One remarkable thing about Hayden: Despite coming up alongside a professional cohort of party-going, club-hopping, car-crashing tabloid train wrecks, she managed to make it through her teen years without ever becoming one of them--for which she gives credit to a strong network of protectors who were there to set her straight.
"It’s not that I didn’t go to clubs, have my picture taken," she said. "I was 16 years old. I was experimenting just like any kid. But I had friends and family around me to yank me back when I was heading in the wrong direction. Every turn that I made, somebody was waiting for me to fall on my face and catch it on film. The thing that really saved me was that I still had that healthy fear of my parents--I still had a midnight curfew at 18!"
And perhaps as a result of her balanced upbringing, Hayden says that the grownup accoutrements of marriage and family (she's super-serious with her Ukrainian boxer boyfriend, Wladimir Klitschko) might be her next step.
"I don’t really have a plan," she admitted, but she's certainly not shying away from those major milestones, either. "I’ve lived a very big life, and I don’t feel my age, and I feel like I was born to be a mother. Sometimes people speak about [having kids] like, ‘Your life ends--you’re never going to be able to do anything again!’ And I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?’ Motherhood is the most beautiful, exciting thing, and there’s nothing that I feel like I can’t accomplish while having children in my life. I would sacrifice having more years of being wherever I want whenever I want for years with my kids."
But in the meantime, the 23-year-old is focusing on her role as country starlet Juliette Barnes on ABC's "Nashville."
"I don’t look at it as a second chance; I look at it as where I’m supposed to be," she said of the role. "Even if I’m not perfect at it, even if my voice takes work, this is where my heart is. People used to ask me, ‘What kind of music do you like?’ I’d say, ‘Country.’ Then they’d go, ‘But you’re from New York.’ I thought people would think I was trying to be something I’m not. But the industry of country music is unbelievably accepting. The fans are unreal. There’s no judgment; it’s just, Let’s all get together in a massive backyard and have a barbecue and drink and have fun.”
Have you seen Hayden in her new role on "Nashville"?