How I Made It

Hayley Law, Actor and Musician

FLARE #HowIMadeIt celebrates 100+ talented, ambitious and driven Canadian women with cool jobs. Want what Hayley has? Here's how she did it

Hayley Law headshot
Hayley Law; Vancouver;

Let’s say we’ve just met at a cocktail party. How would you describe, in a nutshell, what you do?

I always have a hard time with that. Simply put, I’m a creative. I love challenging myself in new ways—acting, singing, dancing, crocheting, painting… anything.

Where did you go to school and what did you study?

I didn’t pursue post-secondary education. When that time came for me, I felt so strongly about wanting to find myself and discover what I was passionate about. It worked out. I’m glad I didn’t end up in a program I would regret for four years.

What was your first paying gig out of school? (In your field, or not.)

My first gig was… a McDonald’s commercial, I think. It was so brief, you barely see me in it. But I was super stoked.

What was your BIG break? How did you land it?

I feel like every opportunity could potentially be a “big break.” But I guess the correct answer to this would be playing Valerie on Riverdale. I went through a long audition process, lost lots of sleep and prayed… a lot.

Describe the moment in which you first realized, I think this is actually going to work out?

I’ve always known that I was going to be a performer. I still don’t feel like I’m at the place yet of being comfortable enough to say any of this has worked out. I know that every situation is temporary and I’m just trying to bust my ass to stay busy and working in this rollercoaster industry.

What would you say has been your biggest failure or shortcoming, career-wise, to date? How did you bounce back?

I feel like caring too much about other people’s opinions is something I’m constantly fighting. Or other artists critiquing your work. It’s hard to bounce back from someone saying your music isn’t good or you’re a crappy actor, but I’m not doing it for them. Reminding myself that I do this because I love it. Not to please anyone else.

Name one piece of career advice you always give.

Take risks. Safe is boring when it comes to creativity.

What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever gotten?

“Sex sells.” UGH I hate that.

Did you deal with barriers in your field because you are a woman? If so, what were they?

I definitely feel like it’s hard sometimes for people to take me as seriously as they would a man. I’m a young woman, so sometimes I get spoken to like I’m 10… which really pisses me off. I think we’re (unfortunately) always going to have to prove ourselves as women in this industry that is predominantly male driven. I feel so strongly about strong women kicking ass in every field and I want to make it known when meeting new people that I don’t f-ck around. I’m here to work and know my shit.

 What’s the worst stereotype you’ve heard about millennials at work?

I don’t like that some people don’t trust a young creative. There are so many AMAZING artists who are 14 or 15 who don’t get a chance to show what they can do because they’re young. Ageism is BS.

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