Wonderland.

MAYA HAWKE

Running on a high and soon to release her debut record Blush, the actor and singer speaks about her hopes for the record and filming season four of Stranger Things.

Maya Hawke wearign white tee and jeans

Top RED VALENTINO Jeans R13

Maya Hawke wearign white tee and jeans
Top RED VALENTINO Jeans R13

Taken from the Summer 2020 issue. Order your copy now.

You can tell many things about a person by how they operate at 8 in the morning. At this hour, many people will still be in varying states of semi-slum- ber, iron-lidded eyes, desperately caressing a coffee like a lifeline for some swifter return to a semblance of normality. But Maya Hawke is not one of those people. When we connect over the phone — her calling from the countryside in Upstate New York (where she is staying with her mother, Hollywood icon Uma Thurman) — she is noticeably very, very much awake. In the background, the house titters with the clanging of pots, chatter, the yapping of a needy dog.

“We’re those people who got quarantine puppies,” she sighs energetically. “I’ve been doing the morning puppy-training-walking stuff, so I’ve been getting up early anyway, but it’s nice to be on the phone with you now.” She breaks conversation to get a straw for her little sister, quipping at me without missing a beat, “a paper straw just in case you put that in there,” simultaneously moving to the fridge to grab milk for her coffee. She is momentarily distracted, apologising as the puppy knocks over nearby potted plants. And then we’re back to it.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the 21-year-old moves and talks at about 100 miles an hour. Not enough to throw you off, but enough to make you ponder enviously if this kind of productive energy can be harnessed, Goop-style, and stirred into your coffee. And arguably some of this work ethic could be attributed to Hawke’s megawatt family tree; she is the daughter of hardworking Hollywood institutions Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke. But one thing I swiftly garner during my chat with Hawke, is that while connections can afford you an open door, it cannot bestow the kind of precocious star power and tenacity that she has very much established for herself.

In just the last couple of years, the breakout actor stole the show on season three of beloved retro Netflix series Stranger Things as spunky, code-breaking lesbian heroine Robin; she has worked with Quentin Tarantino on his most glittering feature to date in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and she has starred in a BBC mini-series of Little Women. She also has a feature with revered director Gia Coppola coming up. And within the first five minutes of our conversation, her excitable chatter has covered topics extending across America’s health insurance system, her environmental tree-planting, the heavily-contested marches against quarantine happening across the country right now, and how her portion of the merch proceeds from her upcoming record will be donated to a New York food bank.

Maya Hawke in white dress
Maya Hawke wearing Miu Miu in field with trees

(LEFT) Dress BROCK COLLECTION Socks ELIZABETH REID Shoes COMMON PROJECTS (RIGHT) Vest MIU MIU Blouse and trousers MONSE Shoes STUART WEITZMAN Socks ELIZABETH REID

Maya Hawke in white dress
Dress BROCK COLLECTION Socks ELIZABETH REID Shoes COMMON PROJECTS Vest MIU MIU Blouse and trousers MONSE Shoes STUART WEITZMAN Socks ELIZABETH REID
Maya Hawke wearing Miu Miu in field with trees

Yes, that’s right; multi-talented Hawke also has her 12-part debut album, Blush, coming out in June. Languidly showcasing her impressive vocal range, it is a sumptuous offering of romantic folk songs that she feels nervous about releasing at such an uncertain time — but hopes people will connect with it. “It’s a wild time to put out art because it both feels totally beside the point and essential,” she explains. “It’s like, ‘oh my gosh I’m going to release a record in the middle of this unprecedented global event’, but also like, ‘gosh I bet people want music right now.’”

She goes on to reference revered female artists Phoebe Bridgers, Laura Marling and Fiona Apple — who have all also released albums in this time — describing the joy they’ve brought her. “It’s been such a wonderful gift to have that music to score this experience for me, and I can’t imagine making a similar impact on anyone like those women have made on me,” she explores modestly. “But I’m proud of it and it has a lot of my heart and soul and experiences and feelings in it. Also, it was written pre-quarantine, and I’ve just been enjoying watching art that doesn’t speak to the current situation. Like I have all kinds of friends who like want to watch Contagion, but I want to watch The Office and I want to listen to Fiona Apple scream about having an annoying boyfriend who didn’t let her talk at dinner!” She pauses and then adds exasperatedly, “and I don’t wanna listen to a celebrity cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine”, you know?”, referencing the cringe celebrity fumble which scorched the internet at the beginning of lockdown. “That does not sound exciting to me!”

