By PETERSON GONZAGA
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—It was by chance that Hayley Kiyoko stumbled into the entertainment industry when she accompanied a friend to a photo shoot and was asked to audition. It landed her a spot in a national print ad campaign.
Now the 24-year-old Los Angeles native is an actress, dancer and music artist. She mostly is known among the tween set for her roles in the TV movie “Lemonade Mouth” and the “Scooby-Doo” live-action series. She also is featured on CBS’ “CSI: Cyber.”
Her music background has helped her land roles in films that requirement music experience, including the highly anticipated live-action music comedy “Jem and The Holograms,” based on the ‘80s animated series.
Kiyoko latest film role is in “Insidious: Chapter 3,” directed by Leigh Whannell. The multi-talented actress plays Maggie, best friend of Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott), who unbeknownst to her conjures a dead spirit after calling out to her recently departed mother. Kiyoko recently spoke about joining the wildly successful horror franchise, staying positive and what’s ahead.
Q: What made you want to audition for “Insidious: Chapter 3?”
Kiyoko: I’ve never been in a horror film before and if I was in the film, I would be less scared. That was an inaccurate thought.
Q: When you on set, were you scared?
Kiyoko: Definitely. Everything you see in theaters is happening live in person. So scary.
Q: How exciting was it to play the best friend of Quinn (Stefanie Scott)?
Kiyoko: It wasn’t much of a stretch because we get along well. We had a lot of fun. She had a lot of scary scenes. Every time I was on set, we’d go do something light-hearted and stuff.
Q: To decompress?
Kiyoko: Yeah. Yeah.
Q: What do you like about horror films?
Kiyoko: I think there’s a lot of skill and difficulty in creating a scary film. There’s that special talent to create that tension and the long shots. It was interesting to watch Leigh Whannell (the director) do it and see how they do it. How they make people scared. You can’t just pop out and scare some. That’s not just all it is.
Q: I told Stefanie it would of been nice to see more scenes in the film with you and her together. She would’ve loved that but then the film would’ve gone a different direction. Where there more scenes shot then what we see in the film?
Kiyoko: Not that much. There was one scene that didn’t make the cut that had a little bit more scariness but my character was not there to be scared. My character was there to be a positive light for Quinn and support system for her on the things she’s going through.
Q: What keeps you positive in your life?
Kiyoko: Love and friendship. I think that’s why my character is so relevant and important to have. It brings the scary world into the real world of having someone there for you.
Q: Do you believe in the paranormal?
Kiyoko: I feel like I would if I’ve encountered it. I’ve never encountered any form of ghosts or spirits or anything of that nature. I mean I’ve gotten goose bumps but no actual encounters… knock on wood.
Q: Do you get to do the special 4D “Insidious Experience” that brings you into the world of the further?
Kiyoko: Oh my gosh, yeah. I didn’t cry but (co-star) Lin Shaye cried. It was scary. There was a maze portion. There’s a virtual reality thing. An incredible technology. You’re looking around and you’re seeing another world. It’s amazing.
Q: Not only do you act, but you’re also a singer and dancer, and you’ve worked with choreographer Scotty Nguyen. Could you talk about working with him?
Kiyoko: Oh yeah. He’s an incredible dancer. That’s why I can dance a bit. I grew up training with him because I love dancing.
Q: Did that help you with your next film “Jem And The Holograms?”
Kiyoko: I shot it last year and it comes out in October. I have blue hair in the film, which was fun. The music is very good and very much a female empowerment film with Juliette Lewis who is a female role model, and Molly Ringwald, an icon, so it was really cool to be working with such powerful women.
Q: And you got to work Stefanie Scott in that film. Did that help you bond in shooting this film since you shot it before “Insidious: Chapter 3?”
Kiyoko: Yeah. We had so much fun. I can’t wait to do more.