Hayley Kiyoko Poses For ‘Paper,’ Talks Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl” & Coming Out
Hayley Kiyoko, better known as Lesbian Jesus to her rabid fanbase, is one of 2018’s breakout stars thanks to the impossibly catchy “Curious” and excellent debut LP, Expectations. She takes another step towards (seemingly inevitable) superstardom by landing on the cover of Paper Magazine. In addition to posing for the colorful, tongue-in-cheek shoot, she also opened up about her teenage experience in the accompanying interview. “I’d say my top three passions were performing, food, and girls,” she reveals. “Everything I did in my life was because of girls.”
“I became a dancer not only because I loved dancing, but because the girls at the dance conventions were so hot,” Hayley continues. “I don’t know what it was, but I just loved being around beautiful strong women. That made me feel really good, and comfortable in my skin, even though I wasn’t out.” Another inspiration was Katy Perry’s polarizing “I Kissed A Girl.” “I loved that song, and I still love that song,” she admits. “When it came out, it was the first time I’d heard anyone in the public eye admit that they’d kissed a girl on the radio.”
“I was like, ‘Wow, this is huge.’ Just to admit that she did kiss a girl, and she liked it? First of all, you can’t deny the lyrics,” the 27-year-old explains. “And it was playful, catchy, playing in the Midwest and all over the world, and no one seemed to care. That concept felt really new and groundbreaking at the time. Selfishly, I remember thinking the next time they hear that, it’s going to be me. It taught me that if I write a really good song, people will connect to it no matter what.” That finally happened with 2015’s “Girls Like Girls.”
“People told me how much they related to it,” the hitmaker says. “I was shocked at how people weren’t judging me. I was ready to be judged, and I was ready to be labeled. That was a moment for me where I was like, I can be myself and people are okay with that. So every video to me was a stepping stone. Now it’s about pushing my boundaries as an artist and doing things I haven’t done before.” Read the full interview here and check out the visual for her epic collaboration with Kehlani below.