Chloé Hayden on pigeons, high school and celebrity run-ins: ‘This hand pulls me up … and it’s Hugh Jackman’

<span>‘You are not making me eat scorpions’ … Chloé Hayden.</span><span>Photograph: Micha Birkby</span>
‘You are not making me eat scorpions’ … Chloé Hayden.Photograph: Micha Birkby

Should tomato sauce be kept in the fridge or the cupboard?

In the fridge. 100%. My favourite food combo is something really cold with something really hot. Like apple pie and ice-cream. Hot pie with cold tomato sauce. My husband says you have to keep it in the cupboard. I’m like, “do you want me to divorce you?”

Which word do you hate most?

Cringe. There’s no such thing as cringe. Cringe is a cultural thing that we’ve made up and I think it specifically targets neurodivergent people and people that don’t fit the norm. I think it’s cool as shit when people are like that.

If you had to be a contestant on a reality TV show tomorrow, which one would it be?

One of those bad baking shows – like Nailed It on Netflix. One of those things where it’s not about talent, it’s just pure vibes. I would never do anything like I’m a Celebrity. I don’t want to be eating spiders. I was asked to do that show twice and I went, “Absolutely not! You are not making me eat scorpions.”

If animals could talk, who would be the nicest?

I’m an absolute animal lover. I have 75 pets. But I would love to talk to sharks: they’re so misunderstood. I’d give them a cuddle and say, “It’s OK!” Then the shark would say, “I just want to be friends.”

What is the weirdest thing you have done for love?

I met my husband on a dating app. And we said “I love you” before we met – after four days talking on the app. It was peak Covid. In Melbourne, we had a ring of steel. If you were in the city, you weren’t allowed to leave the city barrier. Like The Simpsons Movie when they have that dome.

You weren’t allowed to leave unless it was to see, like, your significant other. We couldn’t wait anymore. So he went past the ring of steel to see some chick he’d never met before; he came to my house and he never left.

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What’s been your most awkward run-in with a celebrity?

Before I was famous, I went to the premiere of The Greatest Showman because my best mate was in it. We went to the afterparty and I fell over someone. I was like, “That’s so embarrassing” … then this hand reaches down to pull me up and it’s Hugh Jackman.

I’m also a massive fangirl, big time – I wrote One Direction fanfic, I had their faces all over my walls. So being in the same industry as some of these people now, anytime I do anything at the Arias or Aactas or Logies it’s just embarrassing. I’m like, “Oh my God, I love you so much – shit I’m so sorry I forgot, I’m one of you now so I have to act professional.”

At the Logies this year I met Chilli from Bluey – my favourite TV show. I was doing the Glambot and I heard Chilli’s voice. I was looking around for who the voice belonged to and then I met her! Biggest fan.

What is your least favourite bird, and why?

I don’t have a least favourite bird. But my favourite bird is a pigeon; they’re so under-appreciated. Do you know the history of them? Pigeons were initially bred to be pets and companion birds – like mankind’s best friend. And then we just abandoned them, and now they loiter on the street. Have you seen a pigeon’s nest? They’re pathetic. They don’t know how to make nests because they’re domesticated animals. It’s actually really sad. People hate them but it’s our fault – we did this to them.

What are you secretly really good at?

I can immediately tell by someone’s face if they’re Irish, Australian or American. I’ll be walking down the street and be like, “That guy’s Irish.” Then they speak and they’ll be Irish. I’m Irish and my dad’s Irish so maybe it’s Irish telepathic communication.

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Can you describe your high school experience in three words?

Really not good.

If you had to go back to high school, what is one thing you would do differently?

I was home schooled from year 8 because of how shit my high school experience was. I was diagnosed as autistic and then my parents were told to pull me out of school. They were like: she can’t survive, this education system is not built for her, you’ll lose her if you keep her there.

So I wish that I could go back and be able to sit down with my teachers and say: this is who I am. And you need to be able to look after me. You need to be able to look after all the people that have different minds, because it’s not going to be just me. There’s going to be multiple kids in a class that are struggling quietly, you’re not going to know about it because they’re too scared to tell you.

I wish I had the knowledge that I have now to be able to go back and change what happened.

  • Chloé Hayden stars in Heartbreak High, both seasons of which streaming on Netflix globally