What You Don't Know About Hayley Kiyoko

Hayley Kiyoko, often referred to as the "Lesbian Jesus," is a woman of many talents and has been on the entertainment scene for longer than you probably expect. The California-born star first made a global impact when releasing her 2018 debut album, "Expectations," and she later starred in Taylor Swift's "You Need To Calm Down" music video. Her resume of hits includes "Curious," "Girls Like Girls," and "What I Need" featuring Kehlani.

As a gay icon, Kiyoko told the Evening Standard in 2019 that she recognizes that using her voice and singing about her sexuality in songs is important. "I grew up listening to lots of great music but I never connected with it. I'd sing along to these songs but they weren't made for me," Kiyoko explained, adding, "I could leave out the pronouns in my music, but what would be the point? By being specific, it helps people like me to feel like they're not alone. Sometimes you have to be bold and keep repeating yourself to normalize things." With that being said, in a 2017 interview with Billboard, the "For The Girls" singer shared a regret she holds: "...not being more confident with my sexuality at an earlier age."

As Kiyoko's career continues to evolve, here are some facts about her that are worth knowing.

Hayley Kiyoko starred in Wizards of Waverly Place

"Wizards of Waverly Place" was undoubtedly one of Disney Channel's most successful shows. After all, Selena Gomez did play the lead role of Alex Russo. However, while everyone was obsessing over their new Disney queen, little did we know that another one of our faves also appeared in the sitcom. Yep, that's right. Hayley Kiyoko also starred in the popular series after being cast as Stevie Nichols, a young wizard who becomes friends with Russo after meeting in detention. According to her IMDb page, she only appeared in four episodes in 2010.

In recent years, Kiyoko hasn't said much about her time on the hit show. However, in April 2021, she took to TikTok to react to her role, insisting that the character is gay, like herself. "What was I thinking?" she said while a series of clips of her acting with Gomez played in the background. "You ain't straight. You gay, Stevie. You didn't fool 'em," Kiyoko jokingly added.

She was in a girl group with Tinashe

Long before her solo career days, Hayley Kiyoko was in an all-singing and dancing girl group named The Stunners, who released a string of singles, some of which included "Bubblegum" and "Dancin' Around The World" with the hip-hop duo New Boyz. As noted by NME, she was asked to join the group by fellow singer Vitamin C. Founding members included Tinashe, who is now also a famous solo artist, Allie Gonino, Kelsey Sanders, and Marisol Esparza. Formed in 2007, they would call it quits by 2011. 

However, even though their time as a group was fairly short-lived, The Stunners still received a lot of exposure, securing themselves performances on "The Wendy Williams Show" and a support slot on Justin Bieber's "My World" tour in 2010. The Stunners never got round to debuting a full album but did release a self-titled EP in 2009.

Kiyoko doesn't appear to speak much about her girl group days. However, when Tinashe was asked on Tumblr in 2012 about why they chose to part ways, she insisted, "we were all ready to pursue different career paths. ... [we're] still good friends tho."

A concussion she suffered inspired her third EP, Citrine

On her 25th birthday, Hayley Kiyoko suffered a concussion, ultimately being diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. At this point in her music career, she had already released two EPs and was preparing to write her third. "I've never been a tormented artist, but recovering from that was really hard," Kiyoko told Complex in 2017. However, she finally found the strength to produce another project. As a result, her third EP, "Citrine," would reflect on a lot of personal topics, including Kiyoko's concussion. "It's totally changed my writing process because, up until before 'Citrine,' I was trying to think of metaphors, and vague concepts. I used to tell stories that weren't really my stories," she admitted.

If her concussion taught Kiyoko anything, it was that the singer needed to take things easy. "I think that there was always going to be a crash. There was always going to be something that happened that was going to teach me to slow down," she told CR Fashion Book, adding, "I've learned a good self-care routine. I've learned how to function when I'm not feeling well when I don't know my purpose or what I want in life or when I'm lost. It's really challenged me mentally to know who I am."

