Hayley Kiyoko’s 2015 hit “Girls Like Girls” marked her coming-out in more ways than one, both confirming the singer-songwriter’s sexuality and catapulting her to bona fide pop-star status.
But the 29-year-old LA native, whose lyrics celebrating queer love have since earned her the nickname of “Lesbian Jesus” among fans, wasn’t always so confident in her identity. And growing up as a closeted teen, she says, fragrance served as a “natural aphrodisiac” as well as a source of comfort.
“I remember being in homeroom, sitting behind a girl I had a crush on; her hair would be kind of wet, and it’d smell like Herbal Essences. Girls that used Herbal Essences were, like, my dream girls,” Kiyoko told Page Six Style with a laugh.
“I’d just get this whiff of floral and fruity gorgeousness, and I’d be obsessed. Even though I wasn’t having an interaction with her, all my senses were heightened.”
Now, the “Curious” hitmaker has incorporated similar fruity and floral notes into her first fragrance, Hue ($65). The gender-inclusive scent features notes of blood orange, watermelon, freesia, peony, lychee, rose, pink magnolia, cacao and musk, all inside a bold red glass bottle.
“I’m feminine and masculine; sometimes I’m more feminine one day, and sometimes I’m more masculine another. That’s been a strength — it’s who I am — but it’s also been a massive insecurity of mine. And so I was trying to embody that duality within this perfume,” Kiyoko said.
Courtesy of Trevor Flores
Hue by Hayley Kiyoko ($65)
Even the fragrance’s name was chosen with the LGBTQ+ community in mind. “My fans and myself, we’re on this massive spectrum, right? We don’t fit in a box, not every label resonates with us,” she explained. “I wanted to choose a name that really embraced individuality and expression … I want to remind my fans to love themselves.”
And Kiyoko’s the first to acknowledge that self-love can be a struggle; in a candid Instagram post last month, the star opened up about battling “personal body shame” and how “we can be our biggest enemy.”
“I noticed that prior to that post, I wasn’t taking photos of myself, I was avoiding mirrors, I was verbally rude to myself,” the singer explained.
“So I’m really trying to be kinder to myself, trying to speak to myself in a more positive way. I’m trying to regrow that self-love. We all want to be there for other people, and sometimes we overlook ourselves. So I’m hoping this perfume can be a sort of reminder.”