Category: Interviews

Popular Girl: Haley Lu Richardson

Haley Lu Richardson is best known for her role as Tess in the ABC Family series “Ravenswood” and currently stars alongside Melissa Rauch (Big Bang Theory) in the hit comedy “The Bronze”.

In “The Bronze”, the 21-year-old Arizona native plays Maggie Townsend a promising young gymnast that threatens the local celebrity status of forgotten Olympic medalist Hope (played by Rauch). We caught up with Haley in LA to talk about the movie with a quick round of our POP Quiz. Check it out!!!

NAME: Haley Lu Richardson

NICKNAME: Hay, Lucy, small, peanut

OCCUPATION: Actor, Dancer

MOST TEXTED PERSON IN YOUR PHONE: My boyfriend or my mother

DREAM ROLE IN A MOVIE THAT’S ALREADY BEEN MADE: There are so many movies I would have loved to be in but my DREAM role is dancing contemporary/jazz and acting together in a really good film!

CAREER ICON: Meryl Streep, Sally Field, Ginger Rogers, Jennifer Lawrence

SPIRIT ANIMAL: Lizards because they just bask in the sun for hours!


FAVORITE BOOK: I don’t read a lot of books because I read scripts all day long. Maybe, The Giving Tree.

TV ADDICTION: Grey’s Anatomy, Nashville and The Bachelor!

KARAOKE ANTHEM: “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood

LAST MOVIE WATCHED: I recently watched “In Bruges” with my parents.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR FILM “THE BRONZE. “The Bronze” is a comedy movie and I honestly feel like you have to hate life if you don’t laugh at it! It’s about Hope Ann Greggory, who is a washed up, bitter gymnast living in her glory days that gets stuck with training my character, Maggie Townsend, who is annoyingly innocent and naive. The film can be shockingly inappropriate and crass at times, but there is a really sad quality to Hope, which makes it touching to follow her journey.

HOW ARE YOU FEELING TODAY? I’m feeling pretty good! Today was my first day in a couple weeks where I didn’t really have much to do so I napped, which was really nice.

WHAT IS POPULAR? Being yourself! And Birkenstocks (to me anyways).

The Imagista – Interview

From dancing to acting, it is clear that Haley Lu was born to entertain. This young actress is making a big splash in the industry and we at imagista got the chance to chat with her.

Imagista: How old were you when you first started acting? How did you get into it?

Haley: Well… that’s a long story. I kind of did something that a lot of people found stupid, I didn’t really do much acting before I moved here and I moved here when I was sixteen. I did community theater when I was really young in Arizona and even then, I couldn’t get the main roles in the plays. I played these random roles that no one cared about like an old woman that was pretty much an extra, that had one line in one play. So I did that when I was very young in Arizona, then I got into dancing. When I was eight or nine I started competitive dance, it was very different from acting obviously but it’s similar in that it’s entertaining and telling a story and emoting, it’s a form of art and performance. I did that until I was sixteen.

Imagista: What style of dance was it?

Haley: I did contemporary, jazz, lyrical. I trained in everything, I did tap and hip hop as well but I kind of sucked at those. I was part of a competitive company at the studio that I went to in Arizona and even though we were all kids, all the kids were expected to take it very seriously. I don’t know if you watch shows like Dance Moms or something, but it’s very similar to that, its super hardcore on the mind and the body. All the girls are so long but you are treated like a professional dancer because the stakes are so high. When you are passionate about something, there is no other option than to make it your life.

Imagista: That’s cool.

Haley: Yeah, then when I was fifteen or sixteen a lot of my friends in dance were realizing that it was something they did more for fun and they didn’t want to make a career out of it and I was always one of the girls in the dance company that took it more seriously than others. There are only a few routes that you can take in becoming a professional dancer, you can go around and be part of a classical ballet company, which I couldn’t do because I’m really short and don’t have the body for ballet. You can be in a contemporary ballet group, in a traveling modern company or you move to Los Angeles or New York where you can be on broadway or in music videos. So I was just picturing myself doing that and I honestly felt like I might get a little bored of it. Then when I first moved to L.A., I was getting back into the acting thing and that hadn’t really clicked yet, so I got back into dancing and got a dance agent to make money and get a chance to see what it was like to work in L.A. and be a performer. I was dancing in video games and in parades and really random things and I was realizing that it wasn’t fulfilling. Backup dancing is very different than dancing alone in a studio and doing something that really moves you, very rarely can you get an opportunity like that where you are doing something that is really fulfilling as a backup dancer.

