Where are you from?
I am from Phoenix and I definitely have an Arizona vibe; I like nature and heat. I feel like Arizona in general is way more chill than anywhere else. It’s laid back and spread out and there are mountains. I’ve lived here in LA for like five years now and every year I realize more and more that I’m not made for a city environment. I get really intimidated by big cities. In New York, I have a panic attack after two days.
Are you a Sundance virgin?
Is this list only for virgins? Are you guys finding all the virgins? And gathering them on one list? [laughs.] I went two years ago for a movie called The Bronze, and it actually opened the film festival.
So how does it feel to be a Sundance sensation?
I won’t 100% reject you saying that, but I’m not identifying with it, either.
What’s the buzz?
It reminds me of Lost In Translation. We filmed it in a small town in Indiana called Columbus which is a supercool because it’s number 5 or 6 in the world for modern architecture. So it has modern buildings but small town vibes. The architecture is the lead character in the movie.
How would you describe your character?
She’s a dreamer but she’s been through a lot. She’s the kind of person who has potential everyone else can see but she doesn’t have time for because she has so many responsibilities and worries and she’s only nineteen.
Do you relate to your character?
I definitely feel like I relate to her — that’s why I really wanted to do this movie so bad. I’m a dreamer almost to a fault. I wouldn’t say I’m super-confident because I’m really hard on myself and I have a lot of problems. But when I dream something, I dream really big and that’s the only thing that I want to do. There’s no plan B, no other option. I get something in my head and I just have to do it: Go big or go home! When I moved to LA, I met all these people who said: “Don’t get your hopes up, honey. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” So I’m like: I don’t need you to tell me it’s gonna take 20 years. I’m not going to think about time and focus on doing it. Mindset is such a huge part of getting anywhere. We all create our own realities.
And look at you now! You’re a Sundance sensation.
I am a Sundance sensation. I’m pretty much the best!
What was your first acting experience?
My big acting debut was Chicken Little in a school play when I was in first grade. I was covered in feathered boas with a little chicken beak on and I said: “The sky is falling, the sky is falling.” My parents even have it on videotape.
What was your big break?
If that ever happens, I won’t even maybe realize it. I broke my ankle once when I danced — does that count?
Did you ever have a normal job?
I baby sat friend’s younger cousins. Here’s the thing with me and kids: They really like me for the most part because I kind of am a kid still. But after a certain amount of time, I become a bad influence. I’m like that fun aunt who teaches you the word poop and then you go home and the parents are mad at me for doing that. As a babysitter I sat around and ate Otter Pops with them and baked cookies and talked about farting. So at the end of the night, the kid would be on a sugar high and say to his parents: “I learned a new word: Penis!” And I’d be like: Sorry. And then I’d peace out and take my hundred bucks and leave.
What are you going to pack?
I crochet, so I will bring a bunch of hats and scarves that I made. My mom taught me to crochet when I was eight. Now I sell them on Etsy. So when people ask me what I’m wearing, I say: Me! I’m wearing me! I make fun little pom-pom hats and beanies and cozy scarves. I might even make a sweater but they’re very time-consuming.
What’s more important: Looking stylish or staying warm?
I don’t ever really care about looking stylish. I care about looking like me — how I feel on the inside.
And how do you feel on the inside?
It changes. Every second. I do outfit changes for every different emotion.
What do you think of Robert Redford?
Honestly, I hadn’t seen any of his films before I went two years ago. Then when we found out that the movie got in, my parents were like: “Hailey we need to sit you down and show you all of Robert Redford’s movies!”