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Hayley Kiyoko
Kiyoko in 2023
Hayley Kiyoko Alcroft

(1991-04-03) April 3, 1991 (age 33)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actress
Years active2007–present
PartnerBecca Tilley (2018–present)
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • drums
  • guitar
  • bass
  • keyboards

Hayley Kiyoko Alcroft (born April 3, 1991) is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. As a child model and actress, she appeared in a variety of films, including the Scooby-Doo! film series (2009–2010), Lemonade Mouth (2011), Blue Lagoon: The Awakening (2012), Jem and the Holograms (2015), Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015), and XOXO (2016). Alongside her film roles, she also had a recurring role in the TV series The Fosters (2014) and a lead role on CSI: Cyber (2015–2016) [3] and Five Points (2018–2019).

Kiyoko was a founding member of the Stunners in 2007. [4] The group supported Justin Bieber's My World Tour, before disbanding in 2011. After this, Kiyoko issued three solo extended plays: A Belle to Remember (2013), This Side of Paradise (2015), which includes the single " Girls Like Girls", and Citrine (2016). Following the singles "Sleepover", " Feelings", and " Curious", she released her debut studio album Expectations on March 30, 2018. The album reached the top 20 of the charts in the United States, Canada, and Australia. She has also created a comic book, with the help of Naomi Franquiz and Marla Vazquez, based on her song " Gravel to Tempo". Kiyoko released her fourth extended play I'm Too Sensitive for This Shit on January 14, 2020, and released her second studio album Panorama on July 29, 2022.

On May 30, 2023, Kiyoko released her first novel, Girls Like Girls, "a coming-of-age romance based on her breakthrough hit song and viral video" [5] published by Wednesday Books, an imprint of St Martin's Publishing Group at Macmillan. The book debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list for Young Adult Hardcover. [6]

Early life

Hayley Kiyoko Alcroft was born on April 3, 1991, in Los Angeles, California, to figure skater and choreographer Sarah Kawahara and actor and comedian Jamie Alcroft. Her mother is from Canada and is of Japanese ancestry and her father is from Ohio and has English and Scottish ancestry. [7] Kiyoko has two siblings, Alysse and Thatcher. [8]

She began acting at a young age, appearing in national commercials for companies such as GM Onstar, Slim Jim, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. [9] Insisting on drum lessons at age six, she was writing drum charts for new releases and selling them in a local music store by age 11. [10] At age 8, Kiyoko wrote a song called "Notice," which her father still urges her to release. [11] She was elected student council president of her middle school and high school freshman classes [12] and vice-president in her senior year. She attended Agoura High School and graduated in 2009. She was appointed "Commissioner of Entertainment" in her sophomore year and "Commissioner of Pep Rallies" in her junior year.[ citation needed]

She created and choreographed "The Agoura High Step Team" which was faculty-approved as a school club under her direction. The team placed third at a Nationals competition in 2009. [13] Upon graduation, she was accepted into Clive Davis School of Recorded Music at New York University but initially deferred until eventually declining due to career opportunities. [14] [15] [16]

Kiyoko was discovered at the age of five when she went with her friend to a photoshoot. The director asked her to step in front of the camera, and she ended up in a national print ad for KnowledgeWare. [17]

Nickelodeon spotted her at the Culver City Ice Rink, and she ended up featured in and narrating a short piece about children in sports called, "I'm Hayley, a Skater". [10] Kiyoko continued to hone her skills in middle school plays and, in seventh grade, asked for an agent after seeing Eurasian girls like herself act in J. C. Penney commercials. [16] She got her commercial agent and booked her first audition, claiming acting was always just something she did on the side to make money for college and music equipment. [18] Kiyoko started the garage band Hede, named after her grandfather, [13] in November 2007 and released five songs on Myspace and a music video for "Warehouse". [19] [20] The band performed locally on several occasions and split in 2009 after the remaining band members left for college. [21] Her grandfather died in 2011. [22] [23] He was one of the biggest inspirations in Kiyoko's life. [24]


