Words: Will Stroude
It's been a whirlwind 12 months for Connor Jessup, whose professional and personal lives are both firmly in the ascendancy.
The Canadian actor, 25, is currently starring in Netflix's new supernatural series Locke & Key, and after coming out publicly as gay last summer and making his relationship with 13 Reasons Why star Miles Heizer Instagram official earlier this month, he's quickly established himself as one of TV's hottest out and proud stars.
As Connor appears on the cover of Attitude's new April Style issue - out now to download and to order globally, the Toronto-born star opens up about his public and private journey to coming out, and reveals how falling in love for the first time was the spark that inspired him to share his sexuality with the world.
"It was something I’d been thinking about more and more, and the reasons that I wasn’t saying anything felt thinner to me every day", Connor says of his decision to come out in a heartfelt post on Instagram in June 2019, shared to coincide with US Pride month.
"The excuses that I’d been giving myself for years were dissolving, and I couldn’t think of any reason not to."
Confirming that he's been dating Heizer - who plays 13 Reasons Why's Alex Standall - for "about 18 months", Connor says the relationship is "nothing like" any he's ever been in before, and credits it with giving him the courage to come out publicly.
Connor shot at The Standard, East Village, in New York, wears knitwear and trousers Dior, trainers by Lacoste, socks by Sockshop (Photography: Taylor Miller)
"I’ll spare you the boring story of how we met because it’s truly unexciting, but I will say - not to get sappy - that the other factor that led to me deciding to come out, and I guess maybe one of the sparks at the beginning of the fuse, was that I fell in love", Connor explains.
"When you’re happy, you want to be happy publicly, and it made me think about the whole construction of my life in a way that I had been avoiding.
"I probably wouldn’t have [come out] if that hadn’t happened."
Jessup, who got his big break starring in US sci-fi series Falling Skies from 2011-15, adds that he put his romantic life on ice in the early year of his career, before he met Heizer.
Photography: Taylor Miller. Shot at The Standard, East Village, in New York
"The excuse was always that I was busy working and there was never the time to meet people — that’s all true to an extent, but also I think I was afraid", he recalls.
"There’s still this phenomenon where you can be out like I was, but in my day-to-day life, I wasn’t doing anything that would make people think I was gay.
Connor wears tee by M&S Collection, jeans by Levi’s (Photography: Taylor Miller at The Standard, East Village, in New York
"I wasn’t in a relationship and I wasn’t looking to be because I was ignoring that part of me. I put myself on pause for a while."
"So, I had relationships, but nothing like the one I’m in right now.
"This is my first time being in love."