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Meet Haley Lu Richardson (Paper Mag)

After stints on a few teen TV shows like Ravenswood and Awkward, Haley Lu Richardson is now finding her footing in the world of film. The actress, raised in Arizona, first moved to LA four years ago to pursue a career as a professional dancer. Her dream, though, has always been acting. Now Richardson has three upcoming — and vastly different — projects, including crass gymnastics comedy The Bronze, high school flick Besties and M. Night Shyamalan’s new thriller Split. We chatted with the actress about her recent work, dealing Shyamalan’s specific direction and why you should never act like a dick onset.

So The Bronze is finally coming out?

It’s finally coming out! That premiered at Sundance last year. Honestly, I’m really excited to see it, because the only time I’ve seen it is at the opening night of Sundance. So many people were there and it was my first time at Sundance and it was like so scary that I honestly don’t even remember the movie. I just know that I laughed a lot. There’s a gymnastics sex scene [in the movie] and that’s what everyone’s talking about when it relates to the movie — that freaking gymnastic sex scene. I was sitting right in between Sebastian [Stan] and [co-writer and star] Melissa [Rauch]. Melissa had seen it a bunch obviously, but Sebastian had never seen it and they’d never seen it together. So I would look over at Sebastian and look over at Melissa and their faces were bright red. I picked the best seat in the house!

Had you done gymnastics before the film?

I actually did gymnastics when I was young. I stopped right before the competitive level. I always did it for fun. But I could do some tricks. And then I danced competitively for almost ten years. I still dance around my house, but I don’t dance competitively anymore. I actually moved to LA and my first year here did professional dance. I had a dance agent before I had an acting agent. I went out on backup dance auditions, big cattle calls. I did some music videos.

Who did you do music videos for?

Well, I was in video games. You know like Dance Central for Xbox Kinect? How you watch the people dance and follow the people’s moves and stuff? I did a couple of those. And then I did this one music video for this Mexican artist named Kevin Ortiz. They described him to me like, “He’s the Justin Bieber of Mexico.” I was like, “Okay, I don’t know about that.”

Once you started acting did you have a role that made you feel like you could actually do this as a career?

That Kevin Ortiz music video! No, kidding. I knew I wanted to be an actress before I even got a role. I knew “This is my plan. There’s nothing else.” Even when you’re just auditioning you start feeling things click inside and gears turning. But I did this movie called The Last Survivors. I filmed it four years ago after six months of living in LA and it’s a post-apocalyptic, drought-stricken world all about this 17-year-old girl who goes around and kills all the bad guys. It was just a really cool role to play for my first movie. There was a lot of responsibility. I had to carry the movie, which obviously was the best lesson in acting you can get. That’s when my parents started seeing my commitment.

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The Laterals: Interview Haley Lu Richardson

Blossoming into the filmography scene, the year 2014 has been a good year for the young Haley Lu Richardson. If you are an indie film fan, you would most probably recognize her as the selfless, badass Kendall from the American post-apocalyptic film, The Last Survivors. However, fighting greedy water baron is not the only thing Richardson is good at. The complete polar opposite, Richardson has also played the role of the sweet and innocent Leslie Mallard from the 2014 coming-of-age film, The Young Kieslowski.

This year, the 21-year-old Arizona native has managed to land herself in another leading role, working closely with Melissa Rauch and her husband Winston Rauch in their upcoming movie, The Bronze. Set in the small town in Ohio, Richardson plays Maggie Townsend, a sweet, ambitious gymnast who begins her training with the self-absorb, foul-mouthed former local bronze medallist Hope Annabelle Greggory (Rauch) after her coach dies. However, Hope’s motive for helping Maggie is extremely suspicious.

“The script was just so shocking but in the best way possible. Every scene I read, I was like, ‘wait, someone’s gonna actually let this be a movie… that people are gonna be allowed to view?’ I had never been a part of something that was so funny and pushed the line,” says Richardson on her first time reading the script. “I also love the dark yet almost sad quality of the story; and Hope’s character. Like, how in the end, you feel so bad for her to see how hard she’s trying. You just end up rooting for her.”

In addition to the comedy-drama film, Richardson is going to star in M. Night Shyamalan’s upcoming thriller, Split, which is also featuring James McAvoy and Betty Buckley.

What was it like moving to LA to pursue a career that many others dream of?
Well, I dreamt of it too, you know. And I still dream of it. I was 16 when I made the official move with my mom to Los Angeles. When we first moved we lived in the spare room of this sweet older woman’s house, which we had met through a friend of the family. I left my friends, my dance studio and the comfort of home; but I think it was my parents who sacrificed the most. It was definitely unconventional, yet taking risks and following that relentless voice in your head is the only way to really get you anywhere. And my parents are a billion percent supportive of that.

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