My real blemishes in teen film made me feel vulnerable, reveals Hailee Steinfeld

Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld has said showing her real blemishes in her new teen movie was “empowering” but also left her feeling vulnerable.

The 19-year-old star was just 14 when she received a best supporting actress nod for her role in True Grit.

True Grit stars Matt Damon, left, Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges at the New York premiere (Dave Allocca/AP)
She will next be seen as troubled teenager Nadine in drama, The Edge Of Seventeen, and said it is the role that felt closest to her own experience.

She told the Press Association: “This character is so honest and so real and she is a part of this story that altogether is very unapologetic and it does feel very much like me and my life to a certain degree.

“This felt like a film our generation could call their own. A lot of times you have this movie but the ending is how we sort of fantasise about our endings in life or a period of time as we go through our high school years.

“We want to get that one guy or we want to have our best friend like us for certain reasons.

“Whatever it is, there’s always some sort of fantasy that we have seen for so many years on screen and more rarely, we see the reality of it.”

(Dennis Van Tine/PA)
That reality includes imperfect skin, which Hailee said was often her own.

She said: “I have become more and more comfortable with removing myself as much as I can from who I am to really immerse myself in the world of the character I’m playing.

“I actually learned to really love spending very little time in the hair and make-up trailer and just going to work and not feeling ashamed of the fact that I had blemishes on my face, because it was real and if I didn’t have it they probably would have added them, so I saved them time too.

(Jordan Strauss/AP)
“It was both empowering and vulnerable. It’s something that I have realised in the last year or couple years of my life that I am happy about.

“But at the same time there’s always that sense of wanting to look good and presentable for that matter.”

She added: “There is an artist who posted the coolest thing on Instagram about this, saying ‘this is who I am, this is my skin, I am an artist, I travel, I wear a ton of make-up on stage and this is what I look like and it is what it is’ and regardless of whether you’re a performer and you wear a lot of make-up, it’s just normal.

(Arthur Mola/AP)
“The thought of trying to hide it is more work than not and the fact is that it’s becoming more embraced – natural beauty.”

Hailee added that growing up in the spotlight didn’t distance her from the character, even though she had a very different teenage experience.

She said: “We’re all teenagers at one point, we’re all struggling to find the answers to certain questions and that’s what this character is doing and that’s what I am doing.”

The Edge Of Seventeen will be released in UK cinemas on November 30.

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