NiK Kacy

Coming Out for Love focuses on inclusivity and diversity rather than the usual drama

JENNY BLOCK | Contributing Writer

It’s about time: The first-ever lesbian dating show — Coming Out for Love — is finally here! The show, filmed at the Palm Palace in Palm Springs, is definitely a stand out in a very big crowd. Forget the Bachelorette. Coming Out for Love focuses on inclusivity and diversity, and it is breaking barriers and challenging norms every step of the way.

For audiences who have been waiting for a show that celebrates that love is love is love, your time has come. Coming Out for Love makes it not only ok to talk about all things love and life, it creates a safe and inviting space for contestants to connect and for viewers to watch.

The director, award-winning lesbian filmmaker Nicole Conn, known for her acclaimed films Elena Undone and A Perfect Ending, is committed to showcasing queer contestants from diverse backgrounds. Contestants include Adora Ramos, Anna Paulette, Danae Kristine Winter, Ganna Bubnova, Lotus, Michele Lundy, Shiragirl, Sterling Victorian, Tarrah Aroonsakool, Chieko Kagiyama, Erica Paddy, Katja Davis, Sunni Dread, Sofia Carillo, Matison, Card and Michelle Mary Schaefer.

The show handles a plethora of topics and how they intersect in the world of queer identity, including addiction, race, gender nonconformity, mental health and being differently-abled. Through its ground-breaking approach, Coming Out for Love gives voices to those who are often not heard in mainstream media.

Actress Jessica Clark is the host of the show in which contestants are competing to win the affections of the “keymaster.” Celebrity guest judges include Jen Rainin, Franco Stevens, Sedona Prince, Caroline Rose Giuliani, and Olivia Travel as well as designer NiK Kacy. “To me, Coming Out for Love is the first ‘dating show’ that is completely committed to queer love, whether it be L, G, B, T, Q or the plus,” Kacy said. “Compared to other dating shows, which only include queer dating during June or specific episodes, this is the first show of its kind devoted to our community and that believes that we, too, deserve to find love, and ourselves, no matter how we identify within the gender spectrum and queer identity.”

Kacy, 48, was born in Hong Kong, grew up in New York City and now lives in Los Angeles. They hold a dual BFA in fine arts and advertising from Pepperdine University with a minor in international and intercultural Communications.

They have been an entrepreneur for the last decade, having left Google as a senior producer “to pursue creating the first gender-equal footwear and accessories company, called NiK Kacy Footwear,” they said. “On this journey as a fashion designer and brand, it led me to also create Equality Fashion Week, the first LGBTQ+ focused fashion week in LA.”

Kacy is also on the boards for important queer-focused nonprofits, like The Queer26 which supports queer BIPOC youth in the multimedia industry. They have dedicated much of their life to community service which includes being on the Trans Advisory Board in 2022 for the city of West Hollywood and this year in the newly formed LGBTQ+ Commission, also for West Hollywood.

The show’s creator, Nicole Conn, reached out to Kacy two years ago “to discuss the concept of the show and to ensure the show’s inclusivity when naming the show,” they said. “She invited me to join the show and be a guest judge.” She also asked to borrow some of their designs for the show’s “key master” to wear.

“Nicole’s commitment in using her platform through this show to showcase each of the cast and judges’ brands and creative pursuits is really quite astounding,” Kacy said. “I’ve never seen anyone incorporate so much of the showtime to cover all the creatives and give them so much exposure.”

Kacy said they really enjoyed watching so many of the contestants gain confidence and find their voice throughout the show.

“This show is one of a kind in how the contestants bonded together versus most shows. It also touched on important issues regarding race, queer identities, gender spectrums and even just coming out,” Kacy said. “I think so many folks who are questioning or not understanding can gain a lot from watching this show, not to mention that it is definitely entertaining.”

Viewers should tune in, they said, because unlike most reality TV, this not only has the drama and suspense, it also includes education, growth and a genuine authenticity to each of the characters that isn’t often seen in the genre.

Coming Out for Love is available on the private streaming network exclusively. The first episode can also be seen on OML TV, a prominent queer streaming platform.

Kacy said they already cannot wait for Season 2: “I hope to have a bigger part in the show next time!”

Coming Out For Love will be hosting a cast meet & greet with Jessica Clark and NiK Kacy on Thursday, Sept. 14, from 7-9 p.m. at Sue Ellen’s, 3014 Throckmorton Ave.