Hilary Duff: teen angst is, like, so yesterday, now that this singer, actress, and total alpha girl is all the rage. Totally! – Interview
While some 16-year-olds count basketball, yearbook committee, and debate club among their extracurriculars, Hilary Duff has other activities on her plate. Until recently there was the whole TV thing–she debuted on the Disney Channel’s Lizzie McGuire show in 2001–and then there’s the whole movie thing, like co-starring with Steve Martin in the current comedy Cheaper by the Dozen. Oh, and then there’s also the music thing–her double platinum-selling album, Metamorphosis, has been on Billboard’s Top 100 album chart since August. It’s enough to drive a girl crazy, but as Duff tells fellow prodigy Taylor Hanson of the boy band Hanson, it’s, like, only the beginning.
TAYLOR HANSON: Hey, Hilary. Okay, cool So first of all, you know my friend Frankie Muniz [of TV’s Malcolm in the Middle].
HILARY DUFF: Oh, yeah!
TH: Did you guys date once upon a time?
HD: Um, a long time ago. Like, two or three years ago. But we’re friends and stuff, so it’s cool.
TH: He says good things. [Duff laughs] So you’ve been acting since you were 6, right?
HD: Kind of. I have an older sister named Haylie, and we first came out to California when I was 6, and we booked commercials. We were like, “This is so easy!” Then we went back to Texas, where we’re from, and came back to L.A. for the next pilot season. We thought that would be easy too, but you audition and audition, and you don’t get anything. I knew I wanted to act, and I was really driven, so I kept going for it. We moved to L.A. full-time when I was 8 or 9. My dad was like, “I don’t know if we should do this, taking the girls away from everything they know,” but our parents have always been supersupportive of whatever we wanted to do, which is really cool.
TH: That’s interesting because I’m sure I’ve been asked the same questions you have, about being young and performing.
HD: Right. I think a lot of people think, Oh, they’re kids–they don’t know what they want! TH: A lot of adults don’t know what they want. Now, at first I was kind of freaked out by the whole fame thing. What was it like when you started getting recognized?
HD: It really started happening once I did Lizzie McGuire, and then I wasn’t even able to go to the mall, which was so weird. There’s really no way to prepare yourself for it. It just kind of hits.
TH: And at that point was it like, “I can’t imagine doing other things–this is what I want to do”?
HD: I think that every day. Right now I don’t want to do anything else. Once I started to be able to work more and not have it be so tough to audition for stuff, it became much easier and I became more thankful for it. You’re like, “This is so cool, and I’m so lucky.” Hey, Taylor, can I click over? Never mind. I don’t know how to work this phone.
TH: Then you and I wouldn’t be a good pair.
HD. Why not?
TH: I can’t figure out phones. I’m just not technical.
HD: Oh, my God, neither am If My friends make fun of me so bad.
TH: [laughs] If somebody said, “Why do you do what you do?” what’s your answer? HD: You know, some days I can explain it really well, and then there are some days when I’m like … I don’t know–you have those days where you’re stressed out and you haven’t had a day off for, like, two years and it’s insane and you’re like, “Why do I do this? I could be normal!” But then you have three days off, and you’re like, “Oh, my God, I have to get back to work!” It’s almost like an addiction. I love performing. Singing is a new thing for me, but I’ve been on tour for a while, and it’s so cool to be onstage and have people sing your songs back to you. There’s no feeling like that.
TH: Right. It’s instant gratification, but as an actor, you don’t have that.
HD: No. You get to step outside yourself and create this other character that has nothing to do with you, which is fun, but it’s so different from performing onstage. That’s why I was so nervous to step into this.
TH: Do you see yourself as a musician in the long term?
HD: It’s scary to think about what’s going to happen five years from now or something like that. I want to try and keep doing what I’m doing. I hope I can keep doing it all. Now my music is kind of pop-rock, right? If I’m 25 and singing still, I don’t want to be singing music like that.
TH: You want to be doing some opera?
HD: [laughs] Ugh! No! Shut up! No way!
TH: You’d have to put on some pounds. Most aspiring opera singers, they need to put on some weight.
HD: [laughs] Funny.
TH: Is it important for you to have feedback from other artists?
HD: I definitely like it, especially when it’s artists I look up to or love their music.
TH: Are there artists that you emulate?
HD: There’s not necessarily an artist out there that I’m like, “Oh, my God, I want to be just like them.” Of course, there are people that I think are great. I love Nikka Costa, and I like Nelly Furtado and Eminem and Aerosmith and Janis Joplin and Vanessa Carlton. I like a lot of different kinds of music.
TH: You sure do. You’ve done a lot as an artist. How do you feel about people waiting for you to fail at one of the things you’ve gone after? How do you feel about that pressure?
HD: People talk worse about people than they talk good about people, because a lot of people like drama. I think if you hear people talking bad about you, you just have to laugh it off and be like, “Whatever.” Because you’re going to get that, and you can’t make everybody happy, right? At first, when I got bad press and people would talk bad about my family or something like that, I would get really upset, but now it’s just not worth my energy. I did get some bad reviews on the album–everybody does. People are going to say what they want to say and think what they want to think, and I can’t change their minds.
TH: You’re absolutely right. You won’t survive if you don’t see it that way. Is there anything you don’t think people know about you that would surprise them?
HD: I’m a gymnast. And I’m a good shopper, but I guess people would expect that.
TH: [laughs] Would you like to start your own clothing line someday?
HD: Actually, I’m starting my own line [called Stuff by Hilary Duff]. It comes out at Target in, like, January. It’s cool. I got to be really hands-on with it. I hope the kids like it.
TH: Where do you want to head? Do you ever talk about your goals and go, “Here’s where I’d like to end up in a few years”?
HD: I talk about it with everybody around me. But it’s hard because I have no idea where I’m going to be in three years. But hopefully I’ll be able to keep doing movies, and I think I’m going to start filming a pilot for a “IV show, and I want to keep touring, and I want to do it all! I don’t want to choose. Don’t make me choose, Taylor!
Taylor Hanson is a member of Hanson, which will release their new studio album, Underneath (3CG Records), this spring.
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