This profile is part of Queerty’s 2021 Out For Good series, recognizing public figures who’ve had the courage to come out and make a difference in the past year, in celebration of National Coming Out Day on October 11.
Name: Alexandra Shipp, 30
Bio: Actress Shipp grew up in Phoenix before moving to Los Angeles at age 17 to pursue an acting career. It didn’t take her long to find success: she a leading role in the Nickelodeon series House of Anubis in 2013 and the following year won great notice for her portrayal of singer Aaliyah in the Lifetime biopic Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B. She became a bonafide superstar when she took over the role of Storm in X-Men: Apocalypse, and followed up with parts in Love, Simon, Shaft and the forthcoming Tick, Tick…BOOM!
Coming Out: Shipp marked the beginning of Pride Month 2021 with a special message to her fans. “Hi,” Shipp wrote in an Instagram post on June 1. “I didn’t come out until I was 28. Though I don’t believe in regrets, this would definitely be #1 for myself. I denied denied denied. I struggled with not only my sexuality, but my femininity. I was scared it was too late. I was scared I wasn’t going to be able to get work. I was scared no one would ever love me. Scared. Scared. Scared. It’s exhausting being scared all the time. It’s exhausting chasing other people’s ideas and opinions of who you should be.”
Chosen Family: In her coming out post on Instagram, Shipp talked about the liberation of coming out, and encouraged her followers to never be afraid to be themselves.
“Today I’m happy in ways I don’t think my kid self could imagine,” she wrote. “I get to be exactly who I want to be EVERY F*CKING DAY and it feels incredible!! It’s never too late to be you. If I don’t work because of a flawed, racist and homophobic system, then it was never the right thing for me. I KNOW multiple someone’s love me and I’m so fortunate and grateful for the love they show me on a daily basis. I’m not denying anything anymore. I’m not scared anymore. I have #pride in who I am and what I’m doing on this planet. I am myself and I love LOVE.”
“Sure, we get a month,” she concluded. “But for the past 3 years and for the rest of my life, I’ll be celebrating every day. Because I choose me.”