Deemed 'Too Gay,' Colton Haynes 'Straightened Up' to Win Roles Early in Career

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday May 31, 2022
Originally published on May 20, 2022

Colton Haynes
Colton Haynes  (Source:Colton Haynes/Instagram)

"Teen Wolf" star Colton Haynes has revealed in a new interview how he had to "straighten up" to win roles — and how coming out cost him the career he might have had otherwise.

Haynes, 33, spoke with People Magazine about navigating Hollywood as a gay man, as well as growing up poor and gay — and his youthful stints as a gogo boy and a phone sex operator.

The interview was to promote his new memoir, "Memory Lane," in which Haynes delves into all those issues, as well as the sexual abuse he suffered during childhood, the privations he, his brother, and their single mother endured, and his youthful dreams of stardom.

"Delusion was my first drug," the actor-turned-author told People.

Haynes' underage career as a gogo boy was a way to obtain validation. "Once I knew something was going to get me the attention that I wanted, there was nothing holding me back from using my body, or doing whatever I could to help me get that love I needed," Haynes said in the interview.

Eventually making his way to Hollywood, Haynes got creative about finding every advantage he could in order to get noticed — and get work. That included stuffing underwear into oversized boots to give him a little more height, the "Arrow" actor revealed.

But he was hindered when it came to casting calls because of a perception that he was "too gay," Haynes detailed. "I was told, 'Gosh. His looks, you know, he looks like a star, but his mannerisms and the way he sounds, too gay.'"

What followed was an express trip back into the closet, complete with Post—it notes shoved under his tongue to combat a lisp, and movement training to "straighten up my mannerisms," the star recalled.

Even when he found success on two TV series — "Teen Wolf" and "Arrow" — Haynes was warned to keep his true self under wraps.

Then the substance abuse started: Adderall, Xanax...eventually, Haynes sought help for alcoholism and other addiction issues, but a suicide attempt in 2018 involving Oxy, alcohol, and Xanax nearly ended his story prematurely.

By then, he had come out publicly — and, true to the warnings he had been given, Haynes said, his career instantly nosedived. It's a problem that persists even now. "I am offered only roles like the 'gay best friend' today," Haynes told the publication.

He also lost endorsement opportunities, with one notable exception: "The only thing I was offered after I came out was to be the face of Grindr," Haynes related.

So where does he go from here?

There's a new "Teen Wolf" movie he's part of, People noted, even though, Haynes says, Hollywood's homophobia remains. "Name one lead out leading actor, male romantic lead who's openly gay?" the actor challenged People Mag.

Still, the purgative effect of having written his tell-all memoir has done him good.

"I know today I'm only as sick as my secrets," Haynes said.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.