Hayley Kiyoko considers Kehlani her first celebrity friend

By now, Hayley Kiyoko has likely accumulated a number of friends who are celebrities. The first one she became pals with? None other than fellow collaborator Kehlani. During a 2019 interview with BuzzFeed Celeb, the "Demons" singer explained that their friendship first blossomed after Kehlani commented on her post on Instagram, which resulted in the pair DMing one another. "And then we ended up writing a song together. And then I directed a music video with her in it," Kiyoko added.

Kehlani informed Kiyoko that she is "very picky" when choosing to collaborate with other artists. "It was a really cool moment," Kiyoko expressed, adding, "Wow, she likes me. Like respect, this is so cool." The song the pair released in 2018 was "What I Need." To date, the song's music video, where Kiyoko and Kehlani are portrayed as a couple, has racked up more than 45 million views on YouTube.

In promotion of the music, Kiyoko and Kehlani interviewed each other for the Fader, where they discussed the making of the song and video. "I felt really amazing about working with another queer woman," Kehlani said. She also told Kiyoko, "It's been a blessing to not only meet you but work with you and build with you and make something that really inspired a lot of people."

Her band was named after her grandfather

Hayley Kiyoko's passion for wanting to be a singer stems way back to being a teen. While in high school, she formed and fronted a garage band named Hede. Per Rolling Stone, the name was her grandfather's. As noted by NME, Hede was established in 2007 and would play some live shows to promote themselves. Even though the band didn't release too much music, their music video for "Warehouse" can still be viewed on YouTube.

Kiyoko's grandfather passed away in the following years. In February 2013, the "I Wish" singer took to Instagram to share an adorable selfie of the pair smiling while sharing a touching caption. "'Good luck with your future endeavors'- grandpa Hede," she wrote, referencing his words. Kiyoko continued, "Missing ya today, still living my life with you in my heart." We have no doubt in our minds that grandpa Hede is proud of Kiyoko's many achievements!

Her first job was portraying Marge Simpson at the Hollywood Parade

Hayley Kiyoko has been actively working since she was a child doing various jobs. She modeled at a very young age and landed herself a magazine ad. Kiyoko shared the 1996 photo on Instagram, in which she's adorably smiling by a computer. "The Internet is the biggest library in the world," 5-year-old Hayley was quoted as saying. 

In Salt Lake City in 2002, she ice-skated during the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics. The rising star boasted her talents once again in 2007 with "Blades of Glory." During an interview with VC Star, she admitted that ice skating wasn't her passion, even though her mother is a figure-skating choreographer. "I like the land that doesn't move. That's why I dance," she stated.

Her very first job, however? Portraying Marge Simpson at the Hollywood Parade! How iconic. "If you saw her sitting in a car waving, that was probably me," Kiyoko told Billboard in 2018. This wasn't the last time she attended a parade. In 2019, she marched in the 2019 World Pride Parade in New York City. As reported by Paper, Kiyoko became a Pride Ambassador for W Hotels and rode on their float to honor and celebrate Stonewall's 50th anniversary.

Hayley Kiyoko knew she was gay by the age of six

Hayley Kiyoko was well-aware of her sexuality by the age of six. In a 2018 interview with Rolling Stone, the "What I Need" hitmaker opened up about her parents' reaction and how hiding who she was made her feel isolated during her high school years. "All the girls would go to the Promenade to hang out with cute boys, and it made me feel very alone," she admitted, adding, "It was depressing to watch girls that I liked flirt with guys. So I just stayed home." After telling her parents that she was gay, they insisted that her sexual orientation was a phase. However, Kiyoko knew deep down that they were wrong.

During a televised interview on "The Kelly Clarkson Show" in 2019, Kiyoko shared, "My biggest weakness growing up was that I was gay, and that I was different from everyone else. And now it's become my biggest strength because it's empowered me..." Kiyoko wants to make others feel good about themselves and encourage them. Similarly, her evolving fan base embrace the singer for who she is and worship her every move. They love her so much, in fact, that the nickname they have given her, "Lesbian Jesus," has its own entry in the Urban Dictionary.

