What is it that empowers you most?
Being onstage. There’s nothing in the world I love more than running out to a cheering crowd and getting to perform for new people and share our music. I feel the best when I’m singing, like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
What is it that you love most about yourself?
When I was in elementary school, people used to make fun of my huge eyes. One kid called me “owl eyes.” It’s funny how something I hated is probably my favorite thing about myself now. My eyes are huge, yeah, but they’re unique and usually the first thing people notice. I’m also extremely persevering– you can tell me “no” or “you’ll never be able to do that,” but if I feel strongly about something, I’ll keep working for it. Life’s too short not to fight every single day for what you want.
What makes you feel most beautiful?
Gel eyeliner! I always do the “cat eye” look, and I like to play around and add dots near the wings. It makes me feel very put together and sort of… fierce! For some reason makeup gets a bad reputation– it was created to enhance natural beauty, but it can also be an amazing way to express yourself. As long as you aren’t hiding behind it, and it makes you feel beautiful, then wear it however you want!
Who is your biggest role model and why?
My mama. I’m really lucky that I had extremely supportive parents growing up– they let me move to New York City and study acting in college, knowing I would come out with a performance degree and a whoooole lot of loans, but they wanted me to follow my dreams. My mom has been at every single performance, play, talent show, concert– always there to cheer me on. She has taught me to be patient and to always give people second chances. I have been through a lot of disappointment and heartbreak, but she will listen to me cry to her on the phone for two hours if that’s what I need to do, and then she’ll tell me that I have to keep going, no matter what. She sees the best in everyone and it’s something I hope I can someday pass on to my kids too. If I can be half the woman she is then I will have lived a really good life. I’m blessed to have her.
Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
I LOVE Stevie Nicks. I think she has an incredible voice, she’s a brilliant songwriter, musician, performer. I grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac with my parents– I remember hearing “Landslide” in the car when I was really young and being like mom, her voice is so cool! Stevie has been through some crazy life experiences, but has always emerged stronger. Plus she’s a total badass and has killer style. She’s truly inspiring to me!
“I would want to give up because I was so frustrated or heartbroken, but I didn’t.”
If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Hermione Granger. I’m the nerdiest when it comes to Harry Potter (before I was doing music, I worked at the Harry Potter exhibit in Times Square and essentially got to dress up as a witch every day), and I think she is such a crucial part to the story. Harry is awesome, but he wouldn’t be half as successful without Hermione to think everything through beforehand or bail them out when they’re in trouble. She makes being smart cool, and I love that.
What is your biggest life goal?
To win a Grammy, and to have a #1 song on the pop chart.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
Probably watching our song being performed on Glee. I grew up a theatre kid, and Lea Michele is a legend in the musical theatre world, so the fact that she was covering our song on national television was such an incredible feeling. We didn’t know if the song was actually going to be in the episode until the day before– they really kept the suspense going! When the episode aired, I remember kind of just staring at the screen thinking, there are millions of people watching this right now, hearing our song. It was so crazy.
What is your favourite quote?
I have two. The first one is an Emily Dickinson quote my mom always says to me, and I ended up getting it tattooed on my leg. “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul.” I went through some dark times in college, and she would send me these little cards with that quote written in it. Hope is always alive within us, and it’s easy to lose sight of that sometimes.
The second one is (obviously) from Harry Potter. Dumbledore says it to Harry in the Prisoner of Azkaban. “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
To keep going, that the hours I spent every day practicing were worth it. There were so many times when it took me forever to nail a particular chord on the guitar or I didn’t get the role I desperately wanted in the musical, and I would want to give up because I was so frustrated or heartbroken, but I didn’t. I would tell my 6th grade self that someday, it would all pay off.
What does feminism mean to you?
To me, feminism means loving and accepting yourself as a woman. I’m a girl in a boy-dominated industry, and I just lived in a van on tour for six months with dudes, sharing beds with them, hearing their gross jokes, listening to them fart. It was so important to me to go get my nails done or online shop just to remember that even though I’m surrounded by guys, and sometimes I act like a guy, it’s totally okay that I’m a girl. I think feminism is also about supporting other women, finding reasons to love yourself and your body, celebrating who you are, and doing things to make you happy. It has a bad reputation because guys think women just want to kill all the men and take over the world, but to me, feminism is about accepting everyone, regardless of gender, and celebrating why we’re alike, why we’re different, and realizing that no one is better than anyone else.