Hayley Kiyoko says her 'lesbian energy was really thriving' on Wizards of Waverly Place
Hayley Kiyoko is seeing her role in Wizards of Waverly Place in a new light.
Kiyoko appeared as a guest on PodCo's Wizards of Waverly Pod on Monday and responded to recent comments from Waverly showrunner Peter Murrieta that he would have liked to have explored a potential romantic relationship between Selena Gomez's Alex and Kiyoko's Stevie, affectionately dubbed Stalex by fans.
"I was just like naturally very gay... I booked the role, and honestly, I had no notion or thoughts that there was some kind of like undertone or underlying storyline that was going on," she told podcast hosts and fellow Wizards stars Jennifer Stone and David DeLuise.
However, after a rewatch of the Disney Channel show she says she now sees the undertones that many fans have long shipped. "The lesbian energy was really thriving at that moment. But I was in the closet to the public at that time," she said.
Adam Rose/Disney Channel via Getty Selena Gomez and Hayley Kiyoko on 'Wizards of Waverly Place'
Kiyoko explained that though she was "probably out to people" in her circle and life, she didn't officially publicly come out until she released her song "Girls Like Girls" in 2015. "That was like my coming out, which was years later. But it's funny to look back and it's really so much fun to hear the fans' reactions to Stalex and the comments of everyone just being like, 'This is so gay.' So, I was just a baby Hayley in the closet at that time [on the show]," she said.
On the same podcast in March, Murrieta had told Stone and DeLuise of Stalex, "I wished we could have played more with what was quite obvious to a lot of us. We weren't able to in that time, but it was pretty clear to all of us what that relationship was."
When Stone suggested that the show — which ran from 2007 to 2012 — might have been able to go there a few years down the road, Murrieta replied, "Disney Channel has had [LGBTQ] characters, and they did it. At that time it wasn't a thing. But we got as close as we could… I mean, it was pretty close." He added, "That would have been great."
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