Hayley Kiyoko is best known for playing Velma Dinkley in the Scooby-Doo! TV movies in 2009 and 2010, as Stella Yamada in the 2011 music drama TV film Lemonade Mouth.
She defended Hayley, and her right to bring up her name when she talked about industry double standards in a Refinery29 interview.
The drama began after Hayley, who is openly gay, told the website that music industry executives weren't happy about her doing music videos about girls.
She said: 'I've had several music industry execs say "You're doing another music video about girls?" I literally looked at them and was like, um, yea...Taylor Swift sings about men in every single song and video and no one complains that she's unoriginal.'
Born Name Hayley Kiyoko Alcroft
Nick Name Hayley
Occupation Actress, singer, songwriter, dancer, musician
Years active 2007–present
Born: April 03, 1991, 42 years old and 2 months, Los Angeles, California, USA
Sun Sign Aries
Hair Color Dark Brown
Eye Color Dark Brown
Height 5 ft 4 in or 163 cm
Measurements 32-24-34 in or 81-61-86 cm
Bra size 30B
Genre Dance, Pop, pop rock, indie pop, EDM
Instruments Vocals, bass guitar, drums, guitar, accordion, autoharp, keyboards
Manager Principato Young Entertainment
Hayley is of Canadian, Japanese descent on her mother side, while she is of English, Scottish, and Native American descent on her father side.
She was given the admission into Clive Davis School of Recorded Music at New Jersey University.
She was also accepted into New York University and wants to go to college.
Father – Jamie Alcroft (American comedian and voice actor)
Mother – Sarah Kawahara (Canadian figure skater and choreographer)
Siblings – Alysse Alcroft (Sister), Thatcher Alcroft (Brother)
Beginning dance lessons as a child, Kiyoko interest in entertaining led to her working as a child model and actress. She appeared in a variety of films, Playing Velma Dinkley in Scooby-Doo! film series (2009–2010), as Stella Yamada in the 2011 music drama TV film Lemonade Mouth, Blue Lagoon: The Awakening (2012), Jem and the Holograms (2015), and XOXO (2016). Alongside her film roles, she also held a recurring role in the TV series The Fosters (2014) and a lead role on CSI: Cyber (2015–16) Five Points (2018) and The Vampire Diaries (2013, season 5, episode 1, Episode: Hella LA) as Miko.
Kiyoko was a founding member of The Stunners in 2007. The group released a slew of singles and supported Justin Bieber My World Tour, before disbanding in 2011. Since, Kiyoko has 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 singles including Sleepover, Feelings, and Curious have been released to accompany her debut studio album Expectations, which was released on March 30, 2018. The album reached the top 20 of the charts in United States, Canada and Australia. She has also created a comic book, with the help of Naomi Franquiz and Marla Vazquez, based off Kiyoko song Gravel to Tempo.
1991–2007: Early life
Kiyoko was born on April 3, 1991, in Los Angeles, California, to actor/comedian Jamie Alcroft and figure skater/choreographer Sarah Kawahara. Her mother is from Canada, and is of Japanese ancestry, and her father is from Ohio, and has German, Welsh, English and Irish ancestry. Kiyoko has two siblings, Alysse and Thatcher. She began acting at a young age, appearing in national commercials for companies such as GM Onstar, Slim Jim, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Insisting on drum lessons at age 6, she was writing drum charts for new releases and selling them in a local music store by age 11. At age 8, Kiyoko wrote a song called Notice, which her father still urges her to release. She was elected President of her middle school and high school freshman classes and Vice-president in her senior year. She was appointed Commissioner of Entertainment in her sophomore year and Commissioner of Pep Rallies in her junior year.
She created and choreographed The Agoura High Step Team which was faculty-approved as a school club under her direction. The team placed 3rd at a Nationals competition in 2005. Upon graduation in 2009, she was accepted into Clive Davis School of Recorded Music at New York University but initially deferred until eventually declining due to career opportunities.
