Troye is the first-ever BAZAAR Man cover star! He is featured on the flip cover of Harper’s Bazaar Australia November 2019 issue! Photos from the photoshoot, behind the scenes and magazine scans have been added to the gallery! Below, you can also watch videos from Troye’s Harper’s Bazaar (Man) cover shoot and read the full article by clicking “Continue Reading”. The Magazine is out now!
Behind the Scenes
Bazaar Man Troye Sivan On Clothes, Coming Out And His Hollywood Home Life
A layer of pearly grey cloud casts a dull light over Los Angeles and it’s starting to spit rain when Troye Sivan walks into Milk Studios, running his fingers through his damp quiff of curls in an attempt to restore order. Alone and clutching a takeaway flat white, he’s dressed in what he terms “standard uniform”: loose-fitting black Acne Studios jeans, a white T-shirt and a navy and yellow striped jumper slung over one shoulder.
Although it’s 9.05am on a Saturday, today’s another run-of-the-mill workday for the Perth-raised, LA-based 24-year-old, who is definitely in the dream phase of his career to date. He’s come a long way from his YouTube days, when he’d sit in his bedroom recording covers of Ed Sheeran’s “Kiss Me”. There’s the CV crammed with impressive acting credits (Boy Erased, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the Spud franchise); the long list of willing collaborators — Ariana Grande, Lauv, Taylor Swift, Martin Garrix, Alessia Cara, Charli XCX; the TV appearances on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Ellen and Saturday Night Live; and the headline Bloom tour that just swept through New Zealand and Australia, thronged by hordes of teenage girls the media have been trying hard to dub the ‘Troyeble-makers’. (“Oh my god! No, no, no!” Sivan exclaims, laughing. “That was back in the day when there were Beliebers and people tried to make it a thing. It’s not a thing, trust me.”)
Sivan plants himself in our makeup artist’s chair to prep for his BAZAAR shoot and it’s easy to see why his luminous skin, slender five-feet-nine frame and innate elegance has attracted the attention of the fashion and beauty worlds. His friend Hedi Slimane cast him to walk in Saint Laurent’s A/W 2015 show in Paris, he’s fronted campaigns for the likes of Valentino, Glossier and M.A.C, he’s shot covers for international fashion magazines, boasts a model boyfriend and isn’t averse to a rack of fashion-forward suiting. “My gawd, I love everything,” he sighs as he thumbs his way through the racks of clothes called in for today’s shoot. “I love to play in this space so much. Fashion is such an amazing form of expression to me. At the moment I’m really into Prada and Jacquemus — and, of course, Louis Vuitton. Men’s fashion is so much fun right now. Boys are really willing to play. I’m so over any type of machismo and you see that less in fashion now. Fashion is in a good spot. It’s fun.”
Being in front of a camera comes naturally to Sivan because he grew up in front of one; he made his first YouTube video as early as 2007. Midway through shot one, Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face” comes on in the background and Sivan raises his arms, closes his eyes, grabs the long sleeves of his Celine cardigan and loses himself in the music. He’s almost eerily calm and clearly knows his best angles, perfecting his piercing blue-eyed gaze when everything is lined up in position.
The second oldest of four kids, Sivan would spend hours as a child locked in his bedroom watching in awe videos of Michael Jackson singing “Black or White” and Madonna performing “Like a Prayer”. At age seven he begged his parents to get him singing lessons and started performing at his local synagogue. (“My goal was to make the Jewish mothers cry.”) Home-schooled from Year 9, Sivan would spend the afternoons mucking around on YouTube and started uploading vlogs. “I loved computers from day one and YouTube just merged all my favourite things,” he says. “I could produce my music and edit; I even painted a wall in my house to make a green screen, but Mum and Dad just let me go with it. I became incredibly strategic with my content and seeing the numbers grow became like a game: put something about One Direction in your title and you’d be guaranteed to get double the views.”
