You may know Imani Lewis from her breakout role as Calliope Burns on Netflix’s hit teen drama First Kill. Her brilliant performance gained rave reviews, with critics praising her “fantastic acting and excellent job in the series.”
However, viewers have also been curious to know more about Lewis’ life off screen—in particular, her sexuality. Rumors have swirled about whether the 22-year-old actress is gay. Let’s review the speculation and what Lewis herself has revealed.
Here’s a quick answer:
Imani Lewis has not publicly stated she identifies as gay. Her sexual orientation remains private as the rising star actress from “First Kill” chooses to keep her dating life and romantic partners away from the public eye. She says she relates to her queer character’s journey in “still learning who she is.” Though some speculate about her sexuality, Lewis herself has not definitively confirmed whether she is gay.
Rise to Fame
Prior to her star turn in First Kill, Lewis was a relative unknown. She began acting in high school plays, but Netflix gave her first major role in 2022. Playing a monster-slaying teen caught up in a same-sex romance gave Lewis a crash course in navigating public interest.
Practically overnight, she became a queer icon thanks to First Kill’s devoted LGBTQ+ fanbase. With fame also came scrutiny about Lewis’ sexual orientation—even though she has not addressed it herself.
What Fans Are Saying
It’s understandable why viewers wonder if Lewis identifies as LGBTQ+ herself. She showed undeniable on-screen chemistry with First Kill co-star Sarah Catherine Hook, who plays her character’s love interest, vampire Juliette. Their passionate scenes fed dating rumors.
Additionally, Lewis’ prowess playing a queer character fits the old Hollywood stereotype that LGBTQ+ roles demand LGBTQ+ actors. However, many rightly consider this typecasting offensive and point out straight artists like Heath Ledger and Tom Hanks have excelled in gay roles.
Regardless of her own identity, Lewis has become a powerful voice for the LGBTQ+ community. And she is aware her breakout fame makes her a role model for LGBTQ+ youth craving representation on screen. As she told Teen Vogue:
“First Kill allowed me to give that to someone who needed it. I know it would have made a difference for me growing up.”
What Lewis Has Said
While Lewis acknowledges First Kill’s importance as queer representation, she has not publicly addressed her own sexuality outside of the show. In the same Teen Vogue profile, she expressed feeling protective of her personal life:
“People just want to know more and more these days, but I think mystery is so much sexier.”
Rather than labeling her sexuality outright, Lewis said she relates to her character Calliope’s struggle figuring out her identity.
“She’s still learning who she is. And that’s me 100%.”
This suggests the rising star may still be unsure where she lands on the spectrum. Or she could simply prefer keeping that part of herself private. Either way, fans should avoid pressuring Lewis and show her the same respect she displays for the LGBTQ+ community. Productively discussing sexuality requires sensitivity.
While Lewis has revealed little about her orientation, she has exciting projects underway to delight fans. Keep an eye out for her in the upcoming comedy film House Party—a reimagining of the classic 1990 film. This new role promises a whole different side of Lewis outside the world of teen vampires.
Of course, fans are also crossing their fingers for a second season of First Kill. Lewis and the cast remain hopeful they can continue exploring Calliope’s story. As Lewis says:
“There is so much story to tell.”
With or without a sequel, we have likely only begun to see Lewis’ talents on screen and openness about who she is off screen. She remains dedicated to uplifting LGBTQ+ youth through roles portraying powerful young women of all identities—including those still searching for themselves.
For now Lewis is not saying whether or not she identifies as gay herself—and that is perfectly okay. If and when she ever does define her sexuality, fans should err on the side of respect rather than rumor and judgment. The same empathy Lewis shows queer fans in believing “representation matters” applies to her too.
Rather than probing about Lewis’ orientation, let’s appreciate the sensitivity she promotes and her captivating performaces that will only continue opening minds. Calliope Burns may still be learning herself, but she—and the actress behind her—empowers others on that journey of self discovery. That is what matters most about Imani Lewis and the incredible characters she plays.
Is Imani Lewis gay in real life?
Imani Lewis has not publicly stated whether she identifies as gay in real life. Her sexual orientation is private. While starring as an LGBTQ character on “First Kill,” Lewis has said she relates to her character’s journey of self-discovery.
What has Imani Lewis said about her sexuality?
Lewis has acknowledged the importance of “First Kill” as queer representation but has not commented directly on her own sexuality. She has expressed feeling protective of her personal life and wanting to maintain some mystery.
Is Imani Lewis dating her ‘First Kill’ co-star Sarah Catherine Hook?
No, Lewis and Hook are not dating in real life. While they showed great on-screen chemistry in “First Kill,” Lewis has not confirmed any off-screen romance with her co-star. She continues to keep her relationships private.
Did Imani Lewis always know she was gay?
This is unknown. Lewis has not opened up about when/if she first realized she was gay or her journey to understanding her sexuality. As a young actress, she said she relates to her character Calliope “still learning who she is.”
What famous women has Imani Lewis dated?
There are no publicly known women or famous individuals Lewis has dated. She chooses to keep her dating life and romantic partners private. Tabloids have not linked her definitively with anyone. Fans should avoid unverified rumors about her relationships.