For Hayley Kiyoko, 2018 (or #20GayTeen as fans have rebranded) is all hers.
The Disney starlet jumpstarted into 2018 with a catalogue of music videos (“Girls Like Girls,” “Sleepover,” among others) that have made her go viral and establish her as the “Lesbian Jesus” and queer pop icon and role model for many of her young fans.
And her devout following is well-earned. As Kiyoko’s debut album Expectations dropped last March 30, she has celebrated her sexuality through her music and videos and has made a strong and safe space for the LGBTQ to own and celebrate their identity in mainstream pop.
“My fans have always been in the forefront, really pushing and climbing with me,” Kiyoko told Harper’s Bazaar. “I mean, I’ve been unsigned most of my career and they’re the reason why I got signed. They’re the reason why I was able to do my own headlining tour. No one else would take me on tour to open for them. We’ve really created our own opportunities and platform, so it’s my job to see it through and be a good representation.”
On release day, Kiyoko celebrated #20GayTeen at YouTube Space LA for an intimate night of conversations and music videos as she took the audience on a journey from her first music video to Expectations — and there was so much love felt in the room.
“I feel you’re the only openly queer pop icon we have,” a fan said during an audience Q&A.
Her “video vixens” a.k.a. female costars also made an appearance that night to talk about their experiences filming with Kiyoko, to which they all expressed their gratitude and feelings of empowerment being a part of this movement.
To top the night off, Kiyoko was presented the 1 million subscriber plaque by YouTube for her contributions to the community.
Watch my recap of Hayley Kiyoko’s Expectations #20GayTeen Release Day at YouTube Space LA below:
Kiyoko just hit the road for her headlining Expectations 2018 Spring Tour, with plans to open for Panic! At The Disco on their Summer 2018 Tour. Find her at a city near you on hayleykiyokoofficial.com.