photo ops with the rising star. They ask for prom poses, Ring Pop proposals and cheek kisses (to which Kiyoko politely declines). It’s typical pop awe and excitement, with many teenage participants screaming and smiling from ear-to-ear as they go back to their friends.

Like many other first rate pop stars – Ariana Grande, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera – Hayley Kiyoko’s break came in the world of children’s telly. As a kid she was spotted at an ice rink by Nickelodeon, and presented a short segment about her favourite hobby, titled I’m Hayley, a Skater. Disappointingly, it was not a tribute to I’m Amy, and I’m an indie” , but it was Kiyoko’s first time in front of a camera. She carried on acting throughout her teens – saying it was a way to support her musical ambitions – and formed a garage band called Hede in 2007. They played a few shows and released one single called ‘Warehouse’ before disbanding.

She received the “Rising Star” award at the 2018 Billboard Women in Music Awards on December 6, 2018. 5 The award was previously also awarded to singers Colbie Caillat, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Carly Rae Jepsen, Ariana Grande, etc. whose careers have continued to grow enormously after receiving the award. Moreover, the award marked Kiyoko’s first award that she received on stage.

HK: Because I feel like if I was in it, you would be watching Hayley in a video. You wouldn’t just be watching two girls in a story. And I really wanted people to just fall in love with the story and listen to the words.

I think what I mean is that a lot of times, the way lesbians are portrayed ends up being something created for the male eye. So that’s why I was saying this isn’t something I’m doing to be sexy ― this is who I am. But at the same time, I’m not saying that I can’t be sexy. I’m a woman and I love myself and I love other women, and some of those women are really good-looking! Laughs. I should be able to feel sexy as well. I think that’s what’s been cool about performing this past year ― really feeling sexy and really feeling confident in myself.

My goal was to create an album that you could listen to from beginning to end that you enjoy and that you didn’t have to skip a track, and that it was a full piece of music and work that was just enjoyable and fun to listen to. And potentially visual. That was my goal going into the first album. And you know, there’s a lot of pressure with your first. You want it to be the best it possibly can be, and so I really gave her my all, and I’m really proud of it. I encourage people to listen to it because I love it so much.

Despite putting out EPs since 2013, Kiyoko became a breakout pop star and queer icon in 2018 — or #20GAYTEEN as she and her fans would say — upon releasing her debut album Expectations.” Mixing her foundational love of ‘90s boy-band pop with the more contemporary club buzz of electro-R&B, she sang both openly queer love songs and songs about dating women who aren’t comfortable with being out. In addition to music, Kiyoko also has a flourishing acting career, notably starring in CSI: Cyber” and the Facebook Watch series Five Points,” and provocatively popping up in the HBO series Insecure” as Miko, whose threesome with Lawrence (Jay Ellis) explored issues of race and sexuality. The role, which involved nudity, was a creative risk for her. And she embraced it.


For her part, Kiyoko is flattered by the compliments. And they’re not without merit: Kiyoko is currently headlining a national tour with Gavin Turek, in support of her major label debut Expectations, and will be opening as a special guest on Panic! at the Disco’s arena tour. She’s selling out venues in major cities, and experiencing wild levels of fame, complete with a hugely interactive online fan base of millions of followers and a bevy of self-directed music videos totaling nearly half a billion views and counting. This sometimes means, Kiyoko says slyly, that women throw their bras at her while she’s performing on stage — but she doesn’t mind.

The video, which featured everyone from RuPaul to the cast of Queer Eye,” received a mixed response. Some people loved the fact that Swift was being so vocal with her advocacy, while others thought the video felt performative and wondered why Swift had waited so long to show her support for the queer community. Kiyoko, not surprisingly, would rather focus on the positive impact of You Need To Calm Down.” There’s always going to be people criticizing. You have to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I try to,” she says. Kiyoko remembers she used to be asked about the effect of Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl” all the time. I was like, ‘that helped move things forward.’” She has the same perspective about You Need To Calm Down.” Anyone willing to invest and bring people together on such a large level, to millions of viewers, to continue a conversation, is worth listening to,” she says.