Kiyoko was discovered at the age of 5 when she went with her friend to a photo shoot. The director asked her to step in front of the camera, and she ended up in a national print ad for KnowledgeWare. 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. Kiyoko continued to hone her skills in middle school plays, and in 7th grade she, after seeing Eurasian girls like herself act in J. C. Penney commercials, asked for an agent. 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. Kiyoko started the garage band Hede, named after her grandfather, in November 2007, and released five songs on Myspace and a music video for Warehouse. The band performed locally on several occasions and split in 2009 after the remaining band members left for college. Her grandfather died in 2011. He was one of the biggest inspirations in Kiyoko life.
2007–2011: Career beginnings and The Stunners
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 Hear It for the Boy to the iCarly soundtrack. In 2009, the group left Columbia Records, signed a production deal with Lionsgate Entertainment, and shot a music video for their promo single We Got It, which was released on February 22, 2010. In 2007, Kiyoko starred in her first television role in Unfabulous, being credited as Hayley Alcroft. After graduating high school in 2009, Kiyoko booked her first big movie, starring as Velma Dinkley in Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins, a role she almost did not audition for due to her image. In a 2017 interview, she stated that she struggles to find acting roles as a biracial woman. The TV movie 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 history. She reprised the role in the movie sequel, Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster, which premiered on October 16, 2010. The sequel drew 3.4 million viewers. In 2010, Kiyoko also guest starred in four episodes of Disney Wizards of Waverly Place in the role of Stevie Nichols, an evil wizard.
The Stunners signed to Universal Republic Records in 2010 and released their first single Dancin’ Around the Truth, which featured the New Boyz. The music video for the song premiered June 2, just before the group was announced as an opening act on Justin Bieber My World Tour. A full album was planned, but cancelled when the group split in 2011. Kiyoko claimed that she wanted to be in control of her own music. Kiyoko began work on the Disney Channel movie Lemonade Mouth in 2010, starring in a lead role as rebellious teenager Stella Yamada. The film premiered on April 15, 2011 with 5.7 million viewers. Kiyoko later guest starred in the episode Skater Girl Island of Disney XD 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.
2012–14: Television films
In February 2012, Kiyoko landed a small role in Blue Lagoon: The Awakening, a Lifetime TV movie and remake of the 1980 film The Blue Lagoon. The movie premiered on June 16, 2012. She portrayed the character Gabi in a recurring role on ABC Family The Fosters and later landed the role of Raven Ramirez in CSI: Cyber. She also portrayed Shannie in the Netflix movie XOXO, which premiered in August 2016.
On March 12, 2013, Kiyoko released her debut EP, A Belle to Remember. The album was partially crowdfunded through MusicPledge. 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. Kiyoko also collaborated with Swedish producer Anders Grahn. During this time, Kiyoko was affiliated with Maker Studios, releasing covers of Jolly Old Saint Nicholas and medleys of Valentine Day themed songs on the Maker Music YouTube channel with AJ Rafael.
2015–present: Record deal, EPs, and Expectations
Her second EP, This Side of Paradise, was released on February 3, 2015. The music video for her single Girls Like Girls was released on June 24, 2015. After co-directing the video for Girls Like Girls (which as of August 2018 has over 95 million views), Kiyoko assumed full directorial responsibilities for her next music video. Cliff Edge was released via Vevo in November 2015.
After her 25th birthday party, Kiyoko hit her head and suffered a concussion. She was concurrently diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome and depression. In a 2018 interview, Kiyoko said “I couldn’t create, and I was like ‘If I can’t create, what the point? I have no purpose.’” She started resting with citrine pieces on her forehead and started using a citrine crystal, which inspired the name for her third EP. In 2016, she released the single Gravel to Tempo and its music video from her next EP, Citrine. The EP was released on September 30, 2016 via EMPIRE and Atlantic. 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. A new single called Sleepover was released alongside its music video on March 2, 2017 via BuzzFeed. Following that, the self-directed music video for her single Feelings was released on October 19, 2017. On December 21, 2017, Kiyoko announced her debut studio album, Expectations. The third single, Curious was released on January 13, 2018 with the album pre-order, alongside its music video, directed by Kiyoko and James Larese, and which premiered on Total Request Live. In March, Kiyoko was announced as a supporting act for the first leg of Panic! At The Disco Pray for the Wicked Tour.
