It was only six years ago when Halston Sage made her television debut. In that short time, she's crafted a career that Hollywood dream-chasers could only aspire to. She's landed major roles with accomplished actors and filmmakers like Seth Rogan in Neighbors, Adam Sandler in Grown Ups 2, Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring, and alongside Cara Delevingne in Paper Towns. Halston is famous for playing the blonde beauty, either the embodiment of virtue or audaciously cruel. The spectrum of characters in which she is casted shows her marvelous range. She brings dimension to archetypical characters with complexity and has a remarkable way of getting you to connect, whether you want to or not. From her formative days as a teen star, to more sophisticated performances in film, there is no denying that her artistry is striking.
Although relatively new to the scene, Hollywood was always within reach. Halston grew up in Los Angeles, a rare breed whose upbringing was set against a sunny backdrop of palm trees, salty air and brilliant skies. She didn't jump into acting at an early age like many Angelenos do, but she was always a performer—finding creative outlets in her school newspaper and high school plays. Halston is an award-winning equestrian whose affection for animals is inspiring. With a personality that's as sunny as the weather, there’s no denying her exceptional charm.
Coming from an assembly of Nickelodeon alum who’s been able to forge a career, Halston has done so seamlessly, without the overtly rebellious scandal. She has done things her way, in her own time and it shows. Halston Sage is a star without a script.
Many people come to California with dreams of making it in Hollywood, but you actually grew up in LA. What was that like for you?
I loved growing up in LA. My whole family lives in the city and we are all very close, so Los Angeles is really home to me.
Did you always have ambitions of becoming an actress?
I always knew that I wanted to act, even from a young age. I was the little girl putting on shows at the dinner table just because I loved storytelling. I started acting in school plays and writing short stories as well, but I didn't start to work professionally until I was 16. I think growing up in LA, my parents weren't sure if acting was something I was genuinely passionate about, or if it was just something that I was surrounded by. They wanted me to grow up and become who I was going to be without the industry influencing that. Looking back now, I’m grateful they made me wait because I would have missed out on so many amazing experiences had I started working at a young age.
You are such a lovely and grounded individual. What do you do in your everyday life to stay upbeat?
Thank you! Coffee and chocolate chip cookies. But seriously—the one thing that matters most to me when I wake up everyday is my family. No matter how daunting the day may seem, I know that if I am able to talk to one of my parents, my brother or sister, nothing can ever be that terrible. It also really helps to feel productive. If I’m not on set, I’m always looking for ways to accomplish something. I take online college courses in my off time just to keep my brain busy. I go crazy if I’m not working on something at all times—just ask my mom.
What do you imagine yourself doing if you weren’t acting?
I would have gone into journalism. I was the editor of my high school newspaper and always loved writing, but then again when I was in elementary school I was pretty sure I was going to be a dentist. So who knows!
If you could give a young aspiring actor one piece of advice, what would it be?
I would tell them to always put their heart into every piece of acting they ever do—every audition, every scene in acting class, every job they get. As long as your heart is in it, you will never have regrets because you’ll know that you did your best work.
You’ve worked alongside some incredible people like Emma Watson, Cara Delevingne, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Seth Rogan, Jack Black and many others. We can only imagine how much fun you’ve had on set. Can you share with us one of your favorite behind-the-scenes moments?
I have been very, very, very lucky to work with the people I have worked with since I started in this business. One of the things I love most about this job is meeting new people and building these little on-set families on each project. I have so many favorite memories from filming, but if I could go back and relive one right now I would want to be at this old-fashioned diner in North Carolina sitting in a booth with the cast of Paper Towns. We used to eat every meal together and have movie nights with our director, just because we all loved each other so much. We grew up together making that movie in a sense. I might also have to go back to the Neighbors set though—never in my life have I laughed the way I did on that set.
Your film Before I Fall is about a young woman who relives her death every day for a week (a la Groundhog’s Day). Tell us a little more about your role and why were you drawn to this character.
I was drawn to Lindsay, as a character, because she brings new dimensions to the classic ‘mean girl’ role we are used to seeing in film. What I loved most about her was that she lives life like she is invincible, but then you learn it is all just a cover for her vulnerability. Lauren Oliver wrote a description of her in the book that I latched onto—something to the effect of “being around Lindsay makes you feel like you’re drunk.” Even though at first, she comes across as the carefree ringleader, Lindsay is very broken inside from watching her parents go through such a bad divorce. Once I understood her, I was able to sympathize and forgive her for her insensitivity towards others. Being mean was her way of gaining a sense of control back over her life after she thought she had lost it. If she was going to feel heartache and despair, she wanted others to feel it too.
Lindsay reminds us how tough it is to be a teen. Especially in a world where social media plays such a huge role in our everyday lives. While we are on the subject, we noticed you’ve taken some killer selfies. Tell us all your secrets.
Light! Find the light! And if there is a dog around put it in the selfie with you because dogs are adorable and you will never take a bad picture of one.
Your career has also been able to find the light, as you seem to be moving at lightning speed; which of course leads us to your new series. Tell us more about Orville.
Orville! I get really excited just thinking about being a part of this show. I am working with such an incredibly talented group of people who are doing a really amazing job of creating a future that I would want to be living in 300 years from now. The show takes place on a spaceship and is a comedic drama. That’s all I can say for now, even though I could talk about it for hours if I was allowed to. I love it.
Speaking of the future, do you think it’s important for young people today to be invested in our future whether it’s politically, environmentally or socially?
Yes—it’s important for young people today to be invested in our future. We are all living on this planet and we have to take care of it, as well as each other. I know that I want to do everything I can now to ensure the future is a place where my children and their children’s children can live a healthy, peaceful life. I also believe that it is important to feel like you have a voice—no matter what the topic—you should have an opinion. Be informed so you know how to contribute to change in the most productive and thoughtful way possible.
We know that you are passionate about your pups. Are they truly (wo)man’s best friend?
Yes, yes, YES! I am in love with my dogs and animals in general. I grew up riding horses for 8 years and I learned that nothing could fix a bad day like seeing your horses’ ears perk up at the sound of your voice or cuddling with your pups.
Thanks so much for spending time with us, Halston. We cannot wait to see all of the great things you’ll be doing. But before you go, just one more thing... Is it true that Jack Johnson and John Mayer are your all-time favorite artists? (Of course we couldn’t let you go without asking!) What else would we find on your playlist?
Jack Johnson and John Mayer were my all-time favorites growing up and I still do like their music a lot, but I also have new favorites! I listen to such a mix of music—Alabama Shakes, Kings of Leon, and The Chainsmokers—but I also really love oldies; I play 101.1 all the time in my car and pretend I’m living in a different time. I’ve also been playing the La La Land soundtrack pretty much non-stop since I left the theater.