He quickly became a ‘star’ of the platform and one of Australia’s biggest accounts, attending conventions around the world. His funny, endearing and emotional musings resonated with teenagers — especially a coming-out video, which has racked up almost nine million views to date, in which he reveals, “This is probably the most nervous I’ve ever been in my entire life.” It was uploaded on August 7, 2013, and was watched by his half-million subscribers; although his family already knew about his sexuality, his record label EMI, with which he was in negotiations, didn’t. “The reason [I’ve always] liked being online was because I could be in control of what I shared and what I didn’t. I got really lucky with my record label and the management team I work with. They are just the most solid people in the world,” Sivan says now. “They told me it’s the things you say no to, as much as the things you say yes to, that make you the person you are and give you the career you want. I’m in this for the long game and I want to be able to look back on this when I’m 80 and be like, Wow, I really stood by what I believe and made stuff I believed in.”
In 2015, Sivan released his debut album, Blue Neighbourhood, but it’s his second body of work, Bloom (released in 2018), that’s proof he’s a double threat: not only as a songwriter who elevates the form to an art, but also one with an angelic voice. The 10 tracks are a whirl of ’80s synth pop, slick ballads and sparkling dance-floor beats that express gay rites of passage. “Seventeen” is a flashback to an underage experience with an older man he met on a dating app. “What a Heavenly Way To Die” was inspired by the Smiths’ “There Is a Light that Never Goes Out” and has Sivan picturing him and his partner reminiscing 30 years later. And “Bloom” is about giving yourself to the one you love.
“I never set out to be this gay pop idol,” he insists. “I remember all these young girls coming to my shows and thinking, I know they know I’m gay, so why are they coming? They must like the music — awesome. And then after “My My My!” and “Bloom” had come out, suddenly those first few rows got younger, but at the back of the venue there were older gay guys and I was thinking, This is an interesting shift. But it’s never been something I’ve strived for. I’m just grateful that people care.”
In his video for “Bloom”, Sivan embraces a look that’s almost draglike, his bleached hair covered by a blue feathered headdress, his face fully made up, including bright red lipstick. Exploring this feminine side is just another step in discovering who he really is. “Coming out as gay is one thing. And then coming out as the person you want to be is a whole other separate journey,” he says. “Although I came out as gay to my family, there was still a lot I hid: the way I wanted to move, dress, speak. Growing up in a society where I didn’t want to be gay for the first 15 years of my life, I was terrified of it. That’s still in there and I’m personally trying to work it out. I’m enjoying this process of pushing myself, figuring out, Am I into this? Am I not? There are no rules.”
Suddenly a massive dog bounds into the studio dragging an ownerless lead and jumps onto Sivan, slobbering all over that Celine cardigan. “This is Nash,” Sivan says, beaming, greeting an out-of-breath label exec who materialises and is now clearly rethinking her offer to babysit the two-year-old pit bull mix. “We [Sivan and boyfriend of three years Jacob Bixenman] rescued him from a shelter. Do you want to see some tricks?” Sivan grabs a strip of leftover beef from the catering table and the pair go through their repertoire.
Bixenman and Sivan recently shot a Viva Glam campaign for M.A.C together, and although their work ordinarily drags them to opposite ends of the globe, they share an Art Deco-style house in the Hollywood Hills with a pool and a gardener. “I’m definitely a homebody,” Sivan confesses. “I have very few friends — probably too few friends — but I spend a lot of time in the studio. Right after this I’m heading to the studio to try a few things with Kacey Musgraves.”
Music is “the day job” (“It’s the most raw and honest place for me”) and sees Sivan at his most relaxed. He finds acting more of a challenge. “Being on camera may come naturally to me because I’m comfortable thinking on my feet. But acting — embracing a character — that’s different,” he says. Sivan knows a role is for him when the character starts to show up the first time he reads a script. “It was like that with Boy Erased,” he says. “I was obsessed with the script, the cast [Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Joel Edgerton], and it was a sensitive subject [the dark tale follows a teenager’s gay-conversion ordeal] handled with respect and care.”
There’s a definite sincerity about Sivan when he talks about his experiences as a gay teen, but there’s also a polish that comes from constantly regaling people with stories about them. I ask if he tires of telling the tale of the “Coming Out” video, or mining it for ‘material’, but he knows it’s his openness and authenticity that’s what ultimately engages the audience. “As long as people are asking about it, it means there’s still hunger for that conversation. I’m in a pretty privileged place. I live in West Hollywood, where everyone is gay, and I’ve got supportive family and friends. For me to be sick of talking about a subject that for other people is still so real and has an impact on their daily lives … I kind of think it’s the least I can do.”