Hayley Kiyoko has acted in countless movies

It might surprise you how many acting jobs Hayley Kiyoko had bagged before becoming an award-winning musician. As noted by her IMDb page, she starred in countless movies, including "Hello, My Name Is Frank," "Insidious: Chapter 3," "Lemonade Mouth," "Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins," and "Jem and the Holograms," to name a few, by 2015. When asked by Billboard in 2016 which profession she prefers out of singing and acting, Kiyoko insisted, "I was born on this earth to do music. I've always been doing music my whole life; it just takes freaking forever to get it where you want it to be." With that all being said, Kiyoko still mentioned her love for being an actor but said she was mainly focused on her music career.

Since releasing her long-awaited debut album, "Expectations," in 2018, Kiyoko has portrayed the main role of Lexi Himitsu in the web series "Five Points" and participated as Queen Eleza Beth in "RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race," where she was the winner of her episode, per Billboard.

Her mom is a two-time Emmy Award winner

Winning awards clearly runs in the family. Hayley Kiyoko's mother, Sarah Kawahara, is a Canadian figure skater and choreographer who has taken home two Emmys for her hard work as a choreographer. Her first win took place in 1997 in the category of outstanding choreography for working on CBS' television special "Scott Hamilton: Upside Down." Five years later, she won in the same category for being the ice choreographer for the Opening Ceremony Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Some of Kawahara's other work has included being a coach and choreographer for the film "I, Tonya" and television series "Spinning Out."

In an interview with Skate Guard, Kawahara revealed a lot of her inspiration for her choreography comes from nature. "I am very aware of the patterns, color, and texture one finds in nature and in 'slice of life' occurrences from which I draw my designs," she explained, adding, "Music orchestration is also something I try to breathe into my choreography to make it a symphony of movement. The complexity of my work really came into fruition through my production work."

Her father is a comedian and voice actor

Becoming a star in entertainment was clearly inevitable for Hayley Kiyoko given that both her parents are creative beings. Her father, Jamie Alcroft, is a comedian who was once a part of the duo Mack and Jamie, and a voice actor with an impressive resume. He has provided voice roles for many TV shows, including "Justice League Unlimited," "Rugrats," and "Avatar: The Last Airbender," as well as for countless video games. Alcroft is also credited as a writer for the TV movie "All Night Radio."

Alcroft is a big supporter of Kiyoko's career and believes a song she wrote at the age of eight, titled "Notice," still deserves to be released today. "My dad still calls me and is like, 'Why won't you release "Notice?"' and I'm like, 'Dad, it's done. I wrote it when I was 8...'" she hilariously told Billboard in 2018. Alcroft keeps a low profile these days and states in his Twitter bio that he is now retired.

One of Hayley Kiyoko's fondest memories is a scent

In 2021, Hayley Kiyoko released her very own fragrance, Hue, which is an "audacious scent designed as an expression of liberation, freedom, and self empowerment." In promotion of the product, she discussed a range of scents with The Cut and reminisced about the first scent memory that had her falling in love with the girls in her class. "A powerful moment was in middle school and homeroom, all the popular girls with their Herbal Essences. They wouldn't dry their hair, so it would still be kind of wet, and then in the middle of, like, math class, they'd take their hair down, and I'd just get this whiff of gorgeousness," she explained, adding, "I'd be dying inside being like, 'Oh my gosh, I want to date them one day' [...] that's probably one of my fondest memories."

This memory has left such an impact on the "Curious" hitmaker that she has chosen similar fruity and floral notes in her own perfume. With a variety of notes that include blood orange, watermelon, freesia, peony, lychee, rose, pink magnolia, cacao, and musk, Kiyoko has made sure her fragrance is also gender-inclusive for her fans. Even though the product dropped in 2021, the singer told Vogue that talks of producing a fragrance started in 2019.