Expectations was released on March 30, 2018. To promote the release of her album, Kiyoko made her live TV debut and performed Curious on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on April 3rd, 2018. 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. Her self-directed music video for What I Need, feat. Kehlani, was released on May 31, 2018. In June, Kiyoko performed He’ll Never Love You (HLNY) on Late Night with Seth Meyers. Later in June, Kiyoko was featured in InStyle first issue of 50 Badass Women for her work alongside notable figures such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Emma Watson. On July 26, 2018, Kiyoko was invited by Taylor Swift to perform with her on stage at Gillette Stadium, marking Kiyoko first stadium performance. The performance video for What I Need was released on August 17, 2018. At the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, Kiyoko won the award for Push Artist of the Year and performed Curious on stage.
Sexuality and musical influence
Kiyoko is a gay woman, and knew she was attracted to girls when she was six years old, coming out to her parents in the sixth grade. She had a crush on a female teacher, and she realized she liked girls and grew up struggling with these feelings, fearing rejection and judgment if she came out. She wanted to inspire confidence in young people dealing with the same struggles. Kiyoko music is focused on her story and emotions she experienced while coming to terms with her identity. The This Side of Paradise music video focused on her struggles with expressing her true self and the Gravel to Tempo music video draws on her experiences with having crushes on girls while growing up. 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. Tegan and Sara and Katy Perry I Kissed a Girl was Kiyoko turning point and inspiration to turn to pop music. 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 just how we are.
After seeing the impact her music makes on her fans, Kiyoko regretted not being open about her sexuality sooner.
Her song, Mercy/Gatekeeper talks about the depression she dealt with after suffering from her concussion.
Since publicly coming out, Kiyoko has been an advocate for LGBT rights and is widely considered to be a gay icon by her fans. Her music videos highlight her own experiences and various LGBT-related issues. The music video for ‘Girls Like Girls’ focuses on bisexuality and the music video for ‘One Bad Night’ raised awareness of violence against transgender women. 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. In 2018, Kiyoko critiqued Rita Ora song, Girls, for its depiction of same-sex attraction and harmful implications for the LGBT community. Ora later apologized for the song implications. After 78 bras were thrown at Kiyoko during the Expectations Tour, she and Neara Russell donated them to I Support The Girls, an organization which supports homeless women, to support homeless LGBT youth. 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.
Kiyoko consistently encourages her fans to participate in the Democratic process. In 2016, she supported Hillary Clinton and expressed dismay at Donald Trump winning the U.S. Presidential Election. In 2018, Kiyoko was praised by HeadCount for helping her fans register to vote while she was supporting Panic! at the Disco Pray for the Wicked Tour.
She has appeared in Slim Jim, GM Onstar, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch commercials.
Hayley has appeared in Knowledge Ware print ad.
Kiyoko released her first Extended Play (EP) on March 12, 2013 titled A Belle to Remember
Hayley played her role as Velma Dinkley in the 2009 American comedy fantasy and adventure TV film Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins.
First TV Show
In 2007, Hayley guest appeared in Nickelodeon Unfabulous for her role as rapping / dancing girl in an episode titled “The Song”.
Hayley Kiyoko Favorite Things
TV Show – Grey Anatomy
Place to Shop – Diesel, Neiman Marcus, LF, Zara
Hayley Kiyoko Facts
“Kiyoko” is her middle name, which she mostly uses as her last name.
Kiyoko was the President of her own Middle and High School freshman class. Her rank changed as she progressed from freshman year to senior class. After the freshman year, her rank changed to Commissioner of Entertainment in the sophomore. Then, she was made Commissioner of Pep Rallies in the next class and was finally appointed as school VP in her senior year.
Hayley was discovered at the age of five, when she went with her friend to a photo shoot, just to support and cheer her.
Doing karate, dancing, ice skating, and hiking are her hobbies.
Kiyoko performed in the 2002 Winter Olympics in held Salt Lake City as an ice skater. The role was choreographed by her mom.
She is a black belt (highest level) in karate.
Hayley again performed the role as an ice skater in 2007 American comedy film Blades of Glory.