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Hayden Panettiere Wants to Be the ‘Polar Opposite’ of Her ‘Nashville’ Character

Hayden Panettiere
Terry Wyatt, Getty Images

Hayden Panettiere currently plays the role of Juliette Barnes in the hit TV show, ‘Nashville.’ But while the star portrays a difficult, sometimes conniving young woman on the small screen, she insists her character in no way reflects who she is away from the cameras.

“[It's] probably the polar opposite,” she tells Cosmopolitan magazine. “People love Juliette, but they love to hate her as well. She’s kind of a, we’ll be nice and say quirky character, and I want to be able to distinguish myself aside from her, and to know that people can differentiate between the two of us.”

The 24-year-old says even her fellow actors sometimes have to defend her off-screen behavior.

“I’ve heard from a lot of my co-stars, even — people constantly go up to them and go, ‘Hayden’s like that in real life, isn’t she?’ And they say, ‘What are you talking about? No, she’s not; she’s a character.’ But people don’t know how to distinguish between the two.”

Panettiere plays a successful singer on ‘Nashville,’ who performs before sold-out crowds. While the role might have been a bit of a stretch for the actress, she says she looked to some of country music’s biggest stars for inspiration.

Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert … they don’t have to go up there and do a choreographed dance, they can just sit there and rock out and they just take over the stage,” she notes. “After a while I’ve developed little things that work for me.”

The New York native adds that she also learned early on what would not work for her while in character.

“I’ve watched a lot of females who have wonderful stage presence and who don’t have to go up there and do a choreographed dance,” she adds. “Some people are great at it, but I was up there [on stage] going, ‘Guys, please, that’s not my forte, that’s not my background.’ That’s the easiest way to make somebody — especially a young woman — look poppy and cheesy, is to send them up and make them do a dance that they really can’t do and that looks uncomfortable and they’re like puppies who haven’t grown into their feet yet, myself included.”

‘Nashville’ airs on Wednesday nights at 10PM ET on ABC.

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