With a Passion for Good Works and a Style All Her Own, TEEN VOGUE June/July Cover Girl Hayden Panettiere is a Modern-Day Wonder Woman

May 13, 2008, 01:00 ET from TEEN VOGUE

    NEW YORK, May 13 /PRNewswire/ -- "In Hollywood," Hayden Panettiere
 declares, "there is no such thing as being a nice girl. Or being, you know,
 not messed up. If you're not, they'll make you that way," she says --
 "they" referring, of course, to the tabloid press. Having spent, by her
 estimate, approximately seventeen of her eighteen-and-a-half years employed
 by the entertainment industry, the actress has had ample time to consider
 this conundrum. But it's only in the past two years, ever since Heroes --
 the TV series in which she plays an injury-proof cheerleader -- became a
 smash hit, that Hayden's had to deal with the dilemma firsthand. "Nothing
 is private," she continues, "and when they write about you, it's almost
 always completely false." Does that include her romance with Heroes co-star
 Milo Ventimiglia? Hayden refuses to confirm or deny their relationship.
 "I'll not comment until the day I die! Denial," she concludes, with a wide
     (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080513/NYTU089)
     Despite the downsides, the Los Angeles-based star -- who grew up just
 outside New York City "going to soccer games, going to football games,
 doing everything that somebody in high school would or should do" -- says
 that she truly loves what she does. Her mother, a former actress, got
 Hayden into the business when she was a baby, and spent almost eight years
 on soap operas before moving on to bigger parts in sitcoms such as Malcolm
 in the Middle and movies like 2005's Ice Princess; still, she says her
 pre-Heroes resume didn't quite prepare her for the "almost overnight" fame
 that comes from appearing on a popular TV show. "It shakes you up," she
 admits. "It's like they flip your life upside down. But it's opened
 tremendous doors for me."
     Hayden's success -- and the celebrity that goes along with it -- does
 have its advantages. "The show put me in a place to speak for things that
 I'm passionate about," she explains, citing animal rights as an example.
 Hayden believes that her work on behalf of whales and dolphins has
 significantly raised awareness of the cause. Animal welfare has always been
 Hayden's cause of choice. "When I was younger, I'd always donate to the
 humane society," she says. Hayden shares her home with her two dogs, Penny
 Lane and Madison and her cat Raleigh.
     How did Hayden develop her signature sense of style? "I have the same
 sense of style that I did when I was growing up, but now I wear things that
 I might not have when I was younger, because I'm much more comfortable with
 my body. I'm definitely a jeans and tee shirt girl," she confesses. "I
 dress down and comfy whenever I can, which makes dressing up more
 exciting." Is there a certain look that she loves? "I really like to look
 polished. I love pencil skirts and flirty dresses -- but I'm not picky when
 it comes to designers; I could find something great to wear from French
 Connection or Gucci," she says. "I have a lot of fun dressing up and
 deciding what kind of look I want to go for depending on the event."
     What's next for our favorite heroine? The girl who says she "used to
 lose out to actresses who had more of a 'name'" is now working with some of
 the biggest names in Hollywood. She appears alongside Julia Roberts in the
 upcoming drama FIREFLIES IN THE GARDEN and spent her spring shooting
 director Chris Columbus's I LOVE YOU, BETH COOPER, in which she plays the
 titular popular girl -- another cheerleader, though she's quick to note
 that the movie is "not about that" -- who receives an unexpected, and very
 public declaration of love at her high school graduation. In addition to
 these roles, Hayden's been using her Heroes downtime to record her debut
 album for Hollywood Records.
     The June/July 2008 issue of TEEN VOGUE is on sale nationwide May 20,
 2008. Get exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and the inside scoop on
 Hayden's cover shoot with TEEN VOGUE at: teenvogue.com/go/hayden