Kalen Allen knows what he's talking about, and he's letting it all go in our new virtual interview series, Inside with The Advocate.
Since releasing his viral “Kalen Reacts” videos, where he gives colorful commentary on culinary preparations, the young media personality has skyrocketed to fame.
It didn't take long before he started working with one of the most prominent lesbians in the world, Ellen DeGeneres, when she discovered him in 2018. The renowned talk show host fell for the affable and witty Allen, and ended up inviting him to collaborate and produce content for her digital platforms.
Holding a regular guest spot on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in addition to his weekly digital news series, OMKalen, where he provides commentary on trending pop culture stories, as well as a growing list of acting gigs in the works, the man is staying busy.
While the world continues to respond to the global health crisis, Allen, like much of the world, is at home self-isolating. Being unable to work is a new discipline for the on-the-go personality who describes himself as a "homebody."
"I don’t really like leaving my house any way, so the fact that I don’t have events to go to ... this is heaven," Allen quips to co-editor in chief David Artavia. "I’ve been doing so much cooking."
The young talent is known for making binge-worthy uplifting (and hysterical) content, something he says is more intentional than we realize.
"I like to feel good so I’m not going to make content that is going to make other people feel bad," he explains. "I think drama and negativity doesn’t feel good, so I leave that over there. I want to make content that makes me happy and my viewer happy, and sometimes I feel like the negativity just participating in drama isn’t necessary."
Of course, he's received inspiration from a gay icon.
"I always say Beyonce is my mentor but she just doesn’t know it," he explains. "Watching behind the scenes of when she was growing up, watching her work and how she was always giving it her all, she stayed as long as her team stayed, she made sure things got done, she was always part of every single step. I think most importantly... Beyonce controls her own narrative and I think that is powerful to be able to control your own narrative. When someone has something bad to say and you don’t give them a response, you end up the one that wins in the end."
As for Ellen, Allen says it's a constant education — one that has given him a new dream.
"I love the ability to be able to be front row and center to the master," he says of DeGeneres. "It feels as though I’m taking a master class every single day. It’s great for me to be able to be in a space, especially at the age of 24, to be able to sit there and watch her do what she’s done for so many years and see how easy it is for her, and to see the certain things she does and how she figures out how she wants the show to run. It’s been absolutely inspiring. I think it has really helped me to, first, figure out who I am, and more importantly, figure out what I want in my life in the future. I think ultimately what I’ve learned from watching Ellen is that I want my own talk show as well."
As for healing the world, Allen says it starts inward.
"I believe that in order to have a better world, we first have to correct and fix what is wrong with us internally," he says. "Once we find more inner peace, then that peace can go out to the world. I think there are a lot of people that want to be activists or that want to be on the front line, but haven’t fixed certain things within themselves and are just trying to save the world. But, a hero can’t save the world if they still got things going on in their own [head]. So I think once we fix ourselves first, then I think we can heal the world as a whole."
Watch the full interview above.