Hailee Steinfeld: “I have nothing to be ashamed of”

As if it wasn’t enough to have perfect pitch, Hailee Steinfeld has also released the perfect pop song. She is the best-case scenario of an actor-goes-artist and we invited Hailee to Spotify’s headquarters in Stockholm to discuss self-love, not so hidden messages, and the “Love Myself”-revolution.

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In early August, Hailee Steinfeld made us snap out of the summer haze with an undeniable anthem. Hit producers Mattman & Robin, Oscar Holter, Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter are the songwriting brains behind “Love Myself”, and Hailee felt an instant connection to the song when she first heard it.

“There was never a question whether we would do it or not, I thought ‘this is nothing but amazing’. They were so into it, I was so into it and we jumped head first. Seeing how it’s growing right now is unlike anything I have ever experienced.”

Hailee Steinfeld might make a music debut with “Love Myself”, but she is in no way new to the spotlight. At the age of 13 Hailee did her first big movie role in “True Grit” and since then we’ve seen her act in everything from “Romeo & Juliet” to “Pitch Perfect 2”. Despite her red carpet experience, the release of this song is something totally different from what Hailee is used to.

“In a movie you play a character and it’s kind of like a safety net, because it’s not really you, there are a lot of people in the cast and the movie has a title. Putting out a single where the cover is my face and it has my name across it.. It’s intimidating in a way, but the fans have been so accepting and supportive.”

Hailee Steinfeld’s inbox is nowadays full of stories from people who claim that they have learned to love themselves through her song. Even before the track came out and Hailee had only announced the title “Love Myself” on social media, a movement began where fans posted pictures in their favorite outfits saying “I love myself”.

“It’s sort of revolutionary to be able to say that, to have that self confidence and empowerment. I’ve found that it’s not easy to have that all the time, but this song has been a constant reminder for me and my fans. It’s really special.”

“Love Myself” is absolutely an epic anthem about self- empowerment. But it doesn’t stop there. The lyrics are somewhat different to the traditional ego boost song about being an eagle sweeping the country. For  instance, take the lyrics “pictures in my mind on replay, I’m gonna touch the pain away, I know how to scream my own name”. Media and fans are speculating like crazy about this “hidden masturbation message”, but Hailee doesn’t see the big deal.

“The song is about taking care of and indulging yourself, whether that’s physically or emotionally. It’s a reminder of how important it is to be able to provide for yourself and how much power there is in that. A lot of people have realised that double meaning and embraced it. Interpret it how you will, I have nothing to be ashamed of.”

How did you think the song would be received?

– I felt the same way as I do with my movies, this makes me feel really good and I hope that other people will too when they see or hear it. I’ve thought about the impact this song has had so far, hearing young women tell me about how it has affected them. My god, if it can go a little bit further every day, I really do feel that it can have an impact. Because it had it on me.

Tell me about a song that have change the way you think of things!

“Man in the Mirror”. This message about how I’m gonna start with myself and then worry about everybody else… It’s kind of the same as in “Love Myself”, I’m gonna learn how to love myself and then I can go out in the world and conquer anything. When I first heard “Man in the Mirror” I thought ‘this is so far out of my reach right now, I’m not ready to look in the mirror and start with me’. I was in school with my friends and having good time, I wasn’t going through anything emotionally bad at the time. But I heard this song and felt like I was gonna need it one day.

Lastly Hailee, what do you love about yourself?

– I love that I’m a loyal friend. I try to be available to my friends at all times and make them feel like wherever they are in the world they can call me. Unless I’m sleeping, I will pick up. I’m there for them and I love myself for that.

 

Listen to Hailee Steinfeld’s debut-EP “HAIZ”: