Hailee Steinfeld is on a roll right now.
With three consecutive hits in the past year in “Starving,” “Let Me Go” and “Most Girls,” Steinfeld has taken her platform as a beloved actress in films like “Edge of Seventeen” and the “Pitch Perfect” franchise and turned it into genuine pop music stardom. And, with her debut album on the way, she shows no signs of slowing down.
Ahead of her performance at the Kellogg’s NYC space in Union Square, AOL Entertainment sat down with Steinfeld to talk about her upcoming album, the reason behind her one-off single releases and reflecting on her Oscar nomination for “True Grit” seven years ago at Sunday’s Vanity Fair Oscars party.
Check out our full conversation with Hailee Steinfeld below:
You’re performing at Kellogg’s NYC on “National Cereal Day Eve,” which has to be one of the more unique performance opportunities you’ve had in recent memory.
Oh, yeah! Totally. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a very big fan of cereal, and to be here performing in this incredible space is amazing. I have a feeling if I weren’t performing, I would be here anyway celebrating as a tourist because where else would you want to be on National Cereal Day? This would be my spot.
In the past year or so, you’ve had three massive hits back-to-back-to-back: “Starving,” “Let Me Go” and “Most Girls.” Do you feel like you’re on a roll?
It’s crazy, really. It’s so exciting how the music thing has been working for me. To have one after another like that is not easy, and I owe a lot to my fans and my label. Mentally, I do feel like I’m on a roll, and I’m working on my album right now. With the EP and the last few singles, they’ve brought me all over the world, and I can’t wait to see where this album takes me.
Do you feel pressure to follow up one hit with another?
There is that sort of — if you want to call it “pressure” — in the way back of my mind, and it’s an obvious conversation of, “What are we going to follow this up with?” But I honestly feel like you can never go wrong with following something up with something else that means something to you. At the end of the day, if it doesn’t necessarily resonate with other people, it still meant something to you, and I always think that that’s the most important.
You’ve been releasing your singles mostly as one-offs, instead of songs that are part of albums or longer projects. Was that a conscious decision? That strategy seems to work for a lot of artists in this streaming-centric landscape.
It was sort of [conscious], but also I would go away for three months and make a movie and couldn’t commit myself to an album at that time or to more than one song at that time. Luckily, my fans are great and patient and loyal enough to live with one single for as long as they have.
Don’t pick a fight with Hailee Steinfeld. Just don’t. The Pitch Perfect 3 star may be known for being both an actress and singer, but she quickly hit triple-threat status — in the most literal sense of the word — after posting a video of herself going all Rocky Balboa on a speedbag.
“I posted that video and got more texts from my friends than anything else I’ve posted,” she laughs. “Everyone was like, ‘Are you actually doing that?'”
Yes, yes, she was. Her dad taught her how to kickbox as a kid, and it’s a skill she’s quietly honed ever since. “It took me so long to get it right, but now, I’ve been doing it for so long that I didn’t think anything of it,” Steinfeld explains.
It’s a good way to counterbalance her favorite snack — cereal — which the star says she rarely goes six hours without grabbing. “Frosted Flakes is my current favorite, though it changes so often,” Steinfeld says, adding that she’s recently gotten into mixing Frosted Flakes with Frosted Mini Wheats. The “Capital Letters” singer is spending the afternoon at the Kellogg’s Cafe as she gears up to headline a concert there in honor of National Cereal Day.
Before Steinfeld took the stage, she stopped to talk about how she stays fit on the road, the truck-stop foods she can’t turn down (ever), and why her dad’s the best motivational coach she knows.
She Doesn’t Deny Her Cravings
Steinfeld goes after what she wants, whether it’s on stage or in the fridge. For breakfast, she’ll typically grab a bowl of cereal. For lunch, she’s big on burgers, pasta, or grilled chicken with rice, and when it comes to dinner, she loves to go for breakfast, round two.
“Scrambled eggs, pancakes, what else? I love it all,” she says. “You know what the best thing in the world is? French toast with corn flakes. I had them in New York, I wish I could remember where, and it’s French toast coated in corn flakes. It’s kind of insane.”
She Always Keeps Peanut Butter On Hand
When it comes to a quick pick-me-up snack, Steinfeld chooses a little peanut butter for a protein boost that’ll keep her feeling full longer than a candy bar or popcorn. Just don’t hand her any of that crunchy stuff. “Creamy all the way,” she says.
She Swears By A 15-Minute Rule
Steinfeld makes it a point to exercise at least 15 minutes a day, every day, no matter where she is. “It keeps my head clear and keeps me in check,” she explains. “My dad’s a personal fitness trainer, and he really helps me create a workout in the space that I’m in, wherever I am. I travel with resistance bands, so I’ll jump rope and do a combination of movements [to stay toned].”
Just don’t think that means she’s always psyched to work out.
“More often than not, I don’t feel like working out, actually,” Steinfeld admits. “My dad’s so incredible. He’s the best advice-giver, and his discipline and drive inspires me.”
Often, he’ll text her in the mornings to help her stay motivated.
“He’ll say things like, ‘Believe in yourself,’ ‘stay true to yourself,’ ‘drink a lot of water,’ and even typical dad stuff,” Steinfeld says.