Who Is Hailee Steinfeld?
Hollywood by birth, Hailee Steinfeld grew up in Los Angeles, California, where she began her acting career at age eight. She earned a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination for her breakout role as tough-as-nails teen Mattie Ross in 2010’s True Grit when she was just 14 years old. A string of movie roles, including 2013 hits Begin Again and Enders Game, precluded her from joining the Pitch Perfect musical franchise in 2015. After singing acapella in Pitch Perfect 2, Steinfeld landed a record deal, released an EP, Haiz, and saw two of her singles (2015’s “Love Myself” and 2016’s “Starving”) go platinum. Steinfeld, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role as angsty teen Nadine Byrd in 2016’s The Edge of Seventeen, will next be seen on the big screen in December 2018’s Transformers movie, Bumblebee.
At 14 years old, Steinfeld earned critical acclaim for her breakout role, playing Mattie Ross, a headstrong teen intent to track down her father’s killer in the 2010 Western, True Grit. To land the coveted role (which she has said felt like winning the lottery), she auditioned for directors Joel and Ethan Coen in character, wearing a homemade 1800s-style costume. In the end, she beat out more than 15,000 other actresses to star alongside Hollywood heavyweights Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin and Matt Damon. In the movie, her first feature film, she did some of her own stunt work and earned a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination. (She lost to The Fighter’s Melissa Leo.)
Other Movie Roles
On the heels of True Grit’s success, she was chosen to be the face of Italian fashion brand Miu Miu and was cast in 2011 to play Juliet Capulet in an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Being that she was only 14 at the time, there was controversy over onscreen nudity in the script, which director Carlo Carlei said had to be revised to become more age-appropriate for the actress.
The film wasn’t released until 2013, the same year she appeared as Violet in the romance-drama Begin Again and as Petra Arkanian in the sci-fi action film Ender's Game. In 2014, she continued to show off her acting chops in films such as 3 Days to Kill, The Homesman and The Keeping Room.
Steinfeld joined the Pitch Perfect franchise as Emily Junk, in the musical comedy’s 2015 sequel, Pitch Perfect 2, which opened with the biggest box office tally ever recorded for a musical. Starring alongside Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, and Elizabeth Banks, Steinfeld sang in the film and ended up scoring a recording contract with Republic Records less than a week after the film’s release. (She also appeared in the 2017 follow-up, Pitch Perfect 3.)
Steinfeld, who made a cameo in Taylor Swift’s 2015 “Bad Blood” music video, found herself on the awards circuit once again in 2016, earning a Golden Globe nomination for her role of angsty teen Nadine Byrd in coming-of-age comedy The Edge of Seventeen.
Next up for the actress: the role of Charlie, a young girl who aids an injured Transformer in Bumblebee, due out December 2018.
After signing with Republic Records, Steinfeld premiered her now-platinum debut single, "Love Myself" in August 2015, followed by an EP, Haiz, three months later. Although she never released a full-length album, she since dropped a series of standalone singles, including 2016’s “Rock Bottom” (with DNCE), ”Starving" (featuring Grey and Zedd) — which reached number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 2016 — as well as 2017’s “Most Girls” and "Let Me Go,” a track on which she collaborated with Alesso, Florida Georgia Line and Andrew Watt. She was also featured on Machine Gun Kelly’s “At My Best” in 2017 and appeared on the Fifty Shades Freed soundtrack with her song “Capital Letters” in 2018.
Describing her anxieties with transitioning from film to music, she told Marie Claire in 2018, “As an actor, I’m masked by characters, protected by them. But as a musician, it’s my story, my voice, my face. It’s such a different kind of vulnerable.”
As of March 2018, she said that she has been in the studio and her debut full-length studio album is forthcoming. After opening for Katy Perry during the U.K. leg of her Witness: The Tour in June 2018, Steinfeld will hit the road with Charlie Puth on his Voicenotes Tour from July until September.
A self-described “very private person,” Steinfeld rarely discusses her romantic life. In the past she has been linked to Justin Bieber and future tour mate Charlie Puth but has denied both rumors, saying she is just friends with both men.
After months of posting photos together on social media, she and Instagram star Cameron Smoller made their public debut as a couple, posing together on the red carpet for a pre-Golden Globes event in January 2017. (She was nominated that year for her role in The Edge of Seventeen.) While the pair never announced a breakup, the last photo either has shared of them together was in November 2017.
Rumors that she is dating former One Direction band member Niall Horan began in January 2018 after the duo attended a performance of Hamilton in London and continued to spend time together. Even so, neither she nor Horan — who once called her the “loveliest person on the planet” — has confirmed that they are anything more than friends.
In a February 2018 Marie Claire cover story, she said of her dating life, “I’m trying to protect myself and have a bit of a guard up, but I also want to fall in love and know why love hurts.”
Early Life and Education
Born in Los Angeles, California to parents Cheri, an interior designer, and fitness trainer Pete Steinfeld on December 11, 1996, she began acting when she was eight years old. Steinfeld has said she caught the acting bug from watching her cousin (Emmy winner True O’Brien) star in TV commercials, but her mom insisted she take acting lessons for a year before she was allowed to begin auditioning. After studying at Cynthia Bain’s Young Actor Studio, she landed her first agent when she was nine and began appearing in TV commercials, including a Kmart clothing ad.
Steinfeld attended Ascension Lutheran, Conejo Elementary and Colina Middle schools (all in Thousand Oaks, California) before beginning a home-schooling program. (She celebrated her high school graduation in June 2015.) Her mom has credited a fourth-grade teacher who recommended her for a gifted arts program, with helping her see her potential as an actress.
During this time, she gained acting experience, starring in several student films directed by aspiring directors at colleges such as USC, UCLA and Chapman University, and had guest roles on Fox sitcoms Back to You in 2007 and Sons of Tucson in 2010.
She has one older brother, racecar driver Griffin Steinfeld, and is also the niece of fitness trainer Jake Steinfeld of “Body by Jake” fame.
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