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Rising Stars: Meet Haylee Baldwin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Haylee Baldwin.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I always knew I wanted to be in the entertainment industry. Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of one day living in LA to act, model, and create. I grew up in a small town where big dreams seemed quite out of reach. It was until I graduated high school and found myself that I truly began to believe in and follow my dream.

I attended my first model call in June 2017. I walked my first fashion show (New York Fashion Week) in September 2017. I instantly fell in love, just as I imagined I would. After that, things started to look up for me and my dream, or at least it didn’t seem too unreasonable anymore. I walked multiple fashion shows across the country, did countless photoshoots, and appeared on a billboard in Times Square. I loved modeling, but since I was in college and worked a couple of internships, I couldn’t focus on it as much as I would’ve liked.

In May 2020, I graduated college. I also was laid off from my internship due to COVID-19. Although I thought it was the end of the world at the time, I realized it was only the beginning. With the support of my parents, I saw this as an opportunity to focus on modeling while I tried to secure another 9-5. With hundreds of failed attempts to get a 9-5, I felt defeated. I loved modeling, but it didn’t pay the bills. I felt lost, stuck, and didn’t really know where life was headed.

Over COVID times, I continued modeling, built my Instagram following to 47K, and kept my eyes set on where I wanted to be – in a big city working in entertainment.

Summer 2021, my love for modeling began to shift to a desire to act. This is also something that had always interested me, but I was very intimidated by it. I was used to being in front of the camera, but something about talking in front of it scared me.

In June 2021, I visited LA for the first time. This was a trip for my 21st birthday, but also served as a “test” to see how I liked the area because at the end of the day, I always wanted to live there and I knew it could be great for my career.

I fell in love with LA and what it had to offer. When I came home to NC, I immediately began planning my move. On September 1st, I decided to go for it. I packed up my car and drove cross-country from North Carolina to California. It took me five days because I wanted to enjoy the trip and stopped to sight see along the way. It was a long week, but honestly one of the best weeks of my life. I learned more about myself in that week than I had my whole life. I realized I was really doing this, and I’d never felt more proud and excited.

The six months I’ve been in LA have been life-changing. I’ve realized I absolutely love acting and it is my true passion. I became a member of SAG-AFTRA and I’ve met a group of amazing people. I’m feeling so excited and optimistic about my future!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The journey to where I am now has certainly not been all sunshine and rainbows. In high school and parts of college, I had zero self-confidence. I was involved in multiple abusive relationships that made my confidence even worse. I struggled to love myself for many years.

Even though I’ve gained confidence and began to love myself more, it’s still a common battle. While I have days where I’m confident, I also have days where I feel like I’m incompetent. I compare myself to others, talk bad to myself, and lose my typically positive mindset. I would say the biggest struggle along the way has been learning to love/believe in myself, and I’m proud that I’m working to get better at that everyday.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I’ve been modeling since 2017 and have recently began to transition into acting. Some of my most proud moments include seeing myself on a billboard in Times Square and working on set with people I’ve looked up to for years.

What sets me apart from others, as cheesy as it sounds, is my drive and work ethic. I moved to LA with nothing. No job or secure way of making money, I didn’t really know anyone. No guarantees for anything. I moved here with a dollar and a dream.

While striving to make my dreams reality, I wake up at 4:30am to workout and get my day started, then work all day whether that be on set or doing odd jobs. I enjoy the work and the process. I feel most fulfilled when I’m working hard, I seriously take no days off. I love the challenge of becoming an actress, and it’s what drives my motivation everyday.

We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
I definitely view myself as a risk taker and think everyone should take risks in life! I haven’t always been this way, though. I used to be so scared of the unknown that I wouldn’t do anything that could potentially not work out. However, since beginning to take risks, more things have happened for me than ever before. I think it’s important to just go for it because you never know what can happen.

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Image Credits
Photos 1-3: Deidhra Fahey Photos 4-5: Photo Mark Photo 7: Jeremy Lee

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