Jetsetting With Actress Megan Hayes
Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Megan Hayes discovered her love for acting during high school. She went on to graduate with honors in acting from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and start a company for emerging artists called Southern Belle Productions. While performing in countless theater projects, Megan was cast in HBO’s “Eastbound & Down,” the film “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” and the IFC thriller “+1,” as well as in commercials and guest spots. Her big break, however, came when she was cast as the “District 6 Tribute Girl” (also known as the “Morphling”) in the second film in “The Hunger Games” trilogy, “Catching Fire.” Filming for the movie took place in both Atlanta and Hawaii, and Megan recently decided to relocate to Los Angeles to take the next step in her career.
Q: What type of traveler are you and why? (ie: adventurer, cultural explorer, free spirit, rejuvenator, spa aficionado, etc.)
A: It depends on my mood and where I’m going. I’m a little of everything. I’m absolutely a free spirit. I love travelling alone. But this also works against me sometimes; just last month, I went hiking alone and got horribly lost in Topanga Canyon. I had to get helicoptered out by three gorgeous firemen. Wait … maybe traveling alone doesn’t work against me…. I love it all, from going to big cities and taking in all of the museums and restaurants to hiking and exploring the outdoors. I used to do more of that when I was younger.
I really want to go white water rafting sometime soon; I haven’t done that in years but I loved it. Then there are times when all I want to do is find a beautiful beach and spend the entire day going between sunbathing and swimming in the ocean. Don’t get me started on my love of body surfing. And who doesn’t love a spa? I mean, come on! Wherever I go I want to immerse myself completely.
Q: What types of activities do you like to do on your travels? Do you look for a place where it’s quiet and you can relax, or someplace that has great activities or nightlife?
A: What types of activities I do completely depends on what I want from a trip. I have spent an entire week lounging on the beach and going to the spa in St. Lucia, and I’ve also stayed up all night enjoying the nightlife in places such as Barcelona and Amsterdam. Barcelona was an extraordinary trip. The city is so vibrant. During the day, I would just walk along La Rambla or gaze at the incredible architecture of Gaudí, not to mention enjoy the sangria and tapas … yum!
Oh and then there was Amsterdam, with its romantic canals and quaint buildings. I biked everywhere, taking in the city’s beauty. It was filled with culture yet had a small town feel. The friendliness, the breathtaking art in the Van Gogh Museum, and the incredible history coupled with an exciting and vivacious nightlife with every kind of activity. Listening to live jazz and seeing an improv show were two of my favorite things to do there. I cried the day I had to leave.
Q: When thinking about where you will travel to next, what inspires you to make a decision? And what, if any, research do you do on that destination?
A: I’ll make a decision based on what my spirit craves. I do a ton of research, but then once I get to where I’m going, I leave it up to my mood and whims. I love knowing everything available for me to do when I travel and then being able to wake up and think, “Hmmm … I feel like doing this today.” And doing it.
Q: What is the most memorable trip you’ve taken and why?
A: Backpacking through the Highlands of Scotland was pretty spectacular. I was traveling alone, but I had met a group of rowdy Australians. They were so fun! The landscape of the Highlands is like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s just breathtaking. I loved Scotland in general, the people, the pubs, the history. Everything about it just felt like an adventure and home all in one.
Q: What is the “best” food find you’ve ever found on a trip?
A: Food is my through line for every trip. No matter what kind of adventure I’m on, I want some good grub. I always try to ask around about where to eat, and wherever I go I always ask the server his or her favorite thing on the menu. I went to this one hole-in-the-wall (love hole in the walls) restaurant in Budapest and had the most amazing stroganoff and goose. And the whole meal was, seriously, about $10. Lockhart Smokehouse in Dallas has the best brisket I’ve ever eaten. I felt naughty just watching them slice it up; it looked so delectable. Baja Tacos in Santa Fe has the best burrito of all time. Opal Thai in Haleiwa, Oahu, was amazing. The owner took our menus away and asked us what we liked, and the food just started coming out. And Frank Restaurant in New York City … the last time I was there I sat alone at the bar and ate whatever the bartender suggested; I didn’t even ask for a menu. And Gramercy Tavern is always unforgettable.
Q: What, if anything, do you always take with you when you travel?
A: My sound machine for sleeping, my journal, my bathing suit, and my sense of adventure.
Q: What’s your best piece of travel advice?
A: Have a plan of what you want to do, but be prepared to go with the flow. Plans can change on a dime, but I find the change is always more exciting and fun than the plan to begin with. And I always end up with a great story!
Q: Is there a destination where you can’t imagine not returning? Why?
A: I’d love to get back to Hawaii and explore Kauai. I loved everything about Oahu and can’t wait to get back to explore the other islands. Also, I was on a very strict diet for the majority of my trip there so, I’m not gonna lie, I’d like to get back there and eat my way through.
Q: Where are your favorite weekend getaways? Why?
A: Back east, Highlands, North Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. Highlands is such a lovely mountain town, quaint with culture. And it has a great coffee shop, Bucks Coffee. Savannah has everything I love about the South: beautiful architecture, wonderful food, a small town feel. Walking through one of the many squares with Spanish moss dripping from the trees is truly magical.
Now that I’m on the West Coast, I get away to Sedona and San Diego. And who knows? I’m taking suggestions! I’m hoping to make Santa Barbara, Ojai, San Francisco, Sonoma Valley, and Napa Valley my new weekend getaways. Help out the new girl in town; I cannot wait. Oh, and a good friend of mine just moved to Portland. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s about to get a visit….
Q: Where would you like to travel next?
Q: Tell us about your upcoming project(s)?
A: I’ll be appearing in the “Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” Check it out in theaters November 22. I’ve got my ticket. Do you?
Megan Hayes’ Bio:
Megan Hayes spent most of her youth either running around in her Wonder Woman Underoos or looking like a boy in a dress. At 15, she discovered an audience’s laughter is a euphoric drug when she appeared in her high school production of “The Pajama Game.” So, she decided to pursue a life of acting. After high school, Megan attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, wondering all the while, “What am I doing in the middle of Amish farmland?” After her freshman year at Kenyon, she transferred to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. There, she studied at the Experimental Theatre Wing. After graduating with honors in acting, Megan began writing and performing her own work. She started Southern Belle Productions, a company dedicated to giving a voice to emerging artists. SBP produced a short film, several One Acts, and Megan’s own full-length play, “Opelika,” which had two sold-out runs in NYC. Megan recently moved to Los Angeles from Atlanta and enjoys foot modeling, acting in all mediums, teaching drama, and hanging out with her two dogs, Sadie and Juliette.
Follow Megan on Twitter.