Hailey Hayes: Life Is Strange is ‘Incomparable to Anything Else I’ve Done’

Did any of your personal experiences relate to Samantha’s story or any of the other characters from Before the Storm?

I can definitely relate to Chloe, feeling like she’s been abandoned by a friend. I can relate to Rachel [in how she] wanted to become an actress and be willing to do anything to achieve that goal. I can also relate to Steph when it comes to having a crush on someone your friend might have a crush on. Samantha and I are similar in that sometimes I can be really awkward and just bad at conversations, though I like to believe I can stand up for what’s right like Samantha can.

Aside from Before the Storm’s bonus episode, the prequel’s story has ultimately ended. Looking back at Samantha’s story arc, what was your favorite moment from it? Additionally, if there was one area of her story that you would like Deck Nine to have expanded a bit further, what would it have been and why?

My favorite moment with Samantha was her stand against Drew [North] because it broke the trope of the ‘shy quiet girl’ and painted her as a more fleshed-out character.

I would love to know why Samantha is not at Blackwell in Life Is Strange. I know that’s a question that has been on my mind as well as the mind of many fans. I have theories, but I would love to get an answer from Deck Nine.

Life Is Strange: Before the Storm

Samantha standing up to Drew in Before the Storm Episode 1: Awake.

Bear with us on this one, but you share an uncanny physical resemblance with Samantha. Was this something that was planned from Deck Nine, or is this just a really strange coincidence that we’ve put together?

This was definitely planned by Deck Nine. The first day we recorded, they set up a camera to record my facial expressions and possibly to get an idea of how Samantha should look.

Samantha and I are similar in that sometimes I can be really awkward and just bad at conversations, though I like to believe I can stand up for what’s right like Samantha can. -Hailey Hayes

Outside of working on Before the Storm, have you been able to mingle with your fellow co-stars? And were you surprised by how vocal and active the Life Is Strange community is with the cast of Before the Storm?

I have gotten the chance to do a collaborative video with Katy Bentz [Steph Gingrich] and will be working on a collab with Dillon Winfrey [Mikey North] soon! I’ve helped Trey Mitchell a little with his Twitch channel and talk with Caleb Thomas [Nathan Prescott] pretty frequently. Everyone I mentioned, plus Kylie Brown [Rachel Amber], actually did an in-person meetup before the last episode was released! I’ve even gotten the opportunity to do a photo shoot with Dayeanne Hutton [Kate Marsh].

Going into this game, I knew it had a large fan base. I’m really glad that everyone enjoyed the game so much and loved all [of] the fantastically written characters. This fandom really is one of the most loving and accepting I have seen.

Life Is Strange: Before the Storm

Chloe and Rachel in Before the Storm Episode 1: Awake.

Have you been able to play Before the Storm in its entirety? And what’s your favorite segment from the series as a whole and why?

I have been able to play the full game! Some episodes multiple times. My absolute favorite segments are The Tempest and the Amber-Price kiss because they were so formative in Rachel and Chloe’s relationship and also something that the LGBT community doesn’t get to see often in such glorious fashion.

Since I am a fan of the original game, the female presence didn’t surprise me at all, nor did the LGBT relationship between Rachel and Chloe, which I felt was pretty heavily implied within the first game. -Hailey Hayes

As an up-and-coming actor in film, TV and gaming, what’s it been like to work in the profession during the midst of the #MeToo movement and the string of scandals that have since emerged in Hollywood? How does it feel to hear about all of these different issues that women have faced across all forms of entertainment?

Something to remember about the #MeToo movement is that this is not something new. This has been happening since the film industry first started and women finally feel safe enough to come out and speak up about these terrible situations. I definitely stand with any victims of this abuse.

Life Is Strange: Before the Storm

Chloe and Rachel share a kiss in Before the Storm Episode 2: Brave New World.

How do you think your performance in Before the Storm compares with your previous roles, irrespective of it being in film, TV or theater?

I feel like this role is completely incomparable to anything else I’ve ever done. Not only the level at which it’s at but, again, the fact that I am getting to be in a franchise that I truly care about and deeply respect has been mind-blowing. I hope it’s something I’ll get the honor of doing again in the future.

What does the future hold in store for Hailey Hayes? Any plans to continue pursuing VO opportunities in gaming?

I would absolutely LOVE to do more VO roles in gaming, animation or radio play. I’ve wanted to voice act since middle school but was discouraged because it’s such a hard medium to get into. After being a part of this beautiful game, I have more hope that I can pursue this path.

Currently, I’m working on a podcast that I have written along with my friend Sara Gilbert and will also be directing and acting in. I am also going to be working on a YouTube Red series called ‘Gene X,’ which we are supposed to start shooting sometime this month.

Life Is Strange: Before the Storm is available for download on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. For more on Before the Storm, check out Hardcore Gamer’s reviews for Episode 1: Awake, Episode 2: Brave New World and Episode 3: Hell Is Empty. Additionally, don’t forget to read our interviews with Before the Storm writer Zak Garriss and director Chris Floyd and actors Katy Bentz and Kylie Brown.

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