If you’ve seen him on your TV or movie screen over the last few years, you may be pleasantly surprised to hear his very Australian accent slip into conversation upon meeting him. Tall, slim, handsome and gentle in demeanor, it's easy to forget the very impressive resume that Keiynan Lonsdale has already acquired at the age of 26! With all of his success and the continuation of his journey, the path he’s presently leading both personally and professionally are single-handedly more important than he may even know. Inside of our article with the CW star, (known as Wally aka Kid Flash on the DC-Comic series) we find out all about his journey following his dreams from Australia to Hollywood. Ever transparent, Keiynan also delves into growing up with interracial heritage and the courage he found to ‘come out’ after filming the cathartic ‘first film of its kind’ “Love, Simon”!
ON COMING TO AMERICA:
Tell us about how you first started acting in Australia & what was the catalyst that brought you here?
The first acting job I did was the musical “Fame,” I did that for a year, I was a dancer in the ensemble at first but for the final 3 months of the show our lead got pretty badly injured and I ended up taking on the role from there. Funny enough, I didn’t stress over the scenes, the acting felt right. It was at that point I thought, maybe this was a thing I could actually do. Shortly after, I auditioned for a television show called Dance Academy, which was a cool blend of both dancing and acting. I was fortunate enough to book that and do that for a couple years. One year everyone in the cast was coming to LA for pilot season, at the time I was like “pilot season, what’s that?” Lol ...I didn’t know anything back then, but it sounded amazing so I came over as well.
ON INITIAL BACKLASH BEING CASTED AS WALLY/KID FLASH:
In the original comics Wally was caucasian, you however are mixed race, what was that like; literally changing the face of this character?
I think I’ve learned a lot about race through the show and through being casted as Wally; specifically race in America. The race conversation is I guess just different here, like in the beginning there was just a lot of energy coming at me. Funny thing is that I’d actually never even thought about the fact that I didn’t look like the original Wally until the announcement came out and there were so many angry fans. I mean there was also a lot of support but, the older generations couldn’t really seem to process it. Again that was something for me to learn and live with, I’d never been called those things before in my life and for them to be coming from strangers was mind-boggling. I’d never been targeted because of my race (that I’ve known of) SO much and SO openly and honestly it was all just really confusing at the time. So weird for strangers to have feelings about you yet have no idea who you really were. For me my take away was that this is sometimes just a part of living your dreams.
ON HOW LOVE, SIMON CHANGED HIS LIFE:
So now we’re at ‘Love, Simon’, and your character Bram. This film, about a guy confronting his sexuality. What did you learn as that character in Love, Simon?
A lot, it was funny because I was in a relationship with a guy that I had been with for a while. Around my friends and family, it was a known thing, for a couple of years I’d been out to my close people. But then I get this movie, which is about embracing your sexuality, everyone on set is open and kind, the director has his fiancé and child on set, just a super open environment and somehow, I still felt ashamed for myself and still didn’t tell anyone about myself until the wrap party! I mean the cast and I were all so close, we’d hang out all the time, but it just felt like this thing I felt I still needed to keep. It was all very confronting for me to do this film, because I couldn’t understand why it was still holding onto that, especially in SUCH an INCREDIBLE environment. It really made me think about what else I needed to address internally and having that experience really fueled my thinking into coming out publicly not long after. So this film definitely inspired me to do that, to be free, and then I realized once I did that that I never have to be worried about it ever again. [At least the announcement part of it, because once I came out of course there was then the public reaction lol]. But it was a beautiful experience being a part of that film, I mean not just for representation of the LGBTQ community, but the film itself is heartwarming, it’s positive, it’s a celebration of life. I think growing up you do hear the stories that are so heartbreaking and those stories need to be told as well, but this film kind of really shows that (being yourself) is something that deserves to be celebrated.
Photography: Corey S. Guevarra, CYOER Photo
Wardrobe: Aris Rahim
Grooming: Sasha Araujo
As told to: Shawn Finnie
Read Keiynan’s entire interview in our ‘Future-Vintage’ Winter Issue available HERE!