Lennon and Maisy Stella stole the hearts of YouTubers in 2012 with their cover of Robyn & Erato’s “Call your Girlfriend,” and a few months later, they took Hollywood by storm on ABC’s hit TV show “Nashville.” In addition to continuing their singing and acting careers, these sisters recently released a book, In the Waves, based on a song they cooked up when they were just 9 and 5 years old. When they are not creating musical harmony that surpasses their ages (now 15 and 11), this duo finishes each other’s sentences, dances, practices photography and enjoys Mexican, Italian–and sometimes Southern–food. The Stella girls can always find a way to have a good time. Today, we welcome Lennon and Maisy as our FACES of the South.
Where did you grow up, and do you have other siblings?
Lennon: We grew up outside of Toronto.
Maisy: It is only me and Lennon, but we wish we had more–but that clearly is not going to happen! Mom is one of eight kids, so we have tons of cousins. There are so many I only know half of them.
L: It was basically like growing up with siblings, but they all still live in Canada. We are the only ones who have moved away.
What is your favorite memory about living there?
L: Okay, this is a weird thing, but we all lived in this mansion-type house–aunts and uncles, their kids, all of our family, everyone. In the mornings, my cousins and I would get up and we would play with those dolls, the ones with the big heads?
M: Cabbage Patch dolls!
L: Yes, Cabbage Patch dolls. We only lived there for a few months, but that is my fondest memory. It was just a big party all of the time.
M: I remember filming movies.
L: We would make them up and write them. One would be the director, and there were plenty of people to fill in as the cast!
How did you get the parts on “Nashville?” Was it the show that brought you to the city, or did you already live here when you were cast?
M: We lived in Nashville before filming. Our parents are musicians, so we all moved here in 2009. I went to the audition for the show and afterwards, they saw a video of me singing. I was singing with Lennon, and they liked it, so they called her.
L: I had never auditioned or ever thought about acting. Maisy was always a fan of acting, and I have always been more interested in the music. They called me in to try out, and I felt completely blindsided. I had been running lines with Maisy, so I had a grasp on the script, and when I tried out, I guess they saw some potential.
M: SOME potential? That is not true! There were millions of people trying out. They saw more than some potential!
L: (Laughs) It has been really fun and interesting. I am learning all the time.
What is your favorite part about being on the TV show?
L: My favorite part is being with the cast and the crew. I learn so much from them as people and actors. It is an amazing group of people we can spend our days with.
M: They have all the candy in the world. That has to be my favorite part!
What is your favorite thing to do in Music City?
L: When we first moved to Nashville, our favorite thing in the world was The Frist. It is this really neat museum downtown. All the kids can go upstairs for free, and it is the most creative space–arts, painting and different types of creative fun.
M: Actually, I just went there the other day. We love it!
L: Nashville always has fun stuff. I love going to shows and concerts. Even hidden shows at The Basement and those types of places.
Do you have a favorite restaurant in Nashville?
L: Taco Mamacita
M: I knew she was going to say that!
L: If I was stranded on a desert, all I would need is queso.
M: She would be on the desert like, “I NEED MY QUESO!”
L: Yes, I could literally drink it.
M: I don’t like Mexican as much. My favorite restaurant is Buca di Beppo–it is Italian.
Do you have any favorite Southern foods?
L: I forced myself to like sweet tea. One of my friends loved it, so I just made myself drink it and finally started liking it.
M: It makes me sick! I like mashed potatoes and gravy.
L: Is that Southern?
M: Yes, of course that is Southern!
L: I like biscuits, but I do not like grits.
M: Yeah, grits are nasty!
What is your favorite part about living in the South?
L: There are very warmhearted people. They are welcoming and accepting, and it just feels very warm–especially in Nashville. Everyone is genuinely happy for you, and they all want to see you succeed. I also like when people talk reaaallllly slooooow (giving her best rendition of a Southern accent). I always try to say “y’all.”
M: She always ruins it by saying “Did I do it? How did it sound?”
You recently co-wrote a book and children’s song. Where did you get the inspiration for this?
L: When I was about 9 …
M: Yeah, I think you were 9.
L: We were in the bathtub just singing together, naked …
M: That is what you do in the bathtub …
L: We wrote the chorus, and we just had fun with it; it was always just fun. We never thought in a million years it would be our new single. For years, we would just keep singing it in our head.
M: It was just always there.
