From publishing heiress to Scream Queen? That's the current trajectory of Lydia Hearst, whose last name of course is best associated with her great-grandfather, William Randolph Hearst, founder of the legendary media empire. Lydia managed to avoid many of the pitfalls that befall other beautiful young women with famous last names by focusing on a successful modeling career, appearing in some of the most prestigious fashion magazines as well as national advertising campaigns for brands like Prada, Louis Vuitton and Sephora. But recently, Lydia has started the next phase of her life: conquering the world of horror movies. Yes, ladies and gents, this is perhaps the most unlikely gore-hound in the world. (She even describes herself as a "horror movie fanatic" on her official Twitter page.)
Lydia recently completed six (!) horror movies in the last year, with the biggest title of the bunch being CABIN FEVER: PATIENT ZERO, the prequel to Eli Roth's cult classic. The film sees Lydia playing a not-so-kind scientist in charge of keeping a man immune to a flesh-eating virus in captivity. While Lydia plays it fairly cool throughout, the highlight of the picture is a one-of-a-kind cat fight between Lydia and actress Jillian Murray that has to be seen to be believed - it is destined to become a YouTube classic
Here I talk to Lydia about her love of horror and prosthetic work, her involvement in the "Free the Nipple" campaign, preferring heels to sneakers, and the strange proclivity people have for maiming her.
How did you become involved with Cabin Fever: Patient Zero? It's a pretty crazy flick.
I first went and auditioned for the role of Penny, and then when I went to the callback, they offered me the role of Bridget. I loved the character; the corrupt, evil, mad scientist. I took the role and went to the Dominican, and the rest is history.
How long have you been a horror movie lover?
My whole life, I absolutely love horror movies. I've probably seen just about every horror film ever made. I'm so excited that I've had this opportunity to work on horror films, especially this past year I've done quite a few. I do enjoy being scared to an extent, but I also love the making of them - getting to wear prosthetics and seeing how they make everything.
What's it like having all that gross make-up on you?
The prosthetic work was about nine hours a day. They reconstructed my face on the outside, I got my teeth molded so they could build the external mouth. It's literally piece by piece, gluing on the muscles and the tendons and painting on the veins. Then putting blood on top of everything; it's pretty amazing.
It sounds sticky.
It's definitely sticky, but as a horror movie fanatic I loved every second of it.
You have to tell me about filming that cat fight sequence, which is amazing. Is that you the whole time?
It was both myself and my best friend Jillian Murray. That was one of the longest nights on set, we filmed until sunrise. She and I had to keep screaming and screaming all night long. We worked with a stunt coordinator for a couple of days to work on the flips and throws; it was really remarkable to see how it all came together. There was so much that went into it, it was really fun to see how it came out.
You've been a successful model for quite a long time, but are you moving away from that in favor of acting?
I do really love acting; I'm influenced by other models who were able to make the transition, yet I don't want to leave the fashion industry fully behind.
You have a lifestyle blog - what got you started on that?
I'm a believer that there are 24 useful hours in every single day, so I try to use all of them. I love having these various creative outlets.
What the next occupation you hope to conquer?
I think I'm going to focus on acting for the time being. I did about six films last year, and all of them were either horror or psychological films, so it was a lot of fun for me. I'll still continue to write my blog and model as well.
What's the most important advice you can impart for maintaining a healthy lifestyle?I think you just have to live life to the fullest, live every moment as it comes. It's important to maintain a balance too; maybe 80% healthy, 20% bad - I don't believe in doing anything that's totally one extreme.
What kind of diet do you maintain to stay in great shape?
As far as diet goes, I try to eat meat, pasta and cheese every day. I love to exercise and go hiking and being outdoors. For every film I've done, I did all the stunt work. You have to stay physically fit in order to do all that.
Did you say you eat pasta and cheese every day? They always tell me to stay away from that stuff.
I think everyone should eat right for themselves. I don't believe necessarily in following trends, I think you have to do what's right for you.
I read a quote of yours claiming you're more comfortable in heels than in sneakers - is that possible?
To an extent, yeah. [Laughs] When I'm working or not, I'm pretty much always in heels. The only time I'm not is when I'm hiking, doing yoga or something like that. But yep, pretty much always in heels.
You seem very busy; what do you do to relax?
Well, a lot of people probably don't consider it relaxing, but I love my job, and so I'm very fortunate to do what I love every day. When I'm not on set filming or doing a photoshoot, I'm working on my blog, or working with my acting coach. Or watching horror movies. [Laughs]
What's the best movie you've seen recently?
I have to say CABIN FEVER: PATIENT ZERO is up there. [Laughs] I had the luxury of getting a screener, so I've seen it multiple times.
Who do you hope to work with in the film industry?
There are a lot of people that I hope to work with. I have to say, I'm definitely a very big Rob Zombie fan. I loved the remakes of HALLOWEEN. Another big director is Scott Derrickson, he's consistently incredible.
Do you read about yourself online or in the gossip columns, or do you ignore it?
I try to ignore all of that. I'm a little bit of a perfectionist, so the concept of googling myself or reading about myself is a little uncomfortable. Even watching myself on screen. I love my job so obviously for work purposes I have to watch the movies that I've done, so I look at it differently. It's like how athletes watch game tape, I kind of look at my movies and fashion work; I watch it and review it and try to hone my skills.
You have to tell me about this "Free the Nipple" cause that has been in the news lately. I'm all for freeing the nipple.
With the mediums of Instagram and Facebook, it's considered unacceptable for a woman to show her breasts. Essentially, women are very objectified, especially on social media. If a man's posing in swim trunks, it's acceptable, but for a woman in the same position, she's objectified. I don't think women need to be objectified, and sex doesn't need to sell products. We should appreciate the human body for what it is. There's a big difference between art and pornography, we need to come to understand that. Women have children, it should be socially acceptable for them to breast feed. Everybody has breasts, men and women; in society, we have to say that we are equal.
What else is on your plate that you're excited about?
Oh gosh, there's so much. I have a couple of short films that I just did, one I'm starring alongside Anton Yelchin and the other with Johnny Knoxville. I just did a horror movie called CONDEMNED, with Dylan Penn. Again, a lot of prosthetic work in that one. It was so much fun. I don't know if there's something about me where people really enjoy maiming me. [Laughs] I've had a flesh-eating virus, I've had my head chopped off, I've been stabbed, I've been shot, I've been thrown out of a moving vehicle. It's been quite a year.
That sounds fun to me! Thanks for your time!
Thank you so much!