Show Your Pride: UO Pride Collection + Ambassador Hayley Kiyoko
To support and celebrate this year’s Pride, we’ve teamed up with GLSEN – the leading education organisation focused on creating LGBTQ-inclusive schools. The UO Pride Collection is modelled by our Pride ambassador, LA based singer-songwriter and queer icon Hayley Kiyoko (@hayleykiyoko), and £10 from the sale of every tee has been donated to GLSEN. We chat to Hayley about the importance of the charity, her advice for those struggling with their sexuality and how she’s planning to celebrate Pride.
UO: Can you just tell us a little bit about yourself for those who may not know you?
HK: My name is Hayley Kiyoko and I direct music videos. I write my own music. I’m a musician. And I really love telling stories. So, for those of you who don’t know me, I would say I’m a storyteller. I really love to share my personal experiences with others.
Can you tell us what GLSEN means to you and why you think they’re an important charity to support?
I love GLSEN. They’re such an important cause because they’re just so inclusive. I support any cause that helps students feel safe and just kids feeling safe within their community. It’s really important to have that safe space, and they help educate people to create that. I think that’s extremely important and I’m really excited to be a part of this.
Is there any advice you can share with young fans that might be struggling with their sexual identity?
My advice for anyone who’s struggling with his or her sexuality is that it takes time to learn to love yourself. I feel like so many people put so much pressure on themselves, feeling the need to come out or be something that they’re not or put themselves in uncomfortable situations. It’s really about building your inner confidence. When you’re confident you can wear a paper bag and be like the coolest person ever. So I really encourage people to work on themselves internally and not worry about what your family’s thinking or your friends. Because when you believe in yourself, that’s unstoppable, and no one’s thoughts or feelings can hurt you because you know who you are. I think that’s extremely important.
If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be?
One word to describe me would probably be relentless.
What’s been the most exciting thing to happen to you the past week, or the past couple weeks?
The most exciting thing that’s happened to me this week, besides eating mint chocolate chip ice cream for breakfast this morning … Honestly being home for a week from tour and being able to sleep. But I’m really excited to get back on the road. Every night is such an experience in a different city, and meeting the youth has just been fantastic.
What’s your favourite part of touring? How do the meet and greets go?
We just hang out at a park [laughs] … No, I do a meet and greet before every show and then we do a Q&A. It really blows my mind how intelligent everyone is and thoughtful with their questions. I mean, the questions they’re asking, I’m like, “Oh, I never thought of that. Let’s have a discussion, conversation about the colours or why I chose a certain story line.” So it’s a really great way to connect with all of them. I love it.
How are you going to celebrate Pride month?
The way I’m celebrating Pride currently is I’m going to be going to every single city singing “Girls Like Girls” and singing my passion and love for girls on stage. But I feel like Pride for me really means celebrating your love for yourself. So I try to carry that pride with me every day.
What’s one misconception you think people may have about you?
One misconception people have about me is they think I’m a player because I make out with a lot of girls in my music videos but I’m actually not. I’m a very sensitive relationship-y type kinda gal.
You’re very vocal online about issues that people may deem uncomfortable or taboo. What would your advice be for someone trying to speak up more on different issues?
I think for people in this world, you have to see something to believe it and I’ve really learned that through growing up. I feel like that needs to be your power to want to speak up, because if you don’t then people will be like, “Oh, well no one’s speaking up. Then I’m not going to.” But if you do, then other people will and you’ll find your community. I spoke up about who I love and who I am and I found an amazing community across the country that I never had growing up. When you feel alone and you feel like you’re the only person who believes it, if you speak out, you’ll find others that feel the same way.
Finally, what’s on your playlist for Pride?
What’s on my playlist for Pride? Britney Spears, Kelani … Let’s see … Troye Sivan … So many people. Anything that can make me dance makes a good playlist!