'A Change is as Good as a Rest!'
Hilary Ann Duff was born on September 28th, 1987 in Houston, Texas to Bob and Susan Duff. When Hilary was six, she had been traveling in the Cechetti Ballet with her sister Haylie(17), but decided she wanted to fulfill her dream of acting.
Her first part was in the mini-series, 'True Women' (1997) (TV), but her first starring role was as Ellie in 'Soul Collector, The' (1999) (TV), for which she snagged a "Best Performance in a TV Movie or Pilot (Supporting Young Actress)" Young Artist Award! Hilary also starred in 'Casper Meets Wendy' in 1998, in which she played the young witch Wendy.
Success came again as she took the role of the starring title character Lizzie McGuire in the #1 Disney Channel Hit Series, "Lizzie McGuire" (2001). "Lizzie" is about a 14 year old trying to survive life with help of Gordo, Miranda, Ethan, Kate, parents, and Matt and is now in its 2nd season which proves to be a hit with all sorts of audiences. Hilary also wrapped the Disney Channel movie 'Cadet Kelly' (2003) and returned to the big screen for the first time in five years this year for the release of her successful 'Lizzie McGuire' (2003) movie ... not to mention a role in "Agent Cody Banks" (2003) in which she partnered up with Frankie Muniz!
Chatting to her today, I first wondered just how the Hilary Duff / 'Lizzie McGuire' bandwagon was rolling these hectic days? "Well, when 'Lizzie McGuire' first came out it was really hectic, but after about a year people started caring more about, like, me," she giggles, throwing her hands up. "And now that things have kinda gotten a bit, well, estranged, shall we shay, with the whole 'Lizzie' thing, well, the focus can only be on me now. And yes, there's a LOT of it," she vocally emphasizes.
On your new album, you actually wrote the title track 'Metamorphosis' and co-wrote 'So Yesterday' - so how did you feel when you first heard 'So Yesterday' on the radio? "I actually did not like the song when I heard the demo. I told my manager, 'It's not a good song. It's not cool, I don't like it. I don't wanna do it.' Usually he'll agree with me. But he was like 'Hilary, please do this'. I'm like 'Alright', and I just agreed to do it. I gave 100% cos I wanted it to be good, even if I didn't like it, and I heard it after we recorded it, and I was like 'Oh my God, this has to be the single'."
So do you think of yourself as more of an actress or singer? "It was always acting that I wanted to do first. I've always been interested in singing and I took voice lessons when I was little. About two years ago I decided I wanted to get more into it. The thing with acting is that you're putting yourself in somebody else's shoes, and you're creating a character, which is a ton of fun because you're not acting like yourself. But also it's good to have the balance with the singing, so that everybody knows your personality and what you're like, because you can express that through your music."
Which musicians do you admire in today's music? "I love Dido, and I like Nelly Furtado, and I like the Chili Peppers and I like Incubus, ... and I like Janis Joplin," she adds, now taking a breath.
Not that much choreography going on there is there?! "Not too much. I like Vanessa Carlton, ... and I LOVE Britney Spears too, and she has a lot of choreography. Christina Aguilera, and Eminem, and Lil' Kim and stuff like that. So it's a big difference of all different types of music."
The video for 'So Yesterday' looks like it was fun to make - was it?! "It was SO much fun. When I'm acting and stuff, I'm not acting like myself, so it's like being on film and creating this other character. But when you're doing a video you get to act like yourself in front of a camera. So it was a little weird for me at first. I got kind of nervous, but it was fun."
Did you end up inventing a character for yourself to be? "I did, kind of, because the song is not about a real story that's happened to me. We thought it was a good song, especially for girls out there who feel they're so dependant on their boyfriends that if they broke up their world would be over. It's not like that. I think girls should be independent and realise that if there's a breakup it's cos the guy obviously wasn't right for them. So I kind of did feel like it was a character."
So it's not too weird pretending to be you pretending to be let down by a boy? "Not really. I've had boyfriends and I've had a couple of breakups where I got pretty p***ed off," she laughs. "But I'm not the type of person to fight and argue. I kind of think if it doesn't happen, it wasn't meant to be. Like, whatever, get over it. I've always been like that, pretty independent and stuff, so I didn't feel uncomfortable singing about an experience I haven't gone through yet."
Your album Metamorphosis is massive here in America, but not too well known overseas and such. So, if people here have only heard the single, would they be surprised by what's on the album? "I think so, I know that here in the States they were like, 'Oh Hilary Duff's done an album' and they expected it to be like sugary-pop and not so great. Then they heard it, and I think everybody was pretty impressed cos it is more rock and it is cool and there's lots of songs on there that people can related to and it's not sugary at all. There's lots of really cool music on it. I think they'll enjoy it. I got to work with cool people on it."
So what are you up to next? "Early next year I'm gonna do a tour here in the States for about a month, but before that I'm performing at the AMA's and I have a movie coming out on Christmas Day with Steve Martin, Ashton Kutcher and Tom Welling! It's called 'Cheaper By The Dozen' and it's a remake of one they made a long time ago. Then I have another movie coming out in the summertime called 'The Cinderella Story', which is a modern-day twist, with lots of updates, kind of like a high school movie, which is cool."
And you're Cinderella in that? "Well that's not my name, cos it's an update. But I'm that character. I'm named Samantha in it."
Do you have ugly sisters?! "I do! A girl named Andrea and Madeline Zima. They're not well known overseas but they've been in quite a lot of movies over here in the States. And also Jennifer Coolidge, who was in 'American Pie'. She plays the stepmom and she's hilarious. And Chad Michael Murray who plays my co-star. He's Prince Charming, but his name is Austin. Regina King is also in it. She plays my mother figure."
And finally, who would win in a fight between you and Avril Lavigne? "Uh oh! I don't know," she starts laughing. "She looks pretty tough. Maybe she'd kick my butt. I've never gotten into a girl-fight before. I'm a pretty good, like, verbal fighter. But I don't lose my temper too much. I don't scream. But I have a pretty good evil eye."
So you could give her the slap-down verbally, then stare her out until she ran away? "Maybe," she laughs. "No, she's cool and her album is really great. I'll be like 'OK, someone wanted me to fight you, are you ready?'"
Interviewed by Jamie Wilson for Exclusive Magazine
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