Hayden Panettiere Does ‘Details’ Magazine

"It wasn’t like I suddenly started feeling different. I always knew that I was."

Heroes star Hayden Panettiere, who has a new film titled I Love You, Beth Cooper opening in theaters soon, is featured in the new issue of Details magazine. In the piece, Hayden talks her paparazzi paranoia, having a high profile personal life and getting beat up in middle school. Here is her Details mag photo along with a portion of her interview:


AS HAYDEN PANETTIERE WALKS a deserted strip in Hollywood, the 19-year-old star of NBC’s Heroes glances around nervously, occasionally spinning her head to check behind her. Wearing short denim shorts and brown UGGs and toting a big bag, the diminutive actress looks like an elfin princess on the run. “Hello,” she says, walking into a little vegan restaurant, greeting me as she shrugs off her load. She orders a bowl of brothy vegetable soup and twirls her little gold whale-tail necklace, a symbol, she explains, of her devotion to the cetacean cause. The petite, bronzed blonde keeps looking out the window, over her shoulder. Not surprisingly she’s afraid she’s been followed—Panettiere has become the ultimate tabloid chum. She has lived her whole life in the public eye. “I started doing this, and I know it sounds absurd, but 11 months old, I did my first commercial.” The daughter of an actress and a New York City firefighter, Panettiere spent her childhood bouncing between 30-second spots and roles on One Life to Live and Guiding Light. “I remember hearing in first grade, ‘Oh, why does she get to skip school?’” she says. “It wasn’t like I suddenly started feeling different. I always knew that I was. I never felt I missed out—in fact, it was like, ‘Oh, thank God I’m not that.’” Namely, she means, a regular kid. It’s not easy being beautiful and special and talented, and Panettiere lived through her share of Mean Girls shit. Mostly homeschooled, she occasionally returned from acting gigs to her public school in Rockland County, New York, and her classmates’ wrath. In middle school, she was punched in the face by “a very angry, very sad girl,” she says, as if echoing the words her mom used to comfort her at the time. “I was tortured, emotionally tortured by these girls. Every time I came back from filming, it would be me trying to find my way back into the clique. And they weren’t having it.” Panettiere seems to have emerged victorious from her teen trials. After a series of minor TV and movie roles, she was cast at age 16 as Heroes’ invincible cheerleader, Claire, and quickly blossomed into the queen of high-school geeks of all ages. (Her new teen comedy, I Love You, Beth Cooper, is about a nerd who falls for the hottest, most popular girl in school—notice a trend?) … There have been times when the media scrutiny was more than she could take. “It’s turned my life upside down and shaken it,” Panettiere says, referring to the incident in August 2008 in which her father was accused of hitting her mother and later charged with misdemeanor battery. Her father called it a misunderstanding, saying, “Nothing actually happened,” then pleaded no contest. “It was very tough, especially since it’s my family,” Panettiere says. “It’s one thing if you do it to me. I get frustrated, but I can handle it. But when it involves my family, my friends, forget it—I lose my . . . ” Panettiere pauses—then regains control. “I learned the game. The more I react, the angrier I get, the more satisfaction they get. That’s exactly what they want.” As Panettiere drains her bowl of soup, two young Orthodox Jewish men who have been circling in front of the restaurant finally come inside, holding cameras. “Excuse me. I’m sorry, I know this is extremely rude, but we’re from the East Coast and you’re the first famous person we’ve met. Is there any way I would be able to get a picture of you?” “You don’t want to meet famous people.” “If it’s possible, please,” the guy says. Panettiere puts down her spoon, and as they awkwardly drape their arms around her, she gives the camera a practiced look. “Thank you so much. Thank you. I’m sorry,” they say as they back out of the restaurant, already reviewing the images on the camera. “I gave them a half-smile,” she says matter-of-factly. “It’s a survival skill.”

On the one hand, I think it’s totally inappropriate to bother someone for a photo or autograph while they are eating … that should go without saying. But for Panettiere to feel she needs to employ “survival skills” when she is recognized by fans then she prolly should seek a different career. I can totally understand how the constant crush of fame can get tiresome but I also know that celebs really love the money and cache that comes from being famous. It is absolutely a double-edged sword … you take the good with the bad. In my personal experience, Hayden has been nothing but totally sweet to me. I’ve met her a few times … we chatted for a bit at the Star Trek premiere a couple of months ago. BUT, one of my very good friends suffered an unpleasant encounter with her when he tried to say hello to her at a public event (not while she was eating, not while she was talking to anyone else … at a promo event that she was paid to attend). I mean … I get it but when fame starts getting too much to bear, mebbe it’s time to try something else? I do enjoy her work and I will prolly see Beth Cooper when it opens (tho, I doubt the friend who she was mean to will want to come with me) but I’d rather the girl keep her sanity and get out of the limelight rather than become a bitter person.