And looking ahead to the future, when live music performances are somewhat restored, Hawke would love to go on tour. “Performing is my favourite thing in the whole world,” her voice glimmers. “My favourite way to act is on stage and my favourite way to sing is on stage. It would be a dream come true for me when people begin to be allowed to go back to work, but —” she pauses. “I also have Stranger Things to finish.” To the dismay of fans, it was announced that production on the highly-anticipated season four had halted amidst the lockdown. The last season saw fans fall in love with the sarcastic back-and-forth between Hawke’s character Robin and former jock Steve (played by actor Joe Keery), before Robin reveals her sexuality to him at the end of the series. The anticipation for what comes next is real, and palpable all over the internet.

She remains relatively furtive when I quiz her on what we can expect. “What I can tell you is I’m having an unbelievable amount of fun this year,” she teases. “Even just the two weeks of filming season four were my favourite two weeks of filming on the show altogether, which is saying something because I had an unbelievable time last year. [Robin] is growing and getting freer and more involved, and the brothers [directors Matt and Ross Duffer] are writing a character that’s just more and more exhilarating to act and perform. I’m so excited.” She goes on to praise the “incredible” Joe Keery and the young cast. “I didn’t play a lot of sports in high school, or middle school, or lower school…” she jokes. “But we have a togetherness in this collaboration, and this idea that you’re all fighting for the same cause. We definitely feel like a team.”

Maya Hawke wearing Miu Miu in field with trees

Vest MIU MIU Blouse and trousers MONSE

Maya Hawke wearing Miu Miu in field with trees
Vest MIU MIU Blouse and trousers MONSE

Coming up, the actor also has Gia Coppola’s Mainstream, in which she will star alongside Andrew Garfield, Nat Wolff and Alexa Demie as “Frankie… an intelligent, creative young woman who’s lost and finding her identity”, the film serving as a complex narrative on “whether is it possible to make art in the internet age” and all the ways “one can be usurped by an overbearing relationship.”

Last year, notably, Hawke joined the likes of Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie in Tarantino’s Oscar-scooping Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, popping up in a pivotal scene playing Linda Kasabian — the Manson Family member who famously got cold feet — with emotional rigour. Tarantino, who Hawke describes as “the most enthusiastic person about movies that’s ever walked the earth” is someone she has known since childhood; her mother being the director’s muse and the face of his cult Kill Bill trilogy. Did Thurman transfer any tips to her daughter? “I mean it’s not like you need a strategy to work with Quentin, especially if he has familiarity with you,” Hawke clarifies to me. “But if she had a tip it would be: listen. He’s an unbelievable director, he knows his writing back to front, he has all your lines memorised, and he knows how every shot of that scene should be performed.”

Hawke is very aware of the privileges her parents have given her in the acting world, but wants me to know it is a double-edged sword — and nearly the reason she wanted to avoid acting altogether. But it is also what gave her such a close affinity to music. “Acting has always been very connected to my family, which had its pros and its cons,” Hawke pauses. “Music always felt more… mine. I started practicing guitar and playing and singing when I was a little girl, kind of as a method to communicate. Like, I would have something I wanted to express to a friend at school or to my parents and I would make up a little song about it. I played a show at [now-closed West Village institution] Caffè Vivaldi in New York when I was like 12, where I just asked [my parents] permission to invite all of my friends and my parents’ friends to watch me play the songs that I’d written. I was pretty convinced that I wasn’t interested in pursuing acting professionally. I mean I loved acting, I did every school play, but I didn’t want the pressures of the industry on women and the way that it asks you to make it about your looks, or your age.”

Maya Hawke wearing Miu miu in yellow flower field

Vest MIU MIU Blouse and trousers MONSE

Maya Hawke wearing Miu miu in yellow flower field
Vest MIU MIU Blouse and trousers MONSE

She has clearly thought long and hard about her route and her narrative, and possesses a self-awareness that many people in her position lack. She continues: “And also the issue of nepotism, and that if I went into the business, I would potentially be taking spots away from everybody that didn’t have the connections that I had and were more talented. But at some point I was like OK, I can’t make up all of these reasons not to do the thing I love the most in the world.” After all, growing up, her “favourite thing to do” was to go on set with her parents, sit behind the monitors with the headphones on, “eating Oreos”, and watch her mum and dad “do the same things 15 times over again.” She tells me how her father knew she was going to be an actor when at the age of nine, eager and bright-eyed, she spent over 12 hours one day watching him do back-to-back Chekhov and Shakespeare theatre rehearsals, without losing any of her enthusiasm.

Hawke is not the kind of person to rest on her laurels. Whatever doors she has had opened for her she has wedged three more open herself, and is clearly and confidently establishing her own oeuvre. “I think in the end you only get a couple of chances and a couple of free tickets on a name,” she lingers thoughtfully. “But if you keep sucking they’re gonna stop inviting you to the party, you know? So I hope to get a couple more chances not to suck, and I hope I can do a good job and keep getting invited to the party.”

Photography
Manoela Livinalli
Styling
Sarah Slutsky
Words
Maybelle Morgan
Make Up
Chanel Beauty
MAYA HAWKE
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