Actor and activist Amandla Stenberg is the new face of Calvin Klein’s ‘This is love’ collection. The star speaks to GAY TIMES about the power of chosen communities, the queer people who have inspired them, and the true meaning of Pride.
For Calvin Klein, Pride is simply not just a seasonal celebration. It’s a year round, 24/7, eternal global presence, commitment and attitude. Acceptance, inclusivity and representation is woven into the heart of all their visuals, and this year’s installment of the ‘This is Love’ campaign is no exception.
For 2023, Calvin Klein wants you to Let it Out! To celebrate the collective euphoria at the heart of the LGBTQIA+ community. To dive into yourself and access inner sensuality and confidence like never before. We sat down with Stenberg to find out more on their sense of Pride and what this year’s campaign means to them.
Hi Amandla! Tell us more about your role in Calvin Klein’s new campaign, Let It Out, what does it mean for you to share your Pride?
Sharing my pride especially with other gay people is one of my favourite things to do! In all seriousness, this was a nerve wracking shoot for me but it felt free and meaningful. My body is the strongest it’s ever been right now. It has been a beautiful journey to accept its fortitude and endless generosity in the face of many things in my life that could have broken it. It’s been like a see-saw understanding its expression. It’s a joy to share that.
The campaign is partnering with NGOs including PFLAG, ILGA World and Transgender Law Center, how does it feel to be part of a project taking such impactful actions?
It’s a blessing when I can advocate through the exposure my job provides. Ultimately that is my goal. There have been over 120 bills introduced in the states in 2023 alone targeting LGBTQ people and the safety of transgender students, and restricting access to health care for gender dysphoria. These three organizations are wonderful to donate to, especially the Transgender Law Center, which has historically been led by and centred Trans Femmes of Color, who exist at the most precarious intersection. However, if donation is not an option, these organizations, especially the PFLAG, have pages of easily navigable resources. You can find information on how to engage with your local government, how to lobby against anti-LGBTQ+ bills, how to be a good ally, and how to support your queer children, family and loved ones.
Who are some of the inspiring faces in the queer community who have helped shape your sense of Pride?
Audre Lorde has a big place in my heart. I always return to the prologue of Zami. When Audre writes “I would like to enter a woman the way any man can, and to be entered… I would like to drive forward and at other times to rest or be driven. When I sit and play in the waters of my bath I love to feel the deep inside parts of me…other times I like to fantasize the core of it, my pearl, a protruding part of me, hard and sensitive and vulnerable in a different way. I have felt the age-old triangle of mother father and child, with the “I” at its eternal core, elongate and flatten out into the elegantly strong triad of grandmother mother daughter, with the “I” moving back and forth flowing in either or both directions as needed.”
The key messaging behind this year’s Calvin Klein ‘Let It Out’ are confident sex appeal and freedom, what does this look like to you? For those who may need that extra boost of inner confidence, how can they find it in themselves?
One of the best parts of being queer is there are a million ways to be sexy, a million ways to love, and a million ways to be worth being loved. Being queer is a continual experiment in truth. Your truth will resonate in its own way.
You have a lot of exciting roles coming up in the future, *cough cough* Star Wars’ Acolyte, can you tell us anything about your upcoming projects?
If I do, they will find me and they will kill me. But I can say I’ve never spent so much time training in stunts and I saw a LOT of aliens.
In line with their year-round support of the LGBTQIA+ community, Calvin Klein is proud to have committed over $220,000 USD to NGOs including PFLAG National, ILGA World, Transgender Law Center and more in 2023 to date; additionally, Calvin Klein Australia and the PVH Foundation donated $55,000 USD to BlaQ Aboriginal Corporation this year.
You can support these incredible organisations and look sensually chic when doing so by shopping the collection here.