Hailee Steinfeld reveals the role writing has played in her career and the one role that allowed her to completely 'freak out'

Back-to-school season is an exciting (yet sometimes scary) time for students and educators alike.

As anxiety-inducing as the unknown and the brand new can be, the chance to realign, restart and reset your goals and dreams at the beginning of each academic year is both liberating and thrilling — and what better way to visualize those then by physically writing them down and watching everything come to life?

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Hailee Steinfeld over the years
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Hailee Steinfeld over the years
HOLLYWOOD - SEPTEMBER 30: Hailee Steinfeld arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Secretariat' at the El Capitan Theatre on September 30, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 18: Actress Hailee Steinfeld, wearing Calvin Klein Collection, attends ELLE's 17th Annual Women in Hollywood Tribute at The Four Seasons Hotel on October 18, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images For Elle Magazine)
(EXCLUSIVE) Actors Adam Irigoyen and Hailee Steinfeld attend Variety's 4th Annual Power of Youth event at Paramount Studios on October 24, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/WireImage)
CENTURY CITY, CA - NOVEMBER 04: Hailee Steinfeld attends the 18th Annual BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on November 4, 2010 in Century City, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 05: Hailee Steinfeld attends the Tron: Legacy UK film premiere at Empire Leicester Square on December 5, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Neil Mockford/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 09: Hailee Steinfeld arrives at the Los Angeles industry screening of 'True Grit' held at AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater on December 9, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
Actress Hailee Steinfeld visits 'Late Show With David Letterman' at the Ed Sullivan Theater on December 13, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 14: Actress Hailee Steinfeld onstage during the 16th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on January 14, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Caulfield/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 14: Actress Hailee Steinfeld (L) and Actress Elle Fanning (R) during the 16th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on January 14, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for VH1)
US actress Hailee Steinfeld attends the 'True Grit' Premiere during the opening day of the 61st Berlin International Film Festival at Berlinale Palace on February 10, 2011 in Berlin, Germany.
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - JUNE 05: Actress Hailee Steinfeld arrives at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards at Gibson Amphitheatre on June 5, 2011 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 09: Actress Hailee Steinfeld attends the First Annual Children Mending Hearts Style Sunday on June 9, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 28: Actress Hailee Steinfeld arrives at the Los Angeles Premiere 'Ender's Game' at TCL Chinese Theatre on October 28, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 23: Actress Hailee Steinfeld attends the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2015 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Mat Hayward/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 22: Hailee Steinfeld seen at LAX on January 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by GVK/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: Actress Hailee Steinfeld arrives at the 16th Annual Warner Bros. And InStyle Post-Golden Globe Party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 22: Hailee Steinfeld is seen at LAX. on June 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by GVK/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
TORONTO, ON - JUNE 21: Hailee Steinfeld arrives at the 2015 MuchMusic Video Awards at MuchMusic HQ on June 21, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Isaiah Trickey/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 11: Actress/model/singer Hailee Steinfeld attends Billboard's 10th Annual Women In Music at Cipriani 42nd Street on December 11, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 10: Singer Hailee Steinfeld attends KISS 108's Jingle Ball 2015 Presented by Capital One at TD Garden on December 10, 2015 in Boston, Mass. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 03: Hailee Steinfeld visits at Music Choice on March 3, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - APRIL 01: Actress/singer Hailee Steinfeld is seen upon arrival at Haneda Airport on April 1, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jun Sato/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 11: Actress Hailee Steinfeld attends the 2016 Nickelodeon HALO awards at Basketball City Pier 36 - South Street on November 11, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 11: Singer Hailee Steinfeld performs onstage during the 2016 Nickelodeon HALO Awards at Basketball City - Pier 36 - South Street on November 11, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 31: Hailee Steinfeld performs at Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest on December 31, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/DCNYRE2017/Getty Images for dcp)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 05: Singer/actress Hailee Steinfeld attends W Magazine Celebrates the Best Performances Portfolio and the Golden Globes with Audi and Moet & Chandon at Chateau Marmont on January 5, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for W Magazine)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 07: Actress Hailee Steinfeld attends The BAFTA Tea Party at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on January 7, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - MAY 13: Singer Hailee Steinfeld performs at 102.7 KIIS FM's 2017 Wango Tango at StubHub Center on May 13, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 16: Singer Hailee Steinfeld attends the '2017 Billboard Music Awards' And ELLE Present Women In Music At YouTube Space LA at YouTube Space LA on May 16, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for dick clark productions)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 20: Hailee Steinfeld attends SiriusXM's 'Hits 1 in Hollywood' broadcast on SiriusXM's SiriusXM Hits 1 channel leading up to the Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 20, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 21: Singer Hailee Steinfeld attends the 2017 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 21, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images)
INGLEWOOD, CA - AUGUST 27: Hailee Steinfeld attends the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 27, 2017 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 27: Hailee Steinfeld attends n:PHILANTHROPY Sponsors Republic Records' VMA After Party 2017 at TAO at the Dream Hotel on August 27, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for n:PHILANTHROPY)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Hailee Steinfeld arrives at Variety's 1st Annual Hitmakers luncheon held at Sunset Tower on November 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 19: Hailee Steinfeld attends the 2017 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 19, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
SAN JOSE, CA - NOVEMBER 30: Hailee Steinfeld attends the 2017 WiLD 94.9 FM iHeartRadio Jingle Ball at SAP Center on November 30, 2017 in San Jose, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/FilmMagic)
SAN JOSE, CA - NOVEMBER 30: EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE: Hailee Steinfeld performs onstage at WiLD 94.9's FM's Jingle Ball 2017 Presented by Capital One at SAP Center on November 30, 2017 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 12: Actress Hailee Steinfeld attends the Los Angeles Premiere 'Pitch Perfect 3' at the Dolby Theatre on December 12, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 18: Hailee Steinfeld attends the Lip Sync Battle LIVE: A Michael Jackson Celebration at Dolby Theatre on January 18, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 26: (L-R) Luis Fonsi, Republic Records Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder Monte Lipman and Hailee Steinfeld attend Republic Records Celebrates the GRAMMY Awards in Partnership with Cadillac, Ciroc and Barclays Center at Cadillac House on January 26, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Republic Records)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 26: Hailee Steinfeld and Kiana Lede Brown attend Republic Records Celebrates the GRAMMY Awards in Partnership with Cadillac, Ciroc and Barclays Center at Cadillac House on January 26, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Republic Records)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 04: Singer Hailee Steinfeld attends the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 4, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images)
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Research reveals that we’re 42 percent more likely to achieve a goal if we tangibly write it down, something that rockstar actress and singer Hailee Steinfeld knows to be true:

