This is the story of Joel and Monica, a brother/sister music duo from Orlando, Florida, who got to meet Hailee Steinfeld in New York City, and play Escape The Room after impressing the singer/actress with their gorgeous cover of her latest single "Rock Bottom." And they just so happen to be two of Hailee's biggest fans.
How Hailee met her fans
iHeartRadio teamed up with YouNow, a live broadcasting platform that connects broadcasters with audiences in real time, for a contest to help bring Hailee and her fans together. The contest involved fans covering Hailee's song "Rock Bottom" LIVE in front of thousands of viewers watching -- including Hailee herself! No pressure. The winners, chosen by fans via a hashtag, would get to meet Hailee in New York City. But this isn't just an ordinary meet and greet. No. The winners would also get to play Escape The Room in NYC with her! (Can you think of anything better? We think not.)
Joel and Monica, who frequently broadcast on YouNow (every morning they tell us), performed an unbelievable acoustic cover of "Rock Bottom" -- it was only their voices and a guitar. During the performance, you could see Hailee clearly impressed on the other side of the split screen as she watched. In fact, Hailee tells us of the contest-winning cover:
"The fact that they, within such a short period of time, had the time to make their own version that was so different and unique than mine, was unreal. I wish it lasted the entire chat [broadcast], it was so great."
Joel and Monica tell iHeartRadio that they were very nervous to be performing in front of Hailee, and that they practiced her hit single until their fingers were shake-y from playing the guitar so much.
"It was really nerve-wracking. We were shaking throughout the day, because we got the e-mail in the morning, and for the next ten hours, we were like, 'Oh my god, we're gonna sing in front of Hailee!' So we sang it over and over again, and the very last practice, my [Monica's] fingers were shaking."
And when Joel and Monica found out they won the contest, their reaction was PRICELESS. The duo tells us, "We cried a lot. He [Joel] cried more. There was actually a Twitter poll: ‘Who cried more? Monica or Joel. It was Joel."
With the help of their older brother, who is a director, they put together a video showing their cover, and reaction to winning, and it will seriously make you feel ALL THE EMOTIONS. Really. Just TRY and watch this video without being attacked by feels.
So Joel, Monