Hayden Panettiere has always loved to act AND sing; now she gets to do both as star of ABC’s Nashville – the hit new series where she plays a young country singer on the rise. Although this is not Panettiere’s first claim to fame – during the first couple of seasons of Heroes, audiences pretty much used Hayden Panettiere’s character as their point of reference. In a show filled with secret potential superheroes, she was supposedly the one least suspecting of what was happening. She was the cheerleader.
To others, she may be among that group of young actors such as Kristen Stewart and Lindsay Lohan, a fellow former soap child actor. Gossip sites and magazines still want to know what she’s wearing and who she’s dating and if she spent any time at the Chateau Marmont. However, Panettiere grew up far from Hollywood, in suburban Palisades, New York, to a former soap opera actress mother and fireman father.
In the backyard of the more famous, Manhattan, New York (it’s about 15 miles northwest), Rockland County, is worlds apart. AStarWasBorn.com caught up with Panettiere to talk with her briefly about growing up in Rockland County, New York.
ASWB: Where did you grow up?
HP: Rockland County.
ASWB: What were some of your fondest memories growing up in Rockland County?
HP: I was lucky. I got to go grow up to do the thing that I loved and at the same time I got to go to school; I was home schooled but to a certain degree, I also got to go to regular school. I got to go to my homecoming (football) and I just loved the simplicity of that.
I’m Italian so I grew up with big Thanksgivings and big Christmases. Christmas was huge at our house; the anticipation and the sneaking down to see how many huge boxes there were in the living room. My dad always loved us being able to open a lot of things, so we would get a lot of silly things sometimes, but just for being able to open something and be excited.
“Piermont is beautiful. Piermont is right by the water and there are some great little restaurants down there.”
ASWB: Were there any favorite foods that you remember from that time?
HP: I ate at home most of the time.
ASWB: Travel books have must-sees, what is your must see for your hometown?
HP: Piermont is beautiful. Piermont is right by the water and there are some great little restaurants down there. Nyack is a great place that we used to run around; it’s where I was born. And you’ve got Tallman – it’s beautiful, very lush green.
ASWB: Did you have a favorite teacher?
HP: Ms.O’Brien was, I think, my second and third grade teacher. I remember having her two years.
She was just amazingly kind. She treated me well and that was something that was very hard to come by – for what I did – somebody that was accepting of it. Somebody who was even-keeled.
ASWB: Do you have any friends that you keep in touch with from that period?
HP: Oh yeah, my best friend that I grew up with, who has lived with me for two years now.
Just across the Hudson River, but worlds apart – the next time you’re taking in the sights in Manhattan, you may want to slow down the pace and visit Rockland County. For travel tips on Rockland County, see our “Travel Tips & Links” section.
Photo credits: rock tourism.com