[Photo credit: Matthias Vriens for DETAILS; Source]

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  1. MeG

    I would guess she has mood swings like every girl. Yeah it was rude of her to dismiss a fan especially when she is being paid to attend but she is just a young girl so she is going to make mistakes. I think the stufff about her dad still really bothers her and thats why she came off so anti fame in the interview. Never met her but she seems like one of the more down-to-earth celbs imo.

  2. sarah

    I agree – being hesitant while eating is one thing. But being mean at a promo event – come on. These people would be nothing without their fans. They profit on the press but are even more rich because of the fans that support them. They are so spoiled, ungrateful, and think they are kings and queens of America. I will NOT be seeing this stupid movie.

  3. Hannah

    Yeah, I agree with Trents sentiments. I get that the press and publicity is hard and sometimes they go overboard but celebritys have got to accept that it all comes with the high salaries.

    There are many celebrities that show a lot of class when it comes to fans (johnny depp) and others that realize that if they stop, smile and pose for the cameras quickly they don’t have to cover their heads with paper bags or destroy cameras.

  4. la princesa

    The bar is just sinking on the “I’m famous” thing, I guess. I don’t know this girl. Never seen Heroes, won’t see ILYBC. She sounds 19, though, which is a plus (meaning, sorry chica, you’re normal) & minus (meaning, she comes across as a bit arrogant). I hope she’s a good actress.

  5. Jackie

    Met her briefly at a comic con in NY. She was nice and sassy, imo!
    I liked her. Based on my first impression, she came across as having a “i don’t give a f*ck”, independent persona. I don’t mind it, but some may be put off by it.

  6. Apples

    I read Seventeen (I know…) and she sounded kind of stuck up. I won’t be seeing Beth Cooper because it seems just like the teen comedies from the eighties/nineties… and I can rent those on DVD if I want to.

  7. Krissy

    I know a 10 year old girl that got treated rudely by Hayden and Miley Cyrus at an event for kids. She seems to be moody quite frequently.

    No matter if she is a sweetie in person or not, I am not really drawn to her acting. Her performances are just kind of shallow and don’t engage me, IMO. But to each their own!

  8. meh

    I’m sorry but she has gotten way too big headed. and her smirk is really irritating.

  9. Laura

    well from my experience, she”s been really nice and super sweet with me and my lilttle sister and you know she is just 19 after that thing with her dad, may have changed her a lilttle bit dunno really, plus going through a public breakup and all that jazz, i feel sorry for her and all those girls like Lindsay who are always so haunted by the paprazzis and shizz written in the tabloids , but yeah that’s not excuse for her behavior towards your friend, I like HP lot and i loved her with MV, that guy is so down to earth and super nice with his fans, a good person to have around and a good influence, I’m glad they seem to still be friends .

  10. MelMel

    She seems straight on the path to big-headed-ville. I’d imagine being so young in that kind of industry can do crazy things to your ego/view on the world.

  11. meg

    you know, i would like to cut her some slack because i’m sure she deals with a lot more pressure than most 19 (almost 20) year olds, but i don’t know if i can. maybe it’s the editing of this article, but it totally sounds like she’s making herself out to be a victim in this interview. from being “picked on” in school to having to resort to “survival skills” when confronted with seemingly nice, apologetic fans, one would get the impression that she sees herself as a “victim” of all her good fortune. i don’t think fame and fortune automatically bring happiness, and i’m not even saying being famous is easy, but it sounds like she could stand to be a little more gracious.

  12. Kat

    I would agree with the people criticizing her… except hello??!! she’s been working since she was a baby?

    There’s a reason why child actors implode — and the rare few come through it unscathed (at least as far as we the public know — ron howard etc).

    While rudeness is never okay, sounds to me like the girl needs to take a break for awhile and get into a happy head space, away from the paps. And yet who would walk away from a hit show like Heroes? and making movies….

    Frankly, I think it does suck to be her.

  13. Sounds like she needs a break from Hollywood for a little while.

  14. Amanda

    Being a celebrity isn’t the worlds most awesome job, especially when it comes to playing the rules created by fans and media today. But if she maintained a more down-to-earth demeanor, maybe she could try and see the big picture that though she never considered herself “normal” (I wish she could explain that one, and what she means by “different”) she should recognize that “normal” people do envy her in many ways and with that comes social and professional responsibility. You don’t have to love the constant attention, but in Hollywood attention becomes your life structure. Maybe she needs a career change to a more “normal” exisistence.

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