It's a sad but true fact that many queer teens still struggle to be accepted within their communities and at school, with the long-standing tradition of prom often being unavailable to them because of systemic homophobia. It's a serious issue, and it's one that a Broadway musical put in the spotlight, infusing it with a smart and sparkling sensibility, and making clear just how absurd it is to hate someone because of who they love.
Actress Caitlin Kinnunen plays Emma, the young lead of The Prom, a 17-year-old girl whose school board decides to cancel the prom rather than let her attend with her girlfriend. Recently, Kinnunen joined us here at NYLON to talk about the "heart of gold" at the center of the show, and how her experience playing Emma has given her the courage to expand her own idea of sexual identity. "I have identified as a straight ally for a very long time, but recently my world has kind of opened up, and I am currently dating a woman. And it is magical and new and exciting, and I'm loving it."
Meet Kinnunen in the video, above.
Produced by: Alex Hsie
Shot by: Charlotte Prager and Gretta Wilson
Edited by: Gretta Wilson