L: It always stuck, but we never recorded it. Then HarperCollins reached out to us about writing a book. We took the chorus and, with the help of our mom and Carlyn Dawn Johnson, we wrote the story. The lyrics to the song are the words to the book.
Are you similar to your characters on “Nashville?” And if so, how?
L: I would say I am pretty different than Maddie–I would think. There is similarity in the musical side … we are both driven and excited. I can relate to wanting to do all things musical.
M: I feel like we are pretty similar, minus the clothes, such as the dinosaur shirts and the shoes.
L: The clothes are just younger than you are. You wear more fun stuff.
StyleBlueprint: If you could have one person’s wardrobe whose would it be?
L: I would like to have the entire closet of Free People. I would not mind that at all!
M: Sabrina Carpenter!
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
L: I am really into photography. I love taking pictures and editing them.
M: I take dance and tumble lessons. I love to dance. I guess I haven’t been doing that since I broke my foot (she broke her foot on a trampoline).
L: I guess another thing I never say in interviews is that on the back of my right leg, I have a burn from when I was 6 weeks old. It’s not that noticeable and is something that no one really knows.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given, and who gave it to you?
L: Hayden [Panettiere, who plays singer Juliette Barnes on “Nashville”] always told me to be true to yourself. When we first got on the show, we were still in public school, and it was a little tough in the beginning. We were at a new school and we were on this TV show and the kids started to be mean. Hayden started acting young, and she told us you just have to be yourself and not listen to them. She told us if this is something we want to do, we just have to go for it. She is definitely the nurturing one of the bunch.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
M: I knew it!
L: I studied the Egyptian culture and have been so fascinated with it ever since. I don’t even like history as a subject, but I love Egypt.
M: I want to go to Uganda. We sponsored a little girl who lives in Uganda. She didn’t have enough money to go to school, so we helped pay for her schooling, and we would always send letters back and forth. I would love to go there and hopefully see her!
Name three things you can’t live without, excluding faith, family and friends.
M: In her mind, Lennon is like “queso, queso, queso.”
L: My guitar, a lot of love–with our family it is so important to have love and be there for each other–and a really cute outfit.
M: Other than my friends and Lennon and my parents, my voice and piano, clothes and food.
What books are you currently reading?
M: I am reading the Pretty Little Liars series. I am not far in, but they are really good. Lennon has read like one book in her life.
L: I don’t like reading school books, but I am up for reading things that will teach me life lessons.
Other than playing music, what do you like to do in your free time?
L: I hang out with my friends, shop, take pictures, eat queso. We aren’t doing things that are exotic and exciting all the time; it is just fun to sit back–even waiting in line for a big concert. It is all grounding.
M: My best friend and I are both dancers, so I love to go over to her house and we make up routines. Also, can candy be a hobby?
What is your guilty pleasure?
L: I love “Gossip Girl.” I watched the whole series on Netflix and love it.
M: Well, if we are talking about TV, the “Pretty Little Liars” season six premiere is tonight and I am so excited!
L: We also both love makeup.
What three words would you use to describe each other?
L: Beautiful, stunning (laughs) … wait, let me think about it. Sweet–sweet is a good one. Very sensitive to everyone around her, very energetic and always going. She never shuts off.
M: Angelic–that is a good word … talented and beautiful.
L: Thank you!
M: Yeah, I nailed that one.
Do you have any weird fears?
L: I am not a fan of spiders, or heights, but those aren’t very weird. I do always have this fear that when I am driving a bag from the car in front of us will fly out and hit the windshield.
M: Ladybugs. I just do not like them. They are so small and they fly but they also walk. They shouldn’t be able to do both.
If you could have any career (outside of singing/acting) you wanted as an adult, what would it be?
L: I always dreamed of being a teacher for elementary or middle school.
M: What is the one that works with animals? A veterinarian! I am obsessed with my dog and would love to do that.
If you could meet one celebrity, who would you choose?
L: John Lennon. If he came back from the dead, I would be right there for him.
M: Justin Bieber! (When chatting about favorite magazines, Maisy told me she will read anything with Harry Styles on the cover.)
L: She likes all the current guys. I like all the old guys like John Lennon, Johnny Depp and Steven Tyler.
An extra thanks for Lennon and Maisy for taking the time to chat with StyleBlueprint! Be sure to catch up on “Nashville,” which returns to ABC in September for a fourth season. And check out their new book, In the Waves, available in stores and online.