Maya Hawke on her new music, quit Juilliard and started working with father Ethan

Actor Maya Hawke is best known for her role as Robin in 'Stranger Things,' but long before she discovered her love for acting, Hawke was writing songs. Now Hawke has released her third album, 'Chaos Angel'.

Hawke – the daughter of actors Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman – has been writing music since she was a child.

“I struggled with a learning disability, and it was very difficult for me to read things, but I would do it – if I put things to melody I could remember them better,” she said. “And then I would use them as a means of communication, because I noticed that, at least in my family, you were heard much more clearly when you communicated through art.”

She attended Juilliard for a year before leaving in 2017, after she was offered the role of Jo March in the BBC production of 'Little Women'.

“It was extremely difficult and so amazing,” Hawke said of her experience at Juilliard. “There's so much pressure from the industry to be thin, to be attractive, to be castable, you know, to be on social media — like there's a whole other world of work that's so separate from what acting actually is. None of those things is there.”

Hawke auditioned for Juilliard with a monologue based on the diaries of author Flannery O'Connor. That monologue became the basis for the 2023 film, “Wildcat.” Hawke starred in the film as O'Connor, working with her father, who directed the film.

Hawke said she wasn't nervous at all about working with her father.

“I was nervous talking to people about working with my dad. I still am,” she said. “Taking a purely love-based flame and, you know, running with it is intimidating, you know, but working together wasn't.”

Hawke grew up in an artistic family and said she has had an artistic conversation with her father for years.

“It's very, very lucky,” she said. “I especially noticed that he really started to hype himself up as an art guru on Instagram, and I'm his first student.”

As an actress, Hawke has quickly become known for playing a certain type of role.

“I was talking to someone recently and they said, 'Do you have a lot of anxiety?' Hawke said: My first role where people saw me the most was 'Stranger Things,' where, you know, Robin is funny and angsty and dorky and – and that builds a world where people feel comfortable seeing you.

To voice Anxiety in the movie “Inside Out 2,” Hawke said she withdrew from her personal life.

“I have this character that I play in my own life when I'm nervous about something I know I shouldn't be,” Hawke explained. “And I was like, I'm going to do that in my audition. And I – hey, I just got into the person that I have inside of me and just let her go. And, um, and that's how I got the part I guess, she said laughing.

When Hawke wraps up her acting work, she plans to tour her new album. She says music is “becoming a more equal focus in her life.”

“For me, all creativity comes from the same source: that whatever you feel inside exists somewhere outside,” she said. “And if you can pinpoint the language of that feeling and capture it, it's extremely satisfying, like capturing a firefly. And if you do it right, it can light up the room.”

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