Hailee Steinfeld’s trajectory has not been, to put it mildly, that of your ordinary young Hollywood star. At the age of 13, the actress was chosen (out of a preposterously large pool of 15,000 young women) to play the lead role in the Coen brothers’ film, True Grit, earning an Academy Award nomination for her performance. (She lost out to The Fighter’s Melissa Leo in the best supporting actress category.)
While she has been acting steadily since then, her roles have increasingly taken on a tuneful bent. Steinfeld has appeared in movies like Begin Again (the appealing 2013 musical starring Keira Knightley) and Pitch Perfect 2 (the second film in the juggernaut aca-franchise), as well as the music video for pal Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood.” And this theme coincides with the other major pursuit in Steinfeld’s life: yes, like a millennial Jennifer Lopez, Steinfeld is trying to maintain her acting career while also attempting to achieve pop-music stardom.
Steinfeld, now 19, has released one well-received EP (2015’s Haiz), and is currently opening for Meghan Trainor on a large-scale U.S. tour. She says that the offer to tour with Trainor completely floored her: “The text that came was completely out of the blue, and I was so not expecting it. But when I did [read it], I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is like . . . this has got to be unheard of. I’m so excited; this is so insane.’”
Steinfeld says she had met the 22-year-old Trainor a “couple of times,” and that the singer “[has] just been very, very supportive.” The young multihyphenate—whose mother accompanies her on the road—is clearly still adjusting to the touring musician lifestyle, though, explaining that the “whole tour bus thing” is “not easy.” She adds, “My sleep pattern is so incredibly off, and I don’t know how to correct it.”
Steinfeld—whose most recent single, a collaboration with Zedd titled “Starving,” is currently at No. 53 on the Billboard Hot 100—says this pop lane is one she has long been thrilled to journey down. “[Previously] all I knew was the recording process and the writing process, and I absolutely loved that—and going to the studio, and not having to worry about what you look like or what you’re wearing,” she recounts. “Now, getting the other side of it, I feel like I’m really learning the life of an artist and I’m really obsessed with it and I want to make an album and I want to go on tour and keep doing this.” Steinfeld cites Lopez as a role model, noting her ability to juggle two career paths skillfully. “I saw J. Lo [perform] in Vegas, and her trajectory and where she’s been, how she’s gotten to where she’s at now . . . I’m so incredibly inspired by her. She’s pulled off the acting thing as well as the music thing at the same time, and that’s obviously part of my plan too.”