• Beth Johnstone

The New, Queer Ella


© Ella Grace Denton, @ellagracedenton via Instagram


Influencer and musician Ella Grace Denton pursues authenticity and sexual freedom.


2011 – Toms are in fashion and Ben Howard’s ‘Old Pine’ and Ed Sheeran’s ‘The A Team’ are played repeatedly, through both the radio and your iPod Touch. Young Brits like Zoe Sugg, Tanya Burr and Louise Pentland are defining what it means to be a YouTuber. Within this online scene, a beautiful, beachy young woman can be seen on the periphery – Ella Grace Denton posts a couple of videos, and later dates Jack Harries of JacksGap, and, though her videos are few, thousands of teenage girls in the UK begin following her.


Later aligning herself with the online vegan community, which she’s no longer a part of, Ella became a core part of the wholesome, spiritual side of Instagram. Advocating for connection and support between women, Ella’s following on Instagram continued to grow, peaking at over 220,000 in 2019.


In December 2019, Ella revealed to followers via her podcast, ReWilding, that she was questioning her sexuality after her first lesbian experience in Bali earlier in the year. In the podcast episode, entitled ‘Am I Gay?! // Exploring Intimacy With Women’, Ella is open about her feelings before, during and after the experience, some of which were uncomfortable and forced her to confront internalised shame about her sexuality. Her spirituality guided the experience: “I thought it would be really beautiful and healing, and I always thought it would come to me at the right time. I looked up to the sky, with a joking energy, and said ‘Universe, I want to have my perfect lesbian experience!’” When she allowed herself to lean into this unexplored side of her sexuality, the way Ella’s body and mind responded surprised her:


“I can’t explain the feeling I felt. I felt this really humbling feeling rushing through my whole body, and I felt this deep, deep repression that was there for me that I’d really never seen. I was in pure overwhelm. I was experiencing myself for the first time in this way. This was a part of myself that I hadn’t seen. I felt like a part of me was open again.”


Since opening up to her followers about her sexuality, Ella’s online presence is markedly different. Her aesthetic is less femme, and more edgy – she’s replaced acoustics and cable knits with devil horn filters, baggy skate Ts, black corsets and animal print. Not to mention her cherry red electric guitar, with which she’s reinvented herself in recent years.


On TikTok, which she joined earlier in the year, Ella steps further into her queer identity than she’s done so far on Instagram. Her content references lesbian sex dreams, the sweetness of kissing a woman and being a #babygay compared to the skate park’s ‘OG Lesbians’. Her newfound queerness is humble, and she's clearly in her element, even if most of us really didn’t see it coming.


© Ella Grace Denton, @ellagracedenton via Instagram


It’s hard not to read into the fact that she’s lost 60,000 followers since coming out and changing her image. Perhaps her new aesthetic and increasing focus on music just doesn’t interest some ex-followers. Another option is, of course, subtle homophobia – subtle because whilst she’s lost followers, the comments on her posts have remained supportive.


Whilst many followers have dropped off for whatever reason, Ella truly embodies the commitment to growth that she’s always advocated for. Though she doesn’t use labels, her story is a beacon to bicurious and bisexual women that haven’t yet allowed themselves to fully explore their sexualities. Ella Grace Denton, the girl next door with spiritual tendencies turned queer musician, represents all the women having recurring lesbian sex dreams, the women that swipe right like they’re gay but are yet to kiss another woman, the women fantasizing about a ‘lesbian experience’ that still feels far away. Ladies – open the door.


Find Ella on Instagram, Spotify and TikTok