2007–2014: Career beginnings, The Stunners and television films

Kiyoko performing as part of the Stunners in 2009

In 2007, Kiyoko was approached by former pop-star Vitamin C to join an all-girl singing and dancing group. She joined Allie Gonino, Tinashe, Kelsey Sanders (later replaced by Lauren Hudson), and Marisol Esparza to form the Stunners. Six months after forming, the group signed with Columbia Records and released a single titled "Bubblegum" to iTunes along with the official video for the single. They also contributed a cover of the song "Let's Hear It for the Boy" to the iCarly soundtrack. [25] In 2009, the group left Columbia Records, [16] signed a production deal with Lions gate Entertainment, and shot a music video for their promo single "We Got It", which was released on February 22, 2010. [16] In 2007, Kiyoko starred in her first television role in Unfabulous, being credited as Hayley Alcroft. [26] After graduating high school in 2009, Kiyoko booked her first big film, starring as Velma Dinkley in Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins, a role she almost did not audition for due to her image. [27] [16] In a 2017 interview, she stated she struggles to find acting roles as a biracial woman. [28] The film premiered on September 13, 2009, and was a huge success. It brought in 6.1 million viewers, making it the most-watched program in Cartoon Network's history. [29] [16] She reprised the role in the film's sequel, Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster, which premiered on October 16, 2010. The sequel drew 3.4 million viewers. [30] In 2010, Kiyoko also guest starred in four episodes of Disney's Wizards of Waverly Place in the role of Stevie Nichols, an evil wizard.

The Stunners signed to Universal Republic Records [16] in 2010 and released their first single "Dancin' Around the Truth", which featured the New Boyz. [31] The music video for the song premiered June 2, just before the group was announced as an opening act on Justin Bieber's My World Tour. [32] A full album was planned, [33] but cancelled when the group split in 2011. [16] [34] [35] Kiyoko claimed that she wanted to be in control of her own music. [36] Kiyoko began work on the Disney Channel film Lemonade Mouth in 2010, [27] starring in a lead role as rebellious teenager Stella Yamada. The film premiered on April 15, 2011, with 5.7 million viewers. [37] [38] Kiyoko later guest starred in the episode "Skater Girl Island" of Disney XD's Zeke and Luther which aired May 23, 2011. A sequel to Lemonade Mouth was cancelled prior to pre-production when Disney released a statement saying that "they felt the movie had completed its story within the first film." [39]

In February 2012, Kiyoko landed a small role in Blue Lagoon: The Awakening, a Lifetime film and remake of the 1980 film The Blue Lagoon. The film premiered on June 16, 2012. [40] She portrayed the character Gabi in a recurring role on ABC Family's The Fosters and later landed the role of Raven Ramirez in CSI: Cyber. [41] She also portrayed Shannie in the Netflix film XOXO, which premiered in August 2016.

On March 12, 2013, Kiyoko released her debut EP, A Belle to Remember. [42] The album was partially crowdfunded through MusicPledge. [43] Immediately following its release, Kiyoko began writing new music in London with British producer James Flannigan. She announced via Facebook in 2014 that her next EP was finished and she would be debuting the songs at a show later that month. The songs were recorded in her parents' garage in Los Angeles with Flannigan. [44] Kiyoko also collaborated with Swedish producer Anders Grahn. [45] During this time, Kiyoko was affiliated with Maker Studios, releasing covers of " Jolly Old Saint Nicholas" and medleys of Valentine's Day themed songs on the Maker Music YouTube channel with AJ Rafael. [46] [47]

2015–2018: Record deal, EPs, and Expectations

Her second EP, This Side of Paradise, was released on February 3, 2015. [48] The music video for her single " Girls Like Girls" was released on June 24, 2015. [49] After co-directing the video for "Girls Like Girls" (which as of June 2023 has over 151 million views [50]), Kiyoko assumed full directorial responsibilities for her next music video. "Cliff's Edge" was released via Vevo in November 2015. [51]

After her 25th birthday party, Kiyoko hit her head and suffered a concussion. She was concurrently diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome and depression. [36] [52] In a 2018 interview, Kiyoko said "I couldn't create, and I was like 'If I can't create, what's the point? I have no purpose.'" [36] She started resting with citrine pieces on her forehead and started using a citrine crystal, which inspired the name for her third EP. [53] In 2016, she released the single "Gravel to Tempo" and its music video from her next EP, Citrine. [54] The EP was released on September 30, 2016, via EMPIRE and Atlantic. [55] Her third fully self-directed music video for the song "One Bad Night" was premiered via Vice on October 11, 2016, in order to promote the EP. [56] A new single called "Sleepover" was released alongside its music video on March 2, 2017, via BuzzFeed. [57] Following that, the self-directed music video for her single "Feelings" was released on October 19, 2017. [58] On December 21, 2017, Kiyoko announced her debut studio album, Expectations. [59] The third single, "Curious" was released on January 11, 2018, with the album's pre-order, alongside its music video, directed by Kiyoko and James Larese, and which premiered on Total Request Live. [60] [61] In March, Kiyoko was announced as a supporting act for the first leg of Panic! At the Disco's Pray for the Wicked Tour. [62]