“Writing in general is a form of expression … I could be on a plane or in a car or literally anywhere and I do not leave my house without Post-it Notes and a pen …  I have to write it down physically.

I have my phone on me at all times, but there’s something more satisfying about writing it down and if it’s ideas that I sort of find I’m inspired by through my travel, I write it down so that when I’m in the studio, I can reference back to it. I’m constantly writing.”

This year, Steinfeld is teaming up with Post-it Brand to “encourage students to dream big and write their goals down as they get ready for back-to-school. I’m a huge believer in writing everything down including my goals.”

This concept of visualizing what you yearn for, almost in a seeing-is-believing type manner, was put into action on July 23 when Steinfeld treated students from the NYC chapter of non-profit After School All Stars to a Q&A centered around goal-setting followed by an acoustic performance at NYC’s Bathhouse Studios.

Whatever Steinfeld is doing as far as goal-setting and dream-casting is clearly working — the 21-year-old is currently on a nationwide tour with musician Charlie Puth and set to star in the upcoming “Transformers” spinoff, “Bumblebee", alongside John Cena.

And though she always dreamed of making it in the industry, Steinfeld has always put her education and schooling first and foremost:

“School was always my first priority and everything else came after that. When I graduated high school, I made the decision that this is the time in my life that I can figure out what I want to do with myself and figure out who I am. I had already been working a ton up until that point, and so I decided to take a couple years off and focus on my work. And you know, there were people that were supportive and people that weren’t. But I am so happy and I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to do what I’m doing.”

It’s hard to look at Steinfeld and her portfolio of work — from cuttingly relatable lyrics to complex, coming-of-age characters played on-screen — and ever imagine that she’s had a moment of doubt about who she is and what she was meant to do.

She oozes confidence, but not in an in-your-face type of way -- rather, in a grounded and collected manner.

It's something that positions her as a role model and example for young girls and teens alike, whether it would have been a real-life role she chose or not.

One movie role Steinfeld did choose, however, was playing Nadine in 2016's "Edge of Seventeen", where she plays a high-school junior going through just about every up and down we’ve all felt at one point or another.

Steinfeld addresses all of what it means to be a teenager muddling through high school -- the awkwardness, the ambiguity, the irritation and the gut-wrenching question of ‘Where on earth do I fit in?” 

It’s roles like these that have helped Steinfeld make sense of her own experiences growing up while simultaneously putting her in a position where awkward-stage-aged tweens and teens everywhere can have someone to relate to when it comes to gearing up for another year of school:

“I especially loved playing [Nadine] because I felt like it was an opportunity for me to fully express every bit of angst and built up anxiety and confusion and frustration. I could let it all out within that one character. And that’s what made her so incredible, was there were so many layers to her. She had a sense of humor about a lot of things, but there was a deeper, darker side to her real feelings on certain situations and it allowed me to ‘freak out’ and scream and yell and shout and then laugh and have fun. It allowed me to sort of discover my inner Nadine through playing her. So it was really special. I feel like having played that character [helped] connect me with so many people who were impacted by her.”

Being able to have those ‘freak out’ moments are necessary to finding yourself through school, adolescence and beyond.

But to Steinfeld, keeping a future-focused mindset is perhaps the most key of all:

“A new school year is the perfect fresh start. It’s a great time in your life to set new goals and write them down and prioritize what you want to achieve. Have fun with it, enjoy it … you go and you learn and you ask questions and yeah, it’s a good time.”

 

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