Hayden Panettiere

Hayden Panettiere became a household name at 17 but what makes her tick?

Interview, The Knowledge
Interview, The Knowledge
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You’ve been through three seasons of Heroes, so has it changed your view of what people have to go through working on a weekly series?
I would have had no idea what to expect. I did do Ally McBeal for a season, but I was 12 and it’s a totally different groove, and I wasn’t in it every day and wasn’t one of the major characters. It has been crazy, but this show is unlike probably any show that anyone shoots. We shoot it like a movie; it’s like we are doing a full-length feature film every day. So in that aspect my past features film career has prepared me for that. But there is no place that I’d rather be, I love my cast, I love my crew.

Does the physical aspect of your role come easy for you?
I hope so. Both my parents played a lot of sports and I played a lot of sports when I was younger. I think the whole racing zebras [in Racing Stripes], figure skating [in Ice Princess] and all that stuff paid off, in that case.

What has your life been like in the past couple of years since Heroes began?
This business tends to turn your life upside down. For some strange reason, I’ve become one of the targets of the paparazzi. Things get crazy. You try and hold on to that little part of normal that you can. Other than paparazzi chasing you everywhere, how else has your life changed since Heroes? What else has the show brought you? I think it has been great, it’s been fun. I have a new family, a whole family made up of lots of brothers and two dads. [Laughs] But it has been a blast, everything I could have ever dreamed of and never should have imagined. You just don’t expect that kind of success for yourself.

Could you explain your approach to handling the pressures on screen and off that come with being an actress?
I think that it’s my approach to acting. It is something that I love, it is some-thing that I respect, and something that makes me want to be respected for what I do. That is what I’m working towards; working to be a respected actress, and in order to be a respected actress there are certain things that you just can’t do. And I think in this business when people start getting all those perks and they head down the wrong road, they lose track of what’s important.

It seems, in a weird way, that we’re all pushing these young women toward meltdowns.
Absolutely. Britney Spears, for example. That girl was the epitome of beauty when I was younger. And we built her up and just ripped her down; put every aspect of her life under a microscope – probably made 90 per cent of the stuff up along the way. I can’t even imagine if I had it like she does. She’s someone that I’m rooting for.

We’ve seen you looking gorgeous on the red carpet at the awards, do you get lots of freebies now?
These swag things for the Golden Globes are incredible. It’s been a lot easier, but of course, no one in this business really owns anything themselves. Most of their clothes are either loaners, or they’re given to them. But, yeah, it’s always fun. I’m a girl and I like getting clothes. I don’t usually get to keep any of them, like my Golden Globes dress, but its fun. You don’t really want to keep gowns that are US$40,000 either. That’s too much.

Who were you excited to meet at the Globes?
Well, I was looking down at Brangelina so that was pretty cool. That was very cool.
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