Kiyoko performing in Austin, Texas, on May 7, 2018

Expectations was released on March 30, 2018. [63] To promote the release of her album, Kiyoko made her live TV debut and performed "Curious" on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on April 3, 2018. [64] Later that month, she announced that she collaborated with Marla Vazquez and Naomi Franquiz to make a comic book based on her song, "Gravel to Tempo." The comic book was sold during the Expectations Tour. [65] Her self-directed music video for " What I Need," featuring Kehlani, was released on May 31, 2018. [66] [67] In June, Kiyoko performed "He'll Never Love You (HNLY)" on Late Night with Seth Meyers. [68] Later in June, Kiyoko was featured in InStyle's first issue of 50 Badass Women for her work alongside notable figures such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Emma Watson. [69] On July 26, 2018, Kiyoko was invited by Taylor Swift to perform with her on stage at Gillette Stadium, marking Kiyoko's first stadium performance. [70] The performance video for "What I Need" was released on August 17, 2018. [71] At the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, Kiyoko won the award for Push Artist of the Year and performed "Curious" on stage. [72] [73]

2019–2022: I'm Too Sensitive for This Shit and Panorama

In June 2019, Kiyoko appeared in Taylor Swift's music video for " You Need to Calm Down" with other LGBT celebrities. [74] Kiyoko released her EP I'm Too Sensitive for This Shit on January 14, 2020. [75] It was preceded by singles "I Wish" on July 18, 2019, [76] "Demons" on October 11, [77] "L.O.V.E. Me" on November 15, [78] and "Runaway" on December 13. [79] The track "She" was released as the fifth and final single on the same day as the EP. On August 8, 2020, she was featured on AhhHaa's remix of AJR's song " Bang!". [80] On June 23, 2021, "Demons" was featured in the third episode of the Disney+ TV series Loki.". [81]

On April 30, 2021, Kiyoko released "Found My Friends" [82] [83] as the lead single from her second studio album Panorama, which was released on July 29, 2022. [84] The second single from the album, "Chance", was released on June 1, 2021. [85] On November 17, 2021, Kiyoko released a collaboration with Fletcher titled "Cherry". [86] [87]

In April 2022, Lauv announced tour dates in support of his album " All 4 Nothing", due for release on August 5, 2022. Kiyoko was announced as the opener for the 28 tour dates planned across North America. The tour began on August 11, 2022, in Minneapolis, Minnesota and concluded on September 20, in Seattle, Washington.

On May 20, 2022, Kiyoko released " For the Girls" as the third single from Panorama. [88] The accompanying music video was directed by Kiyoko as a parody of The Bachelorette, featuring an all queer cast.

2023–present: GLAAD nomination, single releases, Panorama Tour, Patience of Vultures and Girls Like Girls

In recognition of her sophomore album, Panorama, Kioyoko was nominated for a 2023 GLAAD Media award [89] for Outstanding Music Artist, in January 2023.

Kiyoko at Irving Plaza, New York City, on the Panorama Tour, in May 2023.

On January 21, 2023, Kiyoko announced she would be performing a headlining tour in support of her 2022 album, Panorama. [90] 33 tour dates were announced across Europe and North America, with a second night in New York City later added due to demand, bringing the total tour dates to 34. The tour began in Glasgow, UK on April 5, 2023, and concluded in Silver Spring, Maryland on June 2, 2023.

In an exclusive interview with Variety [91] on February 9, 2023, it was announced that Kiyoko had been cast in an upcoming neo-noir crime thriller, "The Patience of Vultures" written by Greg Sisco and set to be directed by Gregg Simon. "Described as a 'Rashomon-style' chamber piece, the film follows a young man, emotionally conflicted from a failed marriage, who is lured to a small town to meet a mysterious woman. Upon arrival, an increasingly twisted game of cat-and-mouse ensues, where everyone has a secret, and nobody's hands are clean." Filming is slated to begin in spring/summer 2023.

