Sarah Hyland Fan

EST 2010 | your source for Sarah Hyland
10/13/2010

Sarah Hyland, the actress who plays Haley Dunphy on ABC’s Modern Family, insists that she has virtually nothing in common with her character, a teenage airhead. “When I go to work, it is like putting on a Haley costume,” she says. “But it’s a really fun costume.” For starters, Hyland isn’t a 15-year-old girl any more. The actress turns 20 in November. So a lot of the drama that exists in Haley’s life — from the stress of taking a driving test to the trauma of having a pimple on a day when her photo will be taken — has become ho-hum stuff for Hyland. Still, she loves playing a teenager because a teen’s life is never ho-hum. “Teenagers’ lives are very angst-y and dramatic,” she says. “Everything is the end of the world with a teenager. I graduated high school almost three years ago. I’m not like that any more. But I remember what it was like when everything was the end of the world if something didn’t go my way. It’s fun to go back in time and be like that. But when the work day is over, I try to drop those old habits as fast as I possibly can.” Modern Family, the Emmy winner for best comedy series, airs at 8 p.m. CT Wednesdays on ABC.

In what ways, if any, are you similar to Haley?

“Haley and I have exactly one-and-a-half things in common. Neither of us can cook to save our lives and I always have my phone on me. My phone is the half thing — but only half — because I’m not always texting. I always forget to text people back, even though I have my phone on me. And people are like, ‘Sarah, I know you have your phone on you. Just call me back. Just text me back. Anything.’ And I say, ‘Oh, sure, I’ll get right to that.’ And then, like five minutes later, I’ll forget. There are a lot of things that might slip Haley’s mind during the course of a day, but texting somebody back is not one of them.”

You didn’t mention anything about driving. You live and work in Los Angeles, so evidently you’re not challenged behind the wheel like Haley is, right?

“Yes, I do know how to drive. I’m from New York. When I decided I was going to move to L.A., my mom was like, ‘Well, you know you have to drive out there.’ I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s right.’ So I took driving lessons and got my license and moved out to LA two weeks later and was just thrown into the chaos. It was wonky at first, but practice makes perfect. Haven’t hit any pedestrians yet.”

Do you have a favorite Haley moment?

“I did have one from the first season and then this season came along and I have a new favorite Haley moment. But revealing my new favorite Haley moment would be ruining an episode, so I can’t tell. In general, though, any moment when Haley says something stupid, like when she’s a complete airhead to the max, that’s what I love the most. In the first season, when she was rubbing the cell phone battery on her head because she believed doing that would recharge it, that was one of my favorite moments with Haley.”

What are some of the adventures that Haley has in store for her this season?

“This season is hilarious and Haley goes through some pretty funny things. One really good one is Haley trying to help out her sister Alex with boys and being popular. She finally gets to teach her little sister something. Haley is finally the master and it’s really funny seeing Haley know what she’s talking about.”

You’ve been acting almost your whole life. What compelled you to do this?

“My dad is an actor, so I grew up around adults who made acting their careers. And I knew from the age of 5 when I started that this is what I wanted to do and that it’s what I was going to do. The competitiveness in me really drove me to become an actor. I saw a commercial for Shake ‘n Bake at the age of 4 and I said, ‘I can do that so much better than that girl.’ That’s when I wanted to start acting. And once the bug bit me, I knew I was going to do this for the rest of my life. All because of good old Shake ‘n Bake!”

Does it boggle your mind that you’re costarring on an Emmy-winning network TV show at your age?

“Yeah. Because, A, I have a lot of friends who are in college and still don’t know exactly what they want to do as a career when they graduate. And, B, I know actors who have been going at it for longer than I have but haven’t been as successful. I think it’s easy to succeed as a child actor, purely because kids are cute and you always need a kid somewhere. But making the transition from being a child actor to being an adult actor is hard and I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to do that, even though I’m still playing a child.”

But is it ever confining for you? Are you ever like, “This is great, but how about an adult role now”?

“The grass is always greener on the other side. If I were doing a grown-up role instead of this, I might be like, ‘You know, that girl playing Haley on Modern Family seems to be having a lot of fun. Why can’t I have a job like hers?’ So you’re not going to see me complaining. Haley’s got a lot of growing up still to do. Like going to college — or not getting in. There’s so much to do. I hope I get to keep doing this for a while.”

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