IN CONVERSATION WITH LUCY HALE
Interview by Jana Letonja
Lucy Hale is an American actress and singer known not only for her acclaimed work on-screen beloved by critics and fans alike, but also as a darling to the fashion industry, and a lover of animals. This summer, Lucy also teamed up with PetSmart to champion pet adoption.
Lucy, how did you develop passion for music, which was always your first love?
I was a child who loved escaping in my head and had a huge imagination. I lived and breathed for Disney movies and I would make up these plays and sing songs in my room. I developed a love of singing as a child and started taking singing lessons in Tennessee where I’m from. I just loved putting on a show and entertaining. And I kind of had this feeling, even as a little kid, that that would be my life. I really followed music for a lot of my teen years. I thought that would actually be the avenue that I wanted to pursue, but then I sort of realized that I loved people, I loved observing people, I loved impersonating people and finding characteristics of people that I found were interesting, so I thought maybe I could be an actress. That’s when I started taking acting lessons.
In my head, I thought I was going to do both of them at the same time. I’ve had moments in my career where I’ve done more of the music stuff and obviously acting is my number one priority and is my main career, but it actually all started with music. I think that if you’re a creative, they kind of go hand in hand. So many actors I know are musically inclined and so many actors I know also write and so many dancers I know act. It’s kind of tapped into the creative part of our brain. It’s amazing that we can wear different hats depending on the phase of life that we’re in and music’s a really big part of my life now. But I think as I’ve gotten older, I realized that there’s something that feels very safe to me about being behind a camera and playing a character. I have so much respect for musicians because it really is such a vulnerable career. I tend to think that I wear my heart on my sleeve, but I definitely feel like acting is the lane that takes priority.
How would you describe yourself as an artist? What usually inspires you?
Maybe even to expand on that, just who I am as a person. I’m very heart-centered, I’m always trying to lead with authenticity and as I’ve gotten older, I feel more rooted in who I am as a human and I think I can lead from that place. Whereas when you’re younger, you’re trying to follow the crowds and the trends. I think because I’m such a heart-centered person that bleeds into the work that I like to do too, because I’m now at this point where I just want to do things that have an impact or matter or I want to be a part of projects that have a bigger message. And sometimes that message can just be to spread a little joy. I feel really lucky that I’m a creative and that I have that outlet for me because it’s almost like therapy.
You would think that I’d watch a lot of film and TV being in my industry, but I get so much inspiration from documentaries and true stories and people facing adversity and overcoming adversity. I’m very inspired by against all odds kind of people and I find inspiration in people that were dealt a bad card and overcame it and are helping others. I think humans are so fascinating, we’re all so unique, we each have our own story and we each have our own path. And I really just find inspiration from connecting with people, having conversations. I view life from the lens of optimism and I think there’s beauty everywhere, in every situation. You can find the good in anything and that’s kind of how I like to live these days.
full look MAX MARA
As an actress, you get to experience being in touch with fashion all the time. How exciting is it to wear all these different outfits and explore different styles?
It’s so fun. I always say if you’re building out a character for a job and getting to pick out that character’s wardrobe, that’s so much fun to me. As people, the clothes that we put on each morning is such a reflection of who we are as a person inherently and also how we feel about ourselves. If we want to be seen, if we kind of want to hide in the crowd, all these little details matter. That part of my job is super fun, but then I get to go to New York for Fashion Week, where I get to wear these really beautiful clothes. The craftsmanship that goes into some of these clothes is truly incredible. Behind every beautiful dress is hundreds of people that have put in hours of work to hand sew. Everything is art. I look at it as everything is someone’s dream come to life. And so when I’m here for fashion week and getting to wear these clothes, that was a dream that was on a page that then came to life.
