Since 2011, Hailee Steinfeld has been working pretty much non-stop and even collected an Oscar nod along the way. Now at nineteen, Steinfield got to travel back in time playing high schooler Nadine in her new film The Edge of Seventeen. We chat with Hailee on going back to school, visiting Tokyo and find out if Hailee has a Mr. Bruner in her real life.
Q: What was your reaction when you first read this script and what was your deciding factor on doing the movie?
When I first read this script it was a little over a year ago. I remember reading this and picking up so many things just off the first read. Normally I find that you read it once, and you decide it’s cool; you like it. If you read it again you start to pick up on certain things and focus and zone in on more specifics. Just off the first read without even feeling that I was looking for specifics or anything in particular, so much of it stayed with me and made me feel like this is a story that understands and gets me. It really captures what it’s like to be a teenager and I remember thinking, “if there’s any way I can bring this to life off the page, I would do anything.”
Q: It seems you passed right over the teenage struggle phase. If you could pass on advice to other teenagers on how to feel more comfortable in your own skin what would it be?
Oh man. I’ve definitely not passed it; just figured out how to mask it. If I could pass on any advice, I guess it is (to) embrace who you are. There are going to be so many people who are going to tell you how to feel and what you should look like or sound like, (even) who you should be like. That’s close to impossible, especially when you are in the midst of trying to figure out who you are to begin with. Let alone how you should be something else. I guess it’s just important to know who you are and believe that there is an inner strength and an inner beauty. Whether it’s a matter of time of discovering that, it’s there. Be you.
Q: In the film your character finds a mentor in Mr. Bruner (Played by Woody Harrelson). Who is your Mr. Bruner in your real life that you go to for advice?
I luckily have multiple people in my life that fall in the place of Mr. Bruner that will tell it to me straight no matter what and are always there for me. Even at their most inconvenient times. Yes I have those people in my life; people that I’ve worked with in my family and even my friends that I know no matter where they are or what time it is, they’ll call and pick up.
Q: We are right in the midst of a girl power movement, where would you say you fall into that?
Where do I feel I fall? I guess in being able to portray a character like Nadine, it shows girls of any age of a young age especially are that you can be powerful, you can be successful, and you can be empowered. But you are allowed to break down, you’re allowed to not be perfect and not have the answer to every question. That’s something I’ve had a hard time comprehending and figuring out for a long time. Because girl power is such a prominent subject and topic of conversation, but the idea of wanting to feel everything and the journey of getting to the place of understanding what it means is the place people don’t necessarily talk about. That’s what they talk about in this movie, and I feel I’ve gone through in the last couple years of my life and I’m still going through and still trying to figure out. I think that’s the idea of letting young women know they’re allowed to feel more than one thing.
Q: What is your definition of friendship? How do you develop and maintain solid friendships with your career?
Some of my best friends, and when I say some, the number I can count on one hand, I have known my whole life. I guess it’s just having that trust, that mutual trust, and mutual loyalty to each other, you know that you can go away for a couple months and pick up where we left off and it’s as if we never left each other’s conversation. Having someone you know you can go to for anything that understands you, that will tell you what you need to hear and not necessarily what you want to hear; just having that someone who is a best friend.
Q: How was Japan?
I loved it.
Q: Did you get to shop?
Q: Did you go to Harijuku? What did you buy?
Yes of course. Clothes, clothes!
The Edge of Seventeen is playing on theaters now.
Interview by Izumi Hasegawa – @HNW_Izumi
Edited by: Jody Taylor – @RealJodyTaylor
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