On March 3, 2023, Steve Aoki released the single, "Hungry Heart" [92] with Galantis, featuring lyrics and vocals from Kiyoko. The music video, directed by Kiyoko, accompanied the release and featured Kiyoko, Aoki and Becca Tilley, Kiyoko's girlfriend. The song became the number 1 most played dance track played at over 2,500 U.S. and Canadian radio stations, satellite radio and music television monitored by Mediabase on June 19, 2023. [93]

Kiyoko's first single since the Panorama album, "Greenlight", [94] was released on May 24, 2023, and premiered as part of the setlist on the Panorama tour.

In October 2022, Kiyoko revealed on her social media accounts that she had expanded upon her 2015 hit single and the characters from her accompanying music video, Girls Like Girls, to create a YA novel of the same name. The book was published in multiple territories worldwide and was released in the US on May 30, 2023. In its first week of release, it became number one on the New York Times best seller list for Young Adult Hardcover. Girls Like Girls stayed on the NYT Best Seller List for 7 consecutive weeks.

On June 21, 2023, Kiyoko released "Somewhere Between the Sand and the Stardust", a "heartfelt and emotional track" [95] around the emotions felt by those dealing with a loved one taking their own life.

Personal life

Sexuality and musical influence

Kiyoko is a lesbian. She has stated that she knew she was attracted to girls when she was six years old, coming out to her parents in the sixth grade. [96] [36] Upon realizing she liked girls, she grew up struggling with those feelings, fearing rejection and judgment if she came out. Kiyoko wanted to inspire confidence in young people dealing with the same struggles. [97] Kiyoko's music is focused on her story and emotions she has experienced while coming to terms with her identity. The "This Side of Paradise" music video focuses on her struggles with expressing her true self [98] and the "Gravel to Tempo" music video draws on her experiences with having crushes on girls while growing up. [54] In a 2016 interview, she expressed her frustration about not connecting to people the way she wanted. When Lily May-Young, one of the co-writers for "Girls Like Girls", asked Kiyoko about something about herself that no one knew and she was afraid to sing about, Kiyoko wanted to sing about the fact that she likes girls, but was struggling to be out about that. [12] Tegan and Sara and Katy Perry's " I Kissed a Girl" were Kiyoko's turning point and inspiration to turn to pop music. [12] [36] Through her music, Kiyoko works to normalize lesbian relationships in a society and music industry that she sees as being very heteronormative:

"If you see two girls falling in love and normalizing that, then [people] can go, 'I can fall in love, too. I can be that person. I can look like that. I can get a girl that looks like that.' If they see that, then they can believe it. It's just how we are." [11]

After seeing the impact her music has on her fans, Kiyoko has stated that she regretted not being open about her sexuality sooner. [99] She is now dubbed "Lesbian Jesus" by her fans. [36]

Since April 2018, Kiyoko has been dating former Bachelor contestant Becca Tilley. [100] [101] The couple initially kept their relationship private and confirmed it in May 2022 after Tilley appeared in Kiyoko's music video "For the Girls", which is inspired by The Bachelor. [102] Prior to this, Tilley used the nickname "95p" to refer to Kiyoko when talking about the relationship on Tilley's podcast Scrubbing In. Hayley appears on the podcast on 09/19/2022, with the episode "A Deep Scrub: Hayley Kiyoko". [103]

Kiyoko's song "Mercy/Gatekeeper" talks about the depression she dealt with after suffering from her concussion. [52]

LGBT advocacy

Kiyoko performing at the 2023 Capital Pride concert in Washington, D.C., with the United States Capitol in the background.

