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An Interview with Hailey Wait

It's hard to find an angle on Hailey Wait that hasn't already been taken. The 18-year-old "pro pizza face" Instagram personality and artist has been the subject of numerous articles boasting clickbait headlines dissecting her Instagram feed and proclaiming her inspirational for breaking the boundaries of what carefully curated Instagram accounts are allowed to present. Her albatross, according to many of these stories, is her acne. They range in perspective and depth, from writers who offer a mere paragraph about her message of self confidence, to stories that challenge the conventions of beauty using Hailey as a catalyst. I'd be hard pressed to find a facet of her physical appearance that hasn't already been explored.

Of course, Hailey is more than an uplifting headline. Her triumphs and problems are beyond skin deep. She's an immensely talented artist, her surreal and otherworldly-yet-enchanting paintings are not posts that can just be scrolled through (they are worthy of analysis, examination but are nonetheless accessible and instantly appealing). She struggles with mental illness and with trauma, and acknowledges this aspect of her life with her public persona, helping to end the stigma that she and so many others have encountered. She has long-winded rants about the brilliance of Sufjan Stevens, and fawns over Timothee Chalamet.

But really, it's hard to find an angle on Hailey Wait because I cannot claim to know her based on what is public. I watch her stories avidly, and like every post, and I'm eagerly waiting for her album release, but it would be immoral of me to write a post speculating on her life and intentions. I don't want to be guilty of the kind of two-dimensional journalism that several of the other features on Hailey are. Instead, I will talk briefly about the impact Hailey and her work have had on me (the only thing I can truthfully speak to).

Although I have never struggled with acne and I don't have the patience to learn how to do makeup properly, when I first came across Hailey's account I saw something more deeply, more personally inspirational than the media hype had proclaimed. I saw someone incredibly strong, without ever sacrificing her softness, incredibly prolific without sacrificing quality and someone who persevered regardless of the hardships and hate she faced virtually and in reality. Hailey's pictures reminded me that it is possible to get up, to continue without being hardened to the world.

What's your favorite article that's been written about you?

Probably an article from Refinery 29, because it was the only article that ever really talked about my art!

Given that you're so creatively prolific and multi-talented, does it ever bother you that what you got attention for was embracing your acne? I think it's such a wonderful message and I'm so thankful you've gotten publicity for promoting self confidence, but I was just wondering if it ever got a little annoying that that is your claim to fame when you're talented in so many other areas. 

It's definitely off-putting for me that I'm getting way more attention for something as simple as my face than I am for the things I spend literal years planning and preparing and creating. I wish my work was more valued as a whole, but the media attention at the very least does offer more exposure for it!

What work are you most proud of?

The work that I'm most proud of is actually my debut album, which I'm still in the process of creating, because it has been over three years in the works and it's definitely my most involved project to date. But if I were to choose something that's finished, perhaps my St. Vincent painting.

The St. Vincent Painting

What artists inspire you?

I'm obsessed with a lot of artists, mainly pop surrealist master Mark Ryden and also Jamie Hewlett, Gustav Klimt, Berthe Morisot, Degas, basically every French Impressionist painter, and William Bouguereau (to name a few).

What's the best reaction anyone's ever had to your music?

The best reaction anyone has ever had to my music was when I showed a friend a few of my finished songs and they started crying in the middle of a coffee shop where we were sitting. It was honestly great.

Can you describe your favorite outfit?

I think I'd honestly have a lot of favorite outfits, because in the real world you'll catch me in a pair of white gogo boots and overall shorts, with a cream colored sweater underneath! But in my ideal world, I'd be wearing nothing but Victorian era getups every single day!

Aside from perhaps being more candid with your internet persona, has your general style changed at all over the years?

I definitely think my style has changed over the years. I think that's just a natural part of the process. I live my life in phases for the most part, and I'm always changing. But no matter what, I'm always inspired by the past in some way.

I know you probably get asked this a lot, but what Sufjan album has had the biggest influence on your life?

"Carrie and Lowell." It's my favorite album of all time and I can relate to it in more ways than I ever could have anticipated with the first listen. On the album, Sufjan reflects on his relationship with his mother after her death in 2012, and he sings about family, forgiveness, grief, mental illness, and basically a lot of things that I struggle with on a daily basis. If there was one way for someone to get to know me better, I would show them this album.

Is social media more helpful or harmful in terms of your mental health?

It comes in waves. There are times when I can't physically leave my bed and I'm so paranoid of the world around me, and it's nice to know that I have so many friends online that I can keep in touch with. But on the other hand, it does get exhausting sometimes having to hear the opinions of thousands of people daily. It's not always positive. I do have to take mental health breaks sometimes because it can be a lot to handle.

If you and Timothee Chalamet were to get married, what kind of house would you want to live in?

If Timothee and I were ever to get married, we would probably just have an apartment somewhere in New York, filled with lots and lots of weird expensive wines you couldn't pronounce and it would be a funny mix of music equipment, questionable paintings, and Cardi B merch!

Photos via

Who do you think is the most creative person alive? What is your definition of creativity?

Creativity is essentially the ability to use your imagination in any given circumstance, to create something original and innovative (Sorry for that super boring definition). With that, I'd say the most creative person on the planet would be Sufjan Stevens. I don't know of anyone else that would be able to successfully write a song titled "A Conjunction of Drones Simulating the Way in Which Sufjan Stevens Has and Existential Crisis in the Great Godfrey Maze," or the classic "They Are The Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh!"


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