Hilary Duff revealed that she didn’t know Disney’s Cadet Kelly resonated with the queer community.
If you were a tween in the early 2000s, you probably heard of Duff’s iconic Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM).
In the film, the LGBTQ+ icon plays artistic teenager Kelly who’s forced to attend the strict George Washington Military Academy.
On her first day, Kelly struggles to fit in and eventually makes a temporary enemy out of Cadet Captain Jennifer Stone – who’s played by Kim Possible star Christy Carlson Romano.
The film is full of tense moments between the two characters as they compete on their school’s competitive drill team.
In a recent interview with Cosmopolitan, Duff said she had no idea that the LGBTQ+ community shipped Kelly and Jennifer together.
“I have to watch the movie again. No one has brought that to my attention except for Tien Tran on our show who plays Ellen [in How I Met Your Father],” she explained.
“She was like, ‘Oh my God. It is a moment in the queer community. All that close-talking with Jennifer.’ I didn’t know that. But if it helps anybody, I hope so.”
Even though the LGBTQ+ subtext was lost on Duff, Romano has since come out discussing the fan theory on multiple occasions.
On her YouTube channel, the Even Stevens star said she was “flattered” about being someone’s “sexual awakening”.
“What I find interesting about the interpretation of the relationship between Kelly and Captain Stone is that there is a narrative that is in the culture right now that people are saying maybe they were in love, maybe there was an undercurrent of tension between the two girls,” Romano explained.
“It really helped a lot of girls identify their sexuality. The military has traditionally been strict about that stuff and at the time that the movie came out, we were not talking about that stuff.
“This character, Captain Stone, was the sexual awakening for a lot of the girls that felt that way at that age. I had a part in that! That’s crazy, I never even thought about that. I’m very flattered.”
The actress even posted a video on TikTok featuring the two characters with the caption “low key tho” alongside a rainbow emoji.
Duff’s Cadet Kelly revelation comes a week after she expressed gratitude for her LGBTQ+ fans.
In a recent interview with GAY TIMES, the Dignity singer said she owes the “community everything”.
“I really feel like the whole entire gay community supported me from the very, very beginning when nobody would take me seriously as a singer,” she gushed.
“I feel really lucky, because I can’t tell you the amount of times people have come up to me and been like, ‘You helped me come out,’ ‘You helped me this,’ ‘You helped me that.'”
Watch the full interview below or by clicking here.