It doesn’t quite seem fair to write that Sarah Hyland is “only” 24. Not only has been Hyland been acting since she was in diapers, we’ve watched her for years as Hayley Dunphy on “Modern Family.” Six seasons and a few “Best Ensemble” Emmys later, Hyland has become a star in her own right. She’s got a new movie called “See You in Valhalla” and is covering Seventeen this month. Maybe it’s because Sarah and I are the same age (more on that later), but I was floored by all she’s packed onto her resume.
I chatted with (read: fangirled at) Sarah at an event celebrating the launch of Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport — appropriately on one of the first 80-degree days in New York City. Sarah, an NYC native, recommends the brand to get through our sticky summers: “I really like to be active outside and for me, it’s so hot in LA and then in New York it’s so humid so you sweat a lot and just become a puddle. I need sweat resistant suncare so I chose this one, which is also nourishing for your skin so its awesome.” At work over the past few days since, I’ve been manically applying the sunscreen just so I can breathe in the classic coconut scent and pretend I’m at the beach. I suggest you all do the same. (Or, you know, actually go on vacation.)
It’s easy to forget that Sarah isn’t a normal girl, because she was so forthcoming with talking about her sweat, her Instagram, and her charity work. Here’s our chat:
YouBeauty: First of all, I have to tell you, I’m the biggest fan. I was so excited that I got to do this. So you always look so happy and great in your Instagram photos. Do you have a secret?
Sarah Hyland: Filters were made for a reason. [laughs]. I have really big eyes, so I like to wear a lot of mascara because it counter-balances it. I’m also a huge fan of lip liner. I would wear lip liner with a lip balm if I could. And for my hair, I use Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray.
So I know you were acting for years before “Modern Family.” I read a quote of yours along the lines of “it took 15 years to land this gig,” which is profound to me that you worked at something for so long. Where do you think your ambition comes from?
I’ve always had it. I was a very ambitious little girl. If I saw something and I wanted it, I worked my darndest to get it. I realized at a very young age – I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon – that if I wanted to take dance classes or buy a certain thing at the Children’s Place, which was the expensive place to shop for me when I was little, that I had to make my own money to buy it. So I guess I was probably just greedy as a little girl.
Did your parents want you to be an actress?
I’m sure now they’ve changed their minds that you’ve had so much success?
They’re really proud.
Have you gotten any beauty or style tips from playing Hayley? Or have you had to deliver any really bad advice?
Hayley wore A LOT of cowboy boots the first season. I just didn’t understand that trend. I understand if you’re in the South or if you’re going riding. There’s a time and a place for cowboy boots, but not with a polka-dotted dress. Just no. Cowboy boots were really popular at my school in like 2003, 2004, a lot of girls at my school would wear denim mini skirts with, like, heeled cowboy boots, like a big chunky belt with the iPod Nano clipped to the belt. And always sunglasses on their head but they never wore them.
My unofficial school uniform was essentially Uggs and a North Face, so that at least sounds better than mine.
Did you go to school in New Jersey?
Oh my God, yeah. Right on the nose.
Well, it was either Jersey or Long Island, one of the two. If you go to my Instagram there’s a picture from a couple years back – it was winter in New York and I had just gotten my first North Face fleece zip-up. I’m wearing these pajama pants that are kinda tight, tucked into Uggs, with a North Face. My hair was straight and really long so I put it in a side ponytail. I put my purse on one arm and I was carrying a Starbucks latte. I think I wrote, “Long Island Student 2005”.
Yep, that’s every single girl that I grew up with. I was going to ask you about this – as fans we’ve gotten to watch your style evolve to the point where you’re becoming a style icon. Do you have a thought process beyond just choosing what you like?
It’s really just stuff that I like. I have a really eclectic taste. I like everything from looking like Audrey Hepburn, to looking like Jackie Onassis on a yacht, to looking like Kurt Cobain. The range is so wide and vast. When I go shopping, it’s whatever jumps out at me.
As your career progresses, do you have any mentors or people whose careers you’d like to emulate?
I think someone like Christina Applegate. She’s a lot like me — she’s a musical theater girl at heart and a dancer. She really started off on a sitcom as well and I love what she’s done with her career and most of all her philanthropic work. I love a strong, independent woman. I’d love to emulate someone like Cate Blanchett, who’s like the Katharine Hepburn of our generation. She played a great Katharine Hepburn, too.
Is charity work something you do now or that you’d like to get involved in?
I’m involved in No Kid Hungry, Jeff Bridges’ association, and also the George Lopez Foundation. It’s a camp for kids who have kidney disease and kidney failure. They have medical treatments and doctors and nurses on site so if you’re on dialysis and can’t experience the things that healthy kids do at camp, you can go to camp and do activities while getting your medical attention on site. It’s great.
That sounds like such meaningful work, and it affected you pretty closely right?
Yeah, it’s just one of those things where I really like getting back on a low radar status.
So my last question – I’m also 24, so obviously I’m about to have a quarter-life crisis –
Yeah, I’ve been saying that for five years now.
Really? I can’t lie, that makes me so happy. You’re on an Emmy-award winning show and you’ve done so much for your age. Do you think you’ll hit the quarter-life crisis?
Always. You’re losing a part of yourself and when you’re a teenager, you’re so obsessed with becoming older. When you hit that age, you’re like “Oh, shit I’m actually here. Now what? Oh no, I’m 24, which means I’m turning 25 which means that I’m 50, I’m gonna die”. I don’t want to think about that but its where your mind jumps to.