Hailie Sahar Is Done Fitting InThe ‘Pose’ star sits down for a mental health check-in.
Known for starring as Lulu on the hit series Pose and as Jazmin on Freeform’s Good Trouble, Hailie Sahar continues to shake up Hollywood and stay true to herself through it all. Case in point: her latest single and music video for Star Traveler, which drives home her message of being unapologetically you—no matter what the bullies say or do (yep, she’s talking to all the anti-LGBTQ+ political bullies too). And soon, fans will get to see Sahar take the lead as Sir Lady Java in a biopic of the trans rights and nightlife icon.
Here, the mental health advocate sits down for a quick check-in with Wondermind and gives us a glimpse into what’s on her mind lately.
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WM: How are you doing lately?
Hailie Sahar: I am doing well. I'm in a space now where I realize that things that constantly keep happening are happening for a reason, and it's something that life is trying to teach me. So I'm grasping what that lesson is. I'm learning balance, and I'm good 'cause I believe in manifestation.
WM: What stands out to you and your mental health journey?
HS: I think human beings, myself included, tend to think we get to a point of knowledge or understanding where we [can] kind of stop learning. I think when you come to that point, that's when you become a dumb person because there's always something to learn, or there's always something that you've learned that you could relearn in a different way. Through my journey, I've learned that the smartest person knows nothing at all. Because if you know nothing at all, you are always open to learning something. So I'm constantly on this journey of learning or relearning or analyzing and thinking and manifesting. At the end of the day when we think about our own existence on the planet … you're trying to find yourself. And I think it boils down to something very simplistic: the understanding that [we really know] nothing at all and you're always learning no matter what age you are.
WM: You've talked about feeling lonely and isolated growing up in a religious family and when you got into acting. Do you remember when you first started to feel understood or like you found your people?
HS: If I'm being completely honest, I don't always feel understood. I've now entered a space where I realize that I have been trying to be perfect, this idea that I've created in my head of saying the right thing and looking the right way. And honestly, I feel more complex than that. I feel more like I'm vibrating on a different frequency, so I don't always feel like I connect.
If I had to equate connecting to something, I would say it's through artistry with other artists. I'm a creative thinker and a visual person, and a lot of the things that I think about like, What are we doing orbiting with the sun? What do the stars actually mean? What is the whole existence of life? Why are we born?—[I think about] not just the things that are tangible that we can see every day. So I don't think a lot of people that I've encountered think [like] that. I'm sure there are other people that do, but I think through artistry, I find a common thread of people that have some senses that are similar.
And I hope this doesn’t sound too off, but even when I listen to music, that's a form of communicating. Even if I'm not directly talking to someone, I feel heard or understood through music and melodies and sounds and crickets outside and birds. I feel understood because I'm so connected to the universe.
WM: You recently started embracing the birthmark on your cheek a bit more and shared how it’s improving your confidence. When do you feel the most comfortable in your own skin?
HS: When I'm not all done up. When I am at home, I like to wear big, baggy letterman jackets. And when I have my hair just in a ponytail or a bun at home and I'm just being with my family and friends and not feeling this pressure of having to be perfect or this ideal that I've created for myself. I'm learning to break that. So I feel more comfortable when I'm just able to feel free and relaxed and be goofy and not care so much.
I think I've spent a lot of my life caring and being meticulous about everything for obvious reasons of wanting to fit into society and wanting to be taken seriously and respected, but I don't really care about fitting in anymore. Of course I care about being respected, but I don't care about fitting into a standard anymore because I was meant to stand out. When I posted my birthmark, I said obviously the universe created me this way because I was meant to stand out. I was meant to be seen differently, and I embrace that now. I don't want to blend in anymore.
WM: If you're having a low self-esteem day, what helps you pull yourself out of a funk?
HS: Some good music, some good food, really remembering my higher self, and realizing I'm a tough cookie. I've been through a lot. I can handle it. My purpose is much bigger than this circumstance that may be happening at this very moment. It's going to pass. And at the end of the day, I'm going to be OK because the universe has my back, and I have my back. … It's remembering who I really am and being like, Wait a minute, girl. No, we're not doing that. Having that self-talk is what gets me out of that [mindset].
WM: What message about mental health would you like to leave us with?
HS: Be easier on yourself. Be good to yourself. In this society, [we can be so] hard on ourselves in trying to reach these goals. Take it easy for a moment. Sometimes it's better to listen, rather than always talk. Listen before you respond, and listen to yourself and your inner thoughts before reacting to things. Give yourself more grace.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
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