Models have been known to misbehave on sets, but Hailey Baldwin laughs at the memory of being scolded when she first started hosting the celebrity rap-battle series “Drop the Mic,” which premieres on TBS tonight.
“There was one thing I actually got in a lot of trouble for during the filming,” chuckles the 20-year-old, who shares hosting duties on the James Corden-created show with hip-hop star Method Man. “I would be standing there, and Method would be talking, and [the producers] would be like, ‘Hailey – smile!’” she laughs.
After all, it’s her signature sultry gaze that helped catapult her on a modeling rocket ride that led to high-profile runway shows, magazine covers, viral videos and campaigns for the likes of Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Karl Lagerfeld and Guess.
But she’s shown she has skills with ad-libbing, zingy one-liners and, “I’m good with lyrics — I memorize everything. I’ll be in any party where there’s rap playing spitting all the words,” she says, adding “I’m normally sarcastically funny; I think that any of my friends would probably — hopefully — back me up on that.”
While no one would be surprised if Baldwin was looking for a fast track into acting — especially given that she’s the daughter of Stephen Baldwin, of the famously chiseled acting family — hosting, she says, is enough of a leap into untested waters.
“This was stepping outside of my comfort zone,” says Baldwin. “To be very honest, I was really, really nervous when we first started. I didn’t want to disappoint the team. I was like, ‘James, am I doing this right?’”
Apart from learning to smile when she wasn’t cracking jokes or reading the Teleprompter, she credits Corden and the production team for helping her find her groove.
“James is just funny 99.9 percent of the time, even when he’s being serious, the way he speaks and articulates and carries himself,” she says. “Really can’t complain about having James as a boss, I have to say.”
Now, she can’t wait to get back on a stage. “I just want more things that are in this style. I would love to maybe help host an awards show — I think that could be very fun.”
But she’s not sure she wants to make the leap into movies. “The intention of modeling was never the path to acting, for me,” she says, adding that she intends to “continue and see where I can take” the modeling career. “There’s still times where I don’t even know for sure that I want to act. I don’t know if I will get there. It’s been a very natural progression for me. It doesn’t feel, like, super overwhelming. But I think that I know when I’m ready for certain things, and I don’t feel like I’m ready to act right now.”
Much like her modeling gigs, the show’s “played-up” wardrobe isn’t exactly what she’d wear every day, though she was allowed to choose her own looks. Impressed with the recent spate of couture offerings in Paris, Giambattista Valli in particular, Baldwin says she’s into throwback style.
“I was watching ‘Pretty Woman’ the other day and I was looking at some of the stuff she’s trying on when she goes shopping,” she explains. “I look at those things, and I would wear that today. She looks dope! I just am constantly thinking about what I want to be doing and changing, or trying differently.”
As with acting, she’s in no rush to hurtle headlong into building her own fashion brand. “I’m not there yet — I’m only 20,” she says. “As each year goes — and even as months go — there are things that I am accomplishing that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. There are things in modeling, too, that I want to accomplish first before I move on from it, because I don’t ever want to look back and be like, ‘I know I could have done that!’ and I rushed out of it to get into something else.”