Hayley Kiyoko On Keeping Queerness in the Jem and the Holograms Movie

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Screenshot 2015-07-03 at 11.41.36 AM
Hayley Kiyoko, who will play lead guitarist Aja Leith in the upcoming Jem and the Holograms movie, discussed her own music and the queerness in the film in an interview with After Ellen.

Kiyoko, who is also a singer-songwriter, co-directed and released the video for her song “Girls Like Girls” last week. The music video stars her Jem co-star Stefanie Scott (who will be playing keyboardist and songwriter Kimber Benton) as a girl who falls in love with her female friend who’s in a relationship.

Kiyoko said that while she was nervous about her first acting project, she really wanted the video to be fun and have a message.

I wrote the song a little over a year ago and it kind of started in a very lighthearted place. There are so many songs about guys stealing other guys’ girls and all that kind of stuff so I just thought it’d be a really fun song where a girl steals another guy’s girl. I just loved that confident perspective that I feel like isn’t really out there as much.

On the casting of her co-star, Kiyoko said it was a project with a message that they were both excited about.

Well Stefanie Scott I have some history with and we’re coming off Jem and the Holograms together, so we’re really good friends. And I was telling her about the treatment and the video and how excited I was about the concept and she loved the idea and the storyline and she offered to do it. She said, “I really wanna do it. This is awesome!” So that’s how it started. I’m also really good friends with Kelsey Chow and Hayden Thompson so all of the actors were my good friends. Even all of the cast and crew were really passionate about the movement and the project. Everybody loves the song and the message of it.


When asked about the reception from the LGBTQ+ community, Kiyoko said she hopes that the video, as an “inner-monologue”  for Scott’s character’s desire for confidence, was “honest.” With all the excitement about marriage equality and the collective passion about the message behind the video, the question of whether the queerness in the Jem comic/cartoon will carry onto the film is pretty relevant. When asked about whether we’ll see some queerness in the film, Kiyoko replied positively, if not a bit elusively.

Umm….I don’t know, I guess? I feel like there’s a huge fanbase for Jem and the Holograms. There’s so many amazing actors in it and the glitter and the glam and fashion. I feel like people are going to be very excited about and really enjoy it. It’s not necessarily a remake, it’s based on the cartoon but set in the 21st century. I think people are going to really like it though.

Although we haven’t been too excited about the film, hopefully it’ll do right by Kimber and Stormer.

(via After Ellen)

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