Alyson Stoner grew up in the public eye. Whether she was entertaining us in those epic Missy Elliott videos or stealing our hearts in Disney's Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2, we've always admired how fiercely talented she was from such an early age. Now, the 24-year-old is giving us another reason to cheer for her. On Friday, Alyson released a personal essay on Teen Vogue's website sharing her story about how she came to embrace her sexuality.
In the heartfelt piece, the actor and singer wrote about "a girl who changed everything" from when she first laid eyes on her at a trial dance workshop one day. Alyson says after their initial meeting she sent a text to her my mother and best friend, writing, "I met a woman today, I'm not sure who she is or what I'm feeling, but I think she's going to be in my life for a very long time."
The two sparked up a friendship easily, texting "for hours at a time," Alyson recalls. "[W]e had a huge crossover of interests and passions, yet wildly different upbringings and beliefs." Eventually, she came to the realization that she was falling in love with the woman in question.
For years, Alyson says she struggled with accepting her newfound sexual identity. She went to therapy, dated men, and prayed "to be healed" because of her admitted misconceptions of the LGBTQ+ community. Fortunately, the love that she received from her partner outweighed the burden of denying her sexuality. Instead, she finally decided to embrace it.
"For every ounce of hurt I faced, she offered a sea of love and gratitude," Alyson continued. "She strengthened and inspired me, creating a space for me to discover myself without judgment." Although they did not work out in the long run, Alyson now fully owns who she is. "I, Alyson, am attracted to men, women, and people who identify in other ways. I can love people of every gender identity and expression. It is the soul that captivates me."
She also has an empowering message for others who might be struggling as she once did. "Whatever your identity, you are lovable and wonderful and enough," she wrote. "It's OK. Dare to be yourself anyway. Find support, because we're out there!" Well said, Alyson. Well said.