Not many people can say they’ve played Madison Square Garden on their birthday, let alone their 19th birthday. Just last week, Hailee Steinfeld — yes, the actress nominated orayor an Oscar at age 14 — performed at the famed venue as part of iHeartRadio’s US Jingle Ball tour, less than a year after kicking off her music career.
Speaking to the almost grown-up wunderkind about her acting and music careers, forays into the fashion world, motivations and her Aussie pals, the well-spoken “Love Myself” singer proved that she really does kill it at anything she sets her mind to. The only reminder of her age? When she told us her mum still travels with her…
theFashionSpot: First things first — Congratulations on the release of your EP Haiz and Happy Birthday for Friday! How did you celebrate?
Hailee Steinfeld: Thank you so much! I was actually (laughs) on stage at Madison Square Garden performing a part of the line-up for the Jingle Ball tour.
tFS: Amazing! Not many people can say they’ve played Madison Square Garden on their birthday…
HS: Yeah, I think it definitely topped any other birthday I’ve ever had!
tFS: Before kicking off your music career and releasing ‘Love Myself’, did you seek any advice in the lead up?
HS: I did reach out to a couple of my friends and I was like, “Ok, what am I getting myself into?” and a lot of them were like, “You’re going to love it so much, it will be the best thing you’ve ever done. Just have fun with it and enjoy it and relax and it’ll be the best time.” I’ve been very lucky to have friends that have gone through a lot and know exactly what I’m going through and have been so supportive of me.
tFS: Have you found yourself facing any pressures or obstacles being a young woman in the entertainment industry?
HS: I think there are everyday struggles that you have to overcome. I think that just the change is the biggest sort of obstacle for me and learning about this whole world, in general, has been complicated but I do love it so much and have an amazing support system and people that help me get through it.
tFS: You’ve just wrapped filming your latest movie, Besties, and went straight on to your performances for Jingle Ball. How crazy is your schedule and how do you fit everything in?
HS: It’s pretty crazy and it’s only gotten crazier, which is exciting but also, ah, (laughs) a lot. I finished the movie two days before I started this Jingle Ball tour and it’s just crazy how it’s all happening so fast and I couldn’t be more thankful and excited. Luckily I have my mum [who] travels with me and helps me make time for everything.
tFS: So you’ve always been clear about your love of fashion and the fashion world adores you — what’s been a standout fashion experience for you so far?
HS: When I was 14 I did the campaign for Miu Miu and I like to consider that my real introduction to fashion. Having met Mrs. Prada and her whole team and seeing how much goes into a campaign or a fashion show that lasts just minutes long, I just gained so much respect and appreciation for what they do and that’s something that’s really stood out.
tFS: The relationship between you and Miu Miu has continued over the years. Which Miu Miu ensemble has been your favourite to wear?
HS: Oh wow… I went to the Met Gala with Prada [in 2012]. I wore this gown that had these little glass-blown figures on them and the dress was so heavy but it was so amazing and through the night, these little figures started to fall off but I was collecting them and I took them home so I have like these little glass bananas and frogs in my drawer by my bed.
tFS: After attending five Met Galas, would you say 2012 was your highlight or did another Met Gala top it?
HS: That definitely was an amazing year – Bruno Mars performed that year and he’s one of my all-time favourite artists, so that was really an amazing night. Every Met Ball experience I’ve had has been super fun. It’s one of my favourite events.
tFS: So tell us…how has it been combining your love of music and acting through Pitch Perfect 2?
HS: That was such a dream to combine both of my loves and passions. It was so great to go to work every day as an actor and then go on set and sing and dance. It just never felt like we were making a movie, which was the best part.
tFS: And you must be excited with everything all confirmed for Pitch Perfect 3?
HS: Yeah, I haven’t seen the script yet but I know that it’s happening and I’m so excited!
tFS: You’re performing with Aussies 5SOS and Conrad Sewell on the Jingle Ball tour and have working alongside Rebel Wilson on Pitch Perfect 2 and Kodi Smit-McPhee in Romeo & Juliet — Have you learned anything about Australians from working with them?
HS: I have learned that Australians are some of my favourite people and they’re very funny. I actually saw the 5SOS boys last night and they are just like, such a good time. I honestly adore them and Rebel is amazing. I love Kodi! I haven’t seen him in the longest time but I absolutely love him and I am yet to meet Conrad but I am also a huge fan of him and his music.
tFS: So what other Australian artists are you a big fan of? We believe you like Sia…
HS: Oh my god, yeah, she is so… I admire her so much and everything she stands for. Her music is so powerful and she’s such an amazing person. I met her a while ago but I was recently able to kind of talk to her and have a conversation with her and she’s just such a nice person.
tFS: So after all of your success so far, what was the biggest reassurance for you when you started your music career?
HS: I really think my fans and their support. There are so many people involved when it comes to making a record and putting it out and there are so many voices and opinions. I think the one thing I was most aware of was the reaction from my fans.
Seeing how much love and support they were showing me meant so much and I knew that if I could continue to make them happy then I’d be doing the right thing. I am also with Republic Records and they have been so incredibly supportive of me and have been there to help me and to keep my vision and I think them signing me was pretty reassuring (laughs).