I love clothes. My mom says that I was in the stroller pointing at the shoe stores. I’ve always been a shoe girl. I feel really fortunate to be able to travel and to meet these designers. It’s amazing. I believe it was last year that I went to Dolce & Gabbana show in Sicily and for the shows they would make you these custom dresses. One of the dresses I wore was this yellow gown and the seamstress that I met in Italy actually made the gown. She was telling me, and you can see it in detail, it took hundreds of hours to make this dress and all based off of a sketch. So to actually see that, it shows you the skill and dedication and passion. I’m blown away by the passion in fashion.
How do you feel about fashion in your personal life? Is it something that is very important to you?
Yeah, I think it’s super important to me. I think the way I show up in the world, the way I present myself has always felt important. And I don’t mean that like I need to look a certain way to impress people. It’s more just I’ve always had a certain aesthetic and I have really enjoyed curating outfits or I get excited to pick out my outfit the night before. It’s kind of like the scrolling system in my head. Fashion is the best way to express your personality.
I’m in a phase now where my personal style is more timeless and classic, and it’s kind of minimal. I dress for comfort for sure and I don’t wear a ton of color. And I am a shoe girl. Jewelry is also a very important part of the Lucy aesthetic because I think jewelry just tells a story. And I love vintage jewelry. The details are so important. I got some advice the other day, which was that before you walk out the door, always take off one item because we always have on maybe one too many. Always minimize it a little and simplify it a little. I thought that was really interesting because I’m kind of a more is more gal when it comes to jewelry.
full look DOLCE & GABBANA
ring VAN CLEEF & ARPELS
Would you say that you have a beauty or wellness ritual that is on your everyday schedule?
I am a self-care queen. I will make the time always. And by that I don’t mean go to the spa and get the mani-pedi. I definitely do those things as well, but by self-care I mean it’s vital for me to take the time out of each day to check in with myself. I am big on a mindfulness practice, so that could be meditation or journaling or going for a long walk or just really getting clear on how I feel. It’s so hard for us sometimes to even pinpoint how we feel on any given day.
Always in the morning, I allow an hour before I have to be somewhere so I can have a slow morning. If I have a slow intentional morning, I feel more prepared to take on whatever the day’s going to bring my way. I believe in living in gratitude. You’re always going to win if you lead from that place of what can I be grateful for today. These are all new practices, this isn’t how I’ve always been. I guess this new phase of life I’m in, I wanted different results so I was trying new things and I’ve found that wellness would be that kind of answer. But if you’re talking about a beauty thing, I also look forward to my skincare routine at night. That’s a big self-care practice for me because skincare is a hobby. I love learning about it. I love trying new products and there’s something really therapeutic about washing away the day, getting all cozy and ready for bed.
Who or what has been the biggest influence in your life?
I feel like the biggest influence on my life has been my life experience, if that makes sense. All the things I’ve been through and all the people I’ve met within that old version of myself have been the biggest influence. I think that goes for everyone. The past 20 years of my life in LA have been sort of a chess game of getting to this point. I’m constantly learning and growing from my family and a solid group of female friends that really have helped build me up when I needed it and supported me.
dress & tie VALENTINO
earrings & ring VAN CLEEF & ARPELS
Is there a specific moment that you could pinpoint as the one that has taught you the biggest lesson in life?
I’ve never had like aha moment where it was night and day, but we have these micro moments all the time, where the world is showing us what we want or what we don’t want, or what works for our lives or what doesn’t work for our lives. And that’s where social media and our phones can get a little confusing because we all know intuitively what we want. We all have that inner guiding light. But when we are on our phone or we see all these things, it gets a little confusing to differentiate what’s mine and what’s theirs. We all hit that moment where our intuition is really strong and we can be like “This is who I am. That’s what I want. This is what I want out of my career. These relationships don’t work for me anymore”.
