Hayden Panettiere Is on the #Frontlines of Ukraine’s Protests

Hayden Panettiere, the star of ABC’s Nashville, has often complained about being portrayed too often as “the popular cheerleader type or just the blonde.” But Panettiere has a new role, and this time around she can’t be accused of being a lightweight. The diminutive actress has taken up with Ukrainian opposition activists, and this weekend, ...

@haydenpanettier
@haydenpanettier
@haydenpanettier

Hayden Panettiere, the star of ABC’s Nashville, has often complained about being portrayed too often as “the popular cheerleader type or just the blonde.” But Panettiere has a new role, and this time around she can't be accused of being a lightweight. The diminutive actress has taken up with Ukrainian opposition activists, and this weekend, she addressed demonstrators from a stage in the middle of Kiev’s Independence Square, voicing her support for the country’s “right to a democracy” and expressing admiration for the “undeniably deep souls of the Ukrainian people.”

“There’s a movement happening here, and you have a chance to make things right, to make things just. You have a right to a democracy,” Panettiere, who currently plays an up-and-coming country music singer Nashville, told protesters in Kiev over the weekend.

So what in the world is Panettiere doing on the frontlines of Ukraine's protests?

Hayden Panettiere, the star of ABC’s Nashville, has often complained about being portrayed too often as “the popular cheerleader type or just the blonde.” But Panettiere has a new role, and this time around she can’t be accused of being a lightweight. The diminutive actress has taken up with Ukrainian opposition activists, and this weekend, she addressed demonstrators from a stage in the middle of Kiev’s Independence Square, voicing her support for the country’s “right to a democracy” and expressing admiration for the “undeniably deep souls of the Ukrainian people.”

“There’s a movement happening here, and you have a chance to make things right, to make things just. You have a right to a democracy,” Panettiere, who currently plays an up-and-coming country music singer Nashville, told protesters in Kiev over the weekend.

So what in the world is Panettiere doing on the frontlines of Ukraine’s protests?

Panettiere was in Kiev with her fiancé, boxer Wladimir Klitschko, the brother of Vitali Klitschko, who is also a boxer and has emerged as the leader of the Ukrainian opposition. Entertainment news coverage has been swept up in excitement over the pair’s upcoming wedding but has made little mention of her fiancé’s ties to the upheaval seizing Ukraine. In a recent interview on Ellen Degeneres, Hayden Panettiere came armed with an arsenal of cute anecdotes, ranging from the couple’s stark height difference to her first meeting with Wladimir (apparently, his pick-up line was “You’re tiny”), to the adorable cultural disconnect that their wedding plans have revealed. “Why not? It’s dress!” Klitschko responded when Panettiere told him he wouldn’t be able to see her in her wedding dress before the ceremony.

But her obligation to the Ukrainian people has called, and Panettiere has bigger fish to fry now. Her Twitter account has accordingly taken a serious turn (sort of):

 

 

But she still finds her fiancé "amazing":

As for the Ukrainian protesters that took down the Lenin statue on Sunday, we are still waiting and hoping for a photo that shows a sledgehammer-wielding Hayden Panettiere at the center of it all.

Katelyn Fossett is an editorial researcher at Foreign Policy. A native of Kentucky, she has previously written for the Inter Press Service and Washington Monthly. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University. Twitter: @KatelynFossett

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