Since publicly coming out, Kiyoko has been an advocate for LGBT rights and is widely considered to be a gay icon by her fans, [104] who have nicknamed her 'Lesbian Jesus'. Her music videos highlight her own experiences and various LGBT-related issues. The music video for "One Bad Night" raised awareness of violence against transgender women. [99] For Pride Month 2017, Kiyoko partnered with MeUndies to promote their "Celebrate" campaign. Each pair of underwear sold had a portion of the profit donated to the Los Angeles LGBT Center. [105] In 2018, Kiyoko critiqued Rita Ora's song, " Girls", for its depiction of same-sex attraction and harmful implications for the LGBT community. Ora later apologized for the song's implications. [106] [107] [108] After 78 bras were thrown at Kiyoko during the Expectations Tour, she and Neara Russell donated them to I Support The Girls, an organization that supports homeless women, to support homeless LGBT youth. [109] [110] In her acceptance speech for Push Artist of the Year at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, Kiyoko dedicated her win to queer women of color. [73] She marched in a Pride parade for the first time, attending the 2019 World Pride Parade in New York City as the float ambassador for W Hotels Worldwide. [111]


In 2016, she supported Hillary Clinton and expressed dismay at Donald Trump winning the U.S. Presidential Election. [112] [113] In 2018, Kiyoko was praised by HeadCount for helping her fans register to vote while she was supporting Panic! at the Disco's Pray for the Wicked Tour. [114] She endorsed Joe Biden for the 2020 United States presidential election in a tweet following Biden's announcement Kamala Harris would be his running mate. [115]



Year Title Role Notes
2012 Adrift Jess Short film
2014 Hello, My Name Is Frank Alisa
2015 Insidious: Chapter 3 Maggie
Jem and the Holograms Aja Leith
2016 XOXO Shannie
2018 Becks Lucy
2023 The Patience of Vultures TBA Pre-production


Year Title Role Notes
2007 Unfabulous Auctioning Girl / Rapping & Dancing Girl 2 episodes
2009 Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins Velma Dinkley Television film
2010 Wizards of Waverly Place Stevie Nichols Recurring role; 4 episodes
Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster Velma Dinkley Television film
2011 Lemonade Mouth Stella Yamada
So Random! Herself (as Lemonade Mouth) Musical guest
Zeke and Luther Suzi Vandelintzer Episode: "Skater Girl Island"
2012 Blue Lagoon: The Awakening Helen Television film
2013 The Vampire Diaries Megan King Episode: " I Know What You Did Last Summer"
2014 The Fosters Gabi Recurring role; 5 episodes
2015–2016 CSI: Cyber Raven Ramirez Main role
2017 Insecure Miko Episode: "Hella LA"
2018 Jimmy Kimmel Live! Herself Musical guest
2018–2019 Five Points Lexi Himitsu Main role
2020 RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race Queen Eleza Beth Episode: "Winner"
2022 Life by Ella Herself, Gravel to Tempo Episode: "Best Wishes"
2023 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself Episode: "Teacher Makeovers"
Turning the Tables with Robin Roberts Herself Episode: "Certainty"


Year Title Role Notes
2014 The Fosters: Girls United Gabi Main role; 5 episodes
2018-2019 Five Points Lexi Himitsu Main role; 20 episodes

Voice work

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2023 Girls Like Girls Coley [116]

Self-Directed Music Videos

Year Title Role
2015 Girls Like Girls Director / Singer
Cliff's Edge Director / Singer / Actor
2016 Gravel to Tempo
One Bad Night Director / Singer
2017 Sleepover Director / Singer / Actor
2018 Curious
What I Need
2019 I Wish
2021 Found My Friends
2022 For The Girls
2023 Hungry Heart




Opening act


  • I'm Too Sensitive for This Shit Tour (2020)

Awards and nominations

During her career, Kiyoko has been nominated for the following awards for her work as an actress, musical artist, and her presence in the LGBT community. In 2015, she won the Jury Award for her role as Alisa in Hello, My Name is Frank. [117] In 2018, she won a MTV Video Music Award for Push Artist of the Year. [118]

Year Association Category Nominated Work Result Ref.
2015 Independent Filmmakers Showcase Film Festival Best Supporting Actress Hello, My Name Is Frank... Won [119]
2018 British LGBT Awards Music Artist of the Year Herself Nominated [120]
iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards Fan Fave New Artist Nominated [121]
MTV Video Music Awards Best New Artist Nominated [122]
Push Artist of the Year Won
MTV Europe Music Awards Best New Act Nominated [123]
Best Push Act Nominated
Billboard Women in Music Rising Star Won
2019 GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Music Artist Expectations Nominated [124]
2020 Spotify Awards Most-Added to LGBTQ+ Playlists Artist " Girls Like Girls" Won [125]
2023 GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Music Artist Panorama Nominated [126]

See also


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