Everything about this story is so L.A. For starters, at this very moment, Sarah Hyland is working on her “gratitudes.” We’re even having dinner at Café Gratitude, a plant-based restaurant with unironically named menu items like Thriving (broccoli soup) and Pure (Asian kale and seaweed salad).
Sarah orders both, then finishes a story about her energy healer, who, technically, is Lucy Hale’s energy healer, who Sarah started seeing last summer to rebalance her vibrational levels. At this expert’s direction, Sarah now wakes up each morning and says things like “I put myself first” and “I’m grateful to have two legs to walk on” to any vibes listening.
She knows that what she says next (and also that thing she literally just said) (and also what she just ordered) might make you think she’s “crazy-hippie-dippie,” buuut the energy healer told her that her sacral chakra is broken, so she sort of has to put her focus here.
“‘Your heart chakra, I’ve never seen so many barriers and chains around it,’” quotes Sarah. “‘Your self-love is so depleted. Your energy could be so much higher than it is right now.’”
There’s also this: As of April 8, Sarah Hyland is officially An Out-of-Work Actor. For more than a decade, she played Haley Dunphy, the wry, spacey elder daughter of Phil and Claire, on one of TV’s biggest sitcoms. It was the rare network show that became part of the zeitgeist—everyone you know has watched Modern Family at some point—making the fact that it’s over kind of a huge fucking deal.
Sarah’s not freaking out about it. Maybe because she’s kind of in denial. (“I don’t think I’m processing,” she says. “I haven’t really felt the sadness yet.”) Or maybe because complex feels tend not to bubble to the surface in this industry literally built on first impressions. Maybe there’s too much judgy-ness in the air to make it safe to open up to a stranger with a voice recorder. Maybe it’s just too sunny.
Or maybe it’s because Sarah’s character didn’t get the ending she deserved. Watch the final season, you’ll see: Haley suddenly has less screen time. It all came as a surprise and disappointment, tbh. Sarah wishes audiences could’ve seen Haley “own her badassery in the fashion world—becoming a badass stylist or brand mogul or anything like that.”
Instead, they got a new mom of twins. No offense to moms, of course: “There are so many amazing mothers who are also hard workers and excel at their jobs and kill it every day in both aspects,” Sarah explains. “That would have been a really cool thing to see, especially from someone like Haley.”
Listen, behind-the-scenes tension between cast and crew is as Hollywood as Lucy Hale’s energy healer, but Sarah’s not one to dwell on what might have been. She wasn’t a writer or producer on the show, she tells me about three times with a matter-of-fact tone, a shrug, and a bite of salad.
She’s also not really prone to the between-gigs anxiety that plagues her peers. This is just the way it is, you know? “The thing as an actor,” she says, “is it’s like, Will I have a job tomorrow? With Modern Family ending, it’s like, Oh, great. I’m never going to work again. I’m going to have to sell everything and live out of a shoebox.”