From a Pitch Perfect “Bella” to pop music’s girl next door, Hailee Steinfeld is preaching self-love and confidence for the Instagram generation.
Taken from the 10th Birthday Issue of Wonderland.
Black top, chain metal skirt and louis jewel chain belt all by LOUIS VUITTON
You might know Hailee Steinfeld for that casual Oscar nomination she picked up aged 14, for her role as Mattie Ross in True Grit, or maybe you spotted her in that insanely beautiful 2010 Miu Miu campaign. She also starred in Pitch Perfect 2 and if that wasn’t enough, she owned Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” video in an absolutely killer white catsuit. There are a lot of reasons you recognise Hailee Steinfeld and there’s about to be another.
This year, in her spare time between feature films and iconic music videos, Steinfeld released her debut single “Love Yourself ”. It’s an anthem for a generation transfixed by social media, an antidote to the competitive world of Instagram. It’s also a really phenomenal pop song. Steinfeld’s been making music for herself for years, but this is the first time she’s released something into the world and it must have been scary, even for such a seasoned star. “Jumping into new territory and suddenly making decisions on my own as an adult has been nerve-wracking,” she tells me,“my confidence definitely wavered and it’s funny because even though the song is called ‘Love Myself ’ and I’m saying I don’t need anybody else, I’m not saying I don’t want anybody else.”
I doubt Steinfeld needs to worry about being left on her own, between her family and the producers and directors she works with, she’s surrounded by people who encourage and support her creatively. She’s as fiercely determined as you’d imagine a teenager with such an impressive career under her belt to be; “I always find that if I look to challenge myself I never really get bored, I love the idea of overcoming something I never thought that I could do initially”. “I set the bar high” she laughs. She’s not kidding.
Her dedication to making things the best they can be is clear in her debut single – which is very far from being a pop song for a pop song’s sake. Maybe thanks in part to the depth and experience she’s gained from acting, plus a heavy dose of natural intuition. “Love Myself ” carries a message of self-confidence and (you guessed it) self love, which feels incredibly relevant and necessary to her generation.“We live in a time where social media is very present,” Steinfeld explains, “it’s very easy to hide behind a device and turn towards a person you don’t know in the hopes of it making you feel better, so just the idea of spreading love and being positive is needed and it’s wanted.”
Currently finishing off her debut album, Steinfeld excitement over the new project is palpable. Movie fans need not fear because it definitely doesn’t mean she’s moving away from acting (“the idea of not doing it is not even a thing”). Instead, she’s figuring out how to “find that perfect balance” and while most of us are keen to strike a good work/life balance, Steinfeld’s seems to be more like work/work. Then again, when you’re trying to mediate between your two dream jobs, it probably rarely feels like a slog.
Anyway, there are always ways of combining your favourite things, in my case it’s cake, ice-cream and TV, in Steinfeld’s case it’s starring in Pitch Perfect 2. “I was such a huge fan of the first movie so to be part of the second one is so exciting, the vibe on set is amazing,” she gushes. “Obviously I’m not in college so I don’t know what that’s like but I feel like filming has been a pretty similar experience,” she explains. “You go to work and there’s a board with everyone’s name on it and what time you’re supposed to be at what fitting or rehearsal – you sing songs that are stuck in your head forever, dance around, have lunch with the girls in your trailer, dance some more, go back to your hotel room. And then you’re in a group chat with all 11 of the Bellas – that hasn’t ended since we started filming.”
Just hearing her talking about it all sounds exhausting, but the enthusiasm is contagious. I momentarily imagine myself leaping around in “sweats”, and then I stop imagining myself in sweats and continue the interview. “Pitch Perfect 2 gave me the opportunity as an actor to see what it’s like to record on a daily basis,” Steinfeld adds. “It’s really great to have experienced that so I can feel good doing it now. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned in the last six months of recording – if you were to ask me when I was 12 if I was fully ready to make music, I don’t know if I could have confidently said ‘yes’.” And now? “I most definitely can.”
It’s kind of insane to imagine how determined Steinfeld must be, so it makes total sense that her first single should be all about having the confidence to love yourself, regardless of what anyone else might think. “As I get older I can relate to it more and more” says Steinfeld. “I have moments where I feel very confident and I love that feeling and then there are times when I don’t at all.”
I wonder how she manages to stay so inspired and energetic; “I tell myself a hundred times a day that everything happens for a reason,” she explains, adding; “I live by the idea that if it’s meant to be it will be.” Judging by the calibre of her success so far, I have a very strong feeling that whatever Steinfeld might choose to throw herself into next, it’s very much meant to be.
Black sleeveless polo knit by LOUIS VUITTON
White cotton top STYLIST’S OWN and black and white mohair floral trousers by CELINE
Tan nylon suit jacket, white wool knit polo and tan nylon trousers all by LOUIS VUITTON
Photographer: Carlos Serrao
Hair: Marcus Francis at Starworks using Kerastase
Make Up: Stephen Solitto
Photo Assistants: Ron Loepp, Monica May, Roger Pittard and Simon McDermott Johnson
Words: Bertie Brandes