I guess I did have a pivotal moment a couple years ago where I was like “I’ve got to start setting boundaries in my life”. And that can simply be saying no to going to dinner or it can be something bigger. And that would be my biggest advice to anyone really, get clear on what your boundaries are. When you start respecting your boundaries, other people will respect you and the right people will enter your life and the people that don’t work for you will exit. I do remember that moment vividly and that was almost kind of like a light switch, but those like little hints are there all the time for us.
earrings, necklace & ring POMELLATO
This summer, you teamed up withPetSmart to champion pet adoption. Why did you decide to partner up with them? Why is pet adoption so important not only to you, but should be to other people as well?
I love animals so much. I have always advocated for animals, I have always gravitated towards the dog in the room. I’ll go to a party and I’ll be on the floor with the dog. I have two dogs of my own, Elvis and Ethel. I think that all animals, but especially dogs are just the biggest gift. We don’t deserve them, they’re amazing. And they don’t have a voice, so having people step in to advocate for them is very important.
Elvis was a gift from someone I love very much and he’s seven. And then Ethel is three and I adopted her from a rescue in LA. These rescues are so overloaded with dogs right now, there’s so many dogs that need a home. I think some people don’t want to rescue because they can’t find a certain breed, like a dog that you would find from a breeder. But there’s all types of dogs at rescues. I just think that dogs are the best thing in the world and I would do anything to support them in any way. PetSmart’s been really lovely to work with and they’ve helped helped find 10 million dogs a home. A pet is a huge responsibility, there is a lot that comes with it and some people don’t quite realize what it entails. Definitely be sure that you’re ready for that kind of commitment, but it’s the best kind of commitment you could make.
You have been open about your own journey through mental health and wellness. How did your dogs help you on this journey?
I don’t know if they’re aware of it or not, but they can, without saying words, remind me to be gentle with myself and to be patient and to show myself compassion. My dog Elvis can give me a certain look and when he does, I know I need to chill out, calm down. It’s also funny because Ethel will leave when I get a little too anxiety driven. There’s a reason animals are called emotional support. I can’t really even articulate what they do, but there’s something about it that just calms my spirit and reminds me that I’m okay and they help me stay really present. There’s something about a dog that keeps you in the moment and it’s nice to have that responsibility and accountability towards them.
Lucy, what are your plans for the future of your career? Do you also maybe have any plans to record new music in the future?
Every time I’ve tried to have plans for my career, somehow my career keeps surprising me. I do have all these big goals and dreams, and I believe in manifesting and getting really clear on the things I want to accomplish, but then I’ll always be thrown a surprise that I never saw coming. So my whole thing is remaining open. A couple years ago I said no more music and now I’m considering I’d love to do theater. I feel like I’m in a phase now where I’m developing some stuff behind the camera, producing more. have goals of writing. I really have a story that’s very personal to me that I want to put on paper. It’s just having the bravery to start or complete that.
Then I have another cool idea that’s in development that has to do more with travel, which is exciting. I love the trajectory of how my life is panning out. I feel really confident in who I am as a human and as an artist. When you embrace that and when you grow up, the universe just brings you opportunities that are in alignment with who you are. I believe in going with the flow. I believe in just riding the wave and you’re always going to end up where you’re supposed to be. To wrap it around to leading with my heart, I feel like I have a lot of things I want to say and I feel like I’m ready to say them now at this point in my career. So it’s exciting.
shirt & skirt PRADA
hat GLADYS TAMEZ MILLINERY
rings & necklace POMELLATO
talent LUCY HALE @lucyhale
photographer DENNIS LEUPOLD @dennisleupold
stylist ORETTA CORBELLI @orettac
makeup JEANNA KRISTINA @ Forward Artists @jennakristina @forwardartists
hair BRIDGET BRAGER @ The Wall Group @bridgetbragerhair @thewallgroup
photography assistants WINSTON KINGSTRO & ALLISSON LOPEZ @winston_king_artist @alli.g.studio
styling assistant HAILEY LIU @166hl
tech KEVIN LEUPOLD @kevinleupold
editor TIMI LETONJA @timiletonja
cover design ARTHUR ROELOFFZEN @arthurroeloffzen