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Hailee Steinfeld on Leaving Her Teen Years Behind: “It’s Bittersweet”

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To all the naysayers who think actresses can’t sing, Hailee Steinfeld is here to prove you dead wrong. The 19-year-old actress, who first sprung into the limelight in the Coen brothers’ 2010 film True Grit, is fast on her way to becoming a bona fide pop star, touring with Meghan Trainor and performing songs off her debut EP Haiz, a nickname given to her by her fans. (Like a true millennial, Steinfeld commands a social media following that surpasses four million.) Oh, and her new film, The Edge of Seventeen, is getting critical acclaim.

Here, the singer-actress gets candid about playing iHeartRadio’s Jingle Ball for the second year in a row, fangirling over Swedish vocalist Tove Lo, and entering her twenties.

You’re currently touring with Jingle Ball and promoting The Edge of Seventeen. How are you managing everything?
I feel like life is becoming the definition of the phrase, “When it rains, it pours.” It’s always like this. I’ll have a couple of weeks off, then bam—everything happens at once. I have no complaints, though.

Is the first day on tour similar to the first day on a movie set?
Definitely. No matter what, I always feel like I’ve never done it before and I know absolutely nothing. But Jingle Ball feels like a high school reunion every year—we’re all back running through the halls and everyone’s on a new schedule. The energy is always great.

Who are you excited to see from this year’s lineup?
I generally freak out over anything Bruno Mars is involved in.

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Has anyone from the music industry come out as a fan of Haiz?
I’ll never forget meeting Tove Lo for the first time backstage at the American Music Awards last year. I freaked out … I’m completely obsessed with her and her music, and I couldn’t form a sentence, but I was trying to say, “I’m a really big fan of yours,” and it turns out that she’s been so supportive of me, too.

Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
I live on Spotify’s Today’s Top Hits playlist. Whatever is on there, I’ll sing through or get my dancers to jam out to.

VIDEO: MTV Video Music Awards 2016 Red Carpet Fashion

 

You’re turning 20 on Dec. 11. How does it feel to be entering a new decade?
The Edge of Seventeen is the perfect tie-in—I feel like it’s my graduation from being a teenager. I am no longer one, nor do I know that I’ll be able to play one. It’s a little bittersweet, but I’m excited to see what my twenties brings.

RELATED: Meet Hayden Szeto, Hailee Steinfeld’s Love Interest in The Edge of Seventeen

Will you be celebrating onstage like last year?
I just found out that the Critics’ Choice Awards are on my actual birthday … I still need to plan. I’ve been so busy! I might just wait another year ’til the big one.



Watch the music video for “Starving” feat. Zedd above, and buy Haiz for $4 on the iTunes Store.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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