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Kiyoko responded publicly to the song, describing it as tone-deaf. A song like this just fuels the male gaze while marginalizing the idea of women loving women,” she wrote in an Instagram post I don’t need to drink wine to kiss girls; I’ve loved women my entire life.” Katie Gavin from the band MUNA also tweeted that Girls” sounded like the familiar chorus that women’s sexuality is something to be looked at instead of authentically felt”.HAYLEY KIYOKO

In 2007, Kiyoko was approached by former pop-star Vitamin C to join an all-girl singing and dancing group. She joined Allie Gonino , Tinashe , Kelsey Sanders (later replaced by Lauren Hudson), and Marisol Esparza to form The Stunners. Six months after forming, the group signed with Columbia Records and released a single titled “Bubblegum” to iTunes along with the official video for the single. They also contributed a cover of the song “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” to the iCarly soundtrack 21 In 2009, the group left Columbia Records, 12 signed a production deal with Lionsgate Entertainment, and shot a music video for their promo single “We Got It”, which was released on February 22, 2010. 12 In 2007, Kiyoko starred in her first television role in Unfabulous , being credited as Hayley Alcroft. 22 After graduating high school in 2009, Kiyoko booked her first big movie, starring as Velma Dinkley in Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins , a role she almost did not audition for due to her image.

Hayley’s music explores her emotions surrounding her queer identity. The music video for Hayley’s single “Girls like Girls” became one of Hayley’s biggest hits. It features two teen girls with a crush on each other fighting back against a straight man who just won’t leave them alone. The video has over 100 million views.

Little known fact about Hayley Kiyoko: in her early years she was in a girl group called The Stunners with Tinashe. Although they didn’t release an album, they did support Justin Bieber on his world tour and have a song on the iCarly soundtrack. What a time to be alive.

It’s easy to see why Hayley Kiyoko has quickly become a pop sensation. On her hit songs like What I Need,” Curious,” and Girls Like Girls,” the 27-year-old dubbed Lesbian Jesus” sings emotionally raw lyrics about all manner of romantic blunders , from being strung along by straight women to full-on heartbreak — and she somehow makes it catchy. And while Kiyoko says the songs truly express her innermost desires, it’s their accompanying music videos (they’re more like short films, which she also directs) that really tell the love stories at their core.


I’ve definitely felt a shift this year. People know my name, and every time I go out, I do get recognized a couple of times. I’m obviously still growing, so it’s not like I’m on the level of getting surrounded, but I’m like, Oh, people know who I am!” People know my music. They know my name. Just people knowing your name ― there’s a level of respect where it’s like, Oh, that’s cool.


A vocal advocate, Kiyoko’s music video for One Bad Night” was used to raise awareness about violence against transgender women. She has also used her platform to aid homeless LGBTQ youth by donating bras from her Expectations tour and has teamed with Cameo to raise money on the platform for The Trevor Project.

Kiyoko is not coy about her sexuality. She loves girls and that’s what she sings about. In her own words : I make out with women because I love women, not because I’m trying to be sexy. That’s not to turn heads — that’s my life.” What she offers to young queer women is normalization – she removes the stigma and acts as an example.

So in honor of #20GAYTEEN, I zeroed in on King Princess and Hayley Kiyoko , lesbian Jesus herself, to ask what these artists mean to the teens and young adults who love them the most. In the vein of her #20Gayteen hashtag, Kiyoko feels hopeful for women and the LGBTQ community this year.

It is almost 10 years since Katy Perry first sang, I kissed a girl just to try it,” with the immediate caveat: I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it.” Since then the song has been reassessed as evidence of a culture that fetishised queerness and feared it. Even Perry has offered an apology of sorts. If I had to write that song again,” she said earlier this month , I probably would make an edit on it.” But when Hayley Kiyoko first heard it in her teens, she was ecstatic.

But since then, she’s released two EPs—This Side of Paradise (2015) and Citrine (2016)—and now a full-length album. She openly calls out female love interests in her lyrics (like she does in the sassy track, He’ll Never Love You”), makes out with girls in her music videos and unabashedly professes her love for women on social media. Personally, I love the fact that I love girls. That’s who I am. So that’s not something that I’m ashamed of,” she says. And listeners are flocking—she averages 3.7 million of them on Spotify each month.

Hayley Kiyoko’s new headline tour , “I’m Too Sensitive For This Shit” kicks off in January of 2020. Her newest release, “Demons” is available now. The rising queer pop icon and “Lesbian Jesus” opens up about her personal debut album.

Hayley Kiyoko is a singer and actress. Often referred to as the ‘Queen of Gays’ by her fans on Tumblr. Dance was Hayley Kiyoko’s earliest passion, but she faced a major setback as a preteen when she was diagnosed with scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine.

I didn’t want to be a distraction in the video because I feel sometimes you can be as an artist, a distraction of the story. Also, I did it because I was afraid and I didn’t want to put my face on it because I didn’t know what people were going to say about me.

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