Keiynan Lonsdale Talks Blending Music With Fashion, Teaming With Thom Kerr For New Shoot: See Exclusive Photos
The 27-year-old, best known for starring as Kid Flash on The CW’s The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow series, is already a major player in the fashion scene. In April, he and fellow Flash thespian Ezra Miller went viral when they donned gender-bending wedding gowns by Thom Browne in a Vogue photoshoot, in celebration of this year’s Met Gala and “Camp: Notes on Fashion” exhibit.
Lonsdale has a modelesque look -- tall and angular with gorgeous skin, he’s a testament to his native sunny Australia. But his talents reach beyond the fashion world, as evidenced by his many appearances in film and TV, as well as his foray into music. “Rainbow Dragon,” his most recent single, is a certified rap-inspired bop and self-acceptance anthem. It proves that Lonsdale, as an artist, warrants your attention.
Kerr, who’s also an Australian native, recently shot the artwork for Kim Petras’ Halloween mini-album Turn Off the Light. Fierce singers like Zara Larsson, Kehlani, Iggy Azalea, and Allie X have all posed for the photographer’s lens. His work has appeared on the covers and pages of avante-garde publications like Elle Croatia, Galore and PAPER.
“Thom reached out through Instagram, actually,” Lonsdale tells Billboard of their initial meet-up. “We liked each other’s work, and thought it would be fun to see what two Aussie creatives would make together!”
In the shoot, Lonsdale -- wearing eclectic nu-school menswear pieces from Louis Vuitton, Maison Margiela and Prada, and a bright, off-white wig styled by Iggy Rosales -- poses for profile shots in and around a Los Angeles apartment complex. In one, he leans up against a stucco door frame in an LV-emblazoned jacket and jeans combo. In another, he straps on a Louis hip satchel, pulls on patent leather Margiela pants, takes off his shirt, and lazes in the warmth of the setting California sun across a vintage couch. It’s been put out on a curb, ready for someone to call 311 for the city to pick up this chic garbage. The intersection between the garments and Lonsdale’s conventional surroundings makes for an absorbing visual experience.
Billboard caught up with Lonsdale from his Australian home to discuss the shoot, his thoughts on entering rap as a queer artist, and what’s next for him.
What inspired you during this shoot?
The clothes and the wig very much inspired my energy. They're huge elements for me, and they just made me feel like a pop star, like I could really own that.
How do you think music intersects with fashion?
It's all art at the end of the day. Just like when you mix two different colors you can create a whole new one... and if you get it right, you get magic. That’s like fashion and music.
You're in many mediums at once -- acting, modeling, music -- but your music is getting more attention, professionally, than it has in the past. How does it feel to be exploring that side of your creative identity?
I've been writing songs since I was 11 years old, so it just feels like home to me. It's taken me many years to find my own voice, so I'm stoked to finally have created a body of work that really reflects my story so far and what I believe in.
The rap and hip-hop worlds seem to be rapidly transforming. LGBTQ artists in those spaces are often forced underground or totally dismissed, but that's obviously changing. What's been your experience, entering the rap world as a queer person?
I've been exploring rap for myself for sure, but it wasn't anything intentional. I don't think of myself as entering the rap game at all, I just take it song by song and see what comes out. I do think it's cool that openly queer artists are making their mark across these genres, though. It's about time!
And can I ask how what it was like working with Camila Cabello on her recent “Liar” video?
I was really happy to get to work with both her and the director Dave Myers, it was a wonderful shoot!
What's up next for you?
We're wrapping up the final stages of my album, I can't wait to share that. And I got to film this awesome Netflix Original called Work It directed by Laura Terruso. It's a dance comedy. I have a feeling people are going to fall in love with it!