Courtesy of the fine folks at NBC, the Fall 2006 television season introduced us to how important it was to ‘save the cheerleader’. The Peacock network introduced its ground-breaking science fiction show, “Heroes”, and its invincible cheerleader, Claire Bennett, played the adorable teen actress Hayden Panettiere, who was quickly developing into a gorgeous young woman.
Before the show went in strange directions and eroded its fan base in later seasons, “Heroes” was an enormously popular show that took the superhero concept in a completely different direction. It had a vast array of ‘ordinary’ people with a widely varied array of powers that they are discovering and learning how to control. Hayden portrayed a cheerleader with incredible recuperative powers; the kind that would give Wolverine a run for his money. It gave rise to the phrase “save the cheerleader, save the world”, though I confess to not having watched the show enough to know what that meant.
Before she became a big star on NBC, Hayden was an enormously successful child actress who got her start as Sarah ‘Flash’ Roberts on the daytime soap opera “One Life to Live” and later as Lizzie Spaulding on “Guiding Light”. She was also the voice of Dot in the animated hit “A Bug’s Life”. However, Hayden’s first major exposure to audiences was in the 2000 Denzel Washington football film “Remember the Titans”. She plays the opinionated and spunky Sheryl Yoast, the young daughter (and self-assumed ‘honorary’ coach) of T.C. Williams High School head coach Bill Yoast (Will Patton), who is having to adjust to sharing head coaching duties with Herman Boone (Washington) as the school and football team are integrated.
After that initial start, Hayden had a few forgettable acting jobs in films like “Bring It On: All or Nothing” and “Raising Helen”. She also starred in family-friendly fare like “Racing Stripes” and “Tiger Cruise”. She still managed to craft some memorable performances as the boys’ wayward babysitter in “Malcolm in the Middle” and as the lead character’s unknown daughter (by way of being an egg donor) in “Ally McBeal”.
In addition to her acting career, Hayden, the daughter of a former soap opera actress and a fire department captain, has also worked on a music career and is active in modeling as the cover girl for Neutrogena and Candie’s. She is also very active in environmental causes, regularly protesting dolphin hunts and the practice of whaling.
Most recently, Hayden scored again with the ABC country music drama “Nashville” where she stars as Juliette Barnes, a rising young country star who is trying to replace Rayna James (played by her “…Titans” mother, Connie Britton) as the queen of country. It has been a big success, so far, and has even garnered Hayden a Golden Globe nomination.
It is no secret that Hayden is a big fan of tattoos, as she proudly shows them off (including the misspelled one) in all of her outfits. The first ink piece that Hayden had was a tiny little Leo symbol (her birth sign) on the outside of her right heel.
It was Hayden’s second tattoo that raised a lot of eyebrows and even stirred a little controversy. Running down the left side of her back was supposed to be the Italian phrase ‘Vivere Senze Rimpianti’, which means ‘to live without regrets’. Alas, neither Hayden, nor her tattoo artist, did any proofreading. So, the word ‘rimpianti’ got permanently etched on her as ‘rimipianti’ (there is an extra ‘i’ after the ‘m’). Hayden has taken a good humor about the mistake and says she may correct it one day but, regardless, she loves the design.
And, as always, you can follow her on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/haydenpanettier