IN CONVERSATION WITH BRANDON FLYNN
Interview by Timi Letonja & Jana Letonja
Calvin Klein’s latest campaign LET IT OUT celebrates the collective euphoria at the heart of the LGBTQIA+ community. Shot by Karim Sadli, the campaign stars actors Amandla Stenberg and Brandon Flynn in the 2023 THIS IS LOVE collection. The campaign captures the energy of Pride through images that express the joy and freedom of being your most authentic self, alongside high-energy videos that capture what it means to LET IT OUT. Each talent shows off their personalities as they release their inhibitions and connect with their sensuality.
Brandon, you’re one of the stars of Calvin Klein’s latest campaign LET IT OUT, that celebrates the collective euphoria at the heart of the LGBTQIA+ community. How honored were you to partner with Calvin Klein on this campaign?
I was pretty honored. I mean, Calvin Klein is so classic and is this iconic brand with all these iconic images that come to mind and past campaigns that come to mind when the name gets brought up. I felt very grateful to be a part of it and to be asked.
What does the phrase LET IT OUT personally represent to you?
LET IT OUT is such an interesting phrasing, especially when it comes to Pride month and when it comes to people like me, who consider himself a queer actor and a queer person in the public eye. So much of that gets phrased around representation. And quite frankly, I believe it is steeped heavily in identity politics. What interests me about Let it out is that it feels like it’s beckoning something from within to be brought out. Less of the physical identity of being queer, but more about what that inner life is and how to express it.
The campaign is part of THIS IS LOVE collection. What is your view on love in all its shapes and forms?
Love does come in many shapes and forms and I think love is great. It’s one of the best things in the world. When I think about this question and love I think love is inherent and yet still it’s something that you can foster and nurture and get better at. I’m kind of interested in continuing to ask myself how can I love better.
The campaign captures the energy of Pride. Have you ever joined the festivities of Pride month?
I have joined many Pride festivities and am grateful to have done so. I love New York Pride and I’ve been fortunate enough to celebrate pride pretty globally. I think this year I will be in Manchester, England, which is actually a pretty queer centric city. I’m excited to see what that’s like.
What is your view on LGBTQIA+ community and its struggles in today’s world?
Quite frankly, in a simple way, it, it’s quite bad what is still managing to happen around human rights. What I find in a lot of political spheres, they call LGBTQIA+ rights as if it’s something separate. Specifically America, but there are plenty of countries with questionable politics around these matters. I fear that culture has sort of settled that queers just wanted to be a part of the military and the right to get married. And personally, in lieu of all the other things that feel like are constantly being threatened, I find those two quite irreverent. I could care less about either of those if it means sacrificing all these other things that seem to be under fire. But what I do appreciate is what I can see from my vantage point and maybe my circles, that even people outside of the community are really stepping up and informing themselves in light of what I consider ignorance.
The images express the joy and freedom of being your most authentic self. When do you feel your most authentic self?
I am one of those introvert extrovert folks and I find solitude really allows me to sort of place my authenticity in my physical form, in my mental form, in my spiritual form.
Tell us more about this partnership with Calvin Klein. What makes you connect the most with the brand?
Off of that last question, the partnership is really focused on bringing authenticity to the table. It feels like a focus on queerness and sexiness and authenticity. I’m really excited for everyone to see this campaign. It was really an honor to take part in it. And for the first time in a long time I felt sexy in front of a camera like that. I felt like I was being seen for who I am. And that was very cool.
What is your favorite piece of Calvin Klein clothing? Do you have a favorite piece from THIS IS LOVE collection?
Well, I’m currently wearing a pair of Calvin Klein shoes that I’ve really come to love and have kind of become my go-to daily shoes. Kind of like a dressy black shoe that I always try to pair with something that doesn’t quite belong. I’m wearing them with a pair of shorts right now, like a little school boy. From the collection, I’d be quite excited to see a lot more people wearing a THIS IS LOVE Jock Strap.