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Hailee Steinfeld: Proud to be a Filipino

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Los Angeles – The first time we met Hailee Steinfeld was when she did “True Grit,” where she got an Oscar nom for her portrayal of Mattie Ross in the 2010 Coen brothers film and she attended the Miss Golden Globe event with her dad, personal fitness trainer Peter Steinfeld.

She was proud to share with us her Filipino roots on her mother side.

When we interviewed her recently for “Romeo and Juliet,” Hailee was a vision of confidence, poise, glamour and charm. The very smart and eloquent 16-year-old was excited to see us.

“Hi, how are you?” she said as she greeted us when she walked into the Burton Room of the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Dressed in a stylish Mary Katrantzou top and a mini skirt, and red fashionable Cassidy shoes, Hailee displayed her maturity and intelligence as she answered our questions. Accompanied by her mother, the former interior designer Cheri Domasin from Bohol, who sat behind the room and allowed Hailee to shine, Hailee acknowledged the great influence of her mother on her.

“My relationship with my mother is amazing,” she disclosed. “My mom and I are so close. She travels the world with me and I could not do what I am doing without her by my side. I found that the best thing when I am in a group of people, I would have one or two people come up to me and say, ‘You are Filipino!’ I am Filipino, too. And I am like ‘Yes, this is awesome!’ So it is sort of this one thing that connected me with many people that I find is really interesting. It’s really a dream of mine to visit the Philippines one day.”

Hailee admitted that the first people who influenced her into pursuing acting seriously were “the people whom I have worked with – Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin.” She said, “They are three of the most incredible actors and people I have worked with. Then, there is also Paul Giamatti who is in ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ I had some great conversations with him just sort of on the side that is always so much fun because you are wrapped up in filming. It’s hard to find time to really sit down, talk, but you tend to have that small talk, and even that means so much. I really find inspiration in everyone that I meet.”

Aside from “Romeo and Juliet,” Hailee revealed that the love story of her parents inspires her. “It is something that I see everyday and that I admire. I hope that I have a relationship like that when I am older.”

Asked what Juliet was for her growing up, Hailee confessed, “I was just actually discovering ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at the time the film came around. I was reading the book in school at the time.”

She disclosed, “I have never had a love like Juliet’s. In fact, I have never fallen in love yet. So doing the movie, I was really able to explore the romantic side of Juliet and it was an emotion that I had to really think about since I have never been in love yet.

“There’s something so satisfying of that whole feeling of being infatuated and being in love, and just being able to sort of explore that and play that was so interesting, so much fun and an element that really had to be there was the chemistry between the two characters. That was also really fun working with Douglas Booth (who plays Romeo) and everyone in the film really working together had so much to do with helping me out with my performance.”

Scriptwriter Julian Fellowes (“Downton Abbey”) added about Hailee, “There is something about innocence that is very difficult to fake, and so it was lovely to have the real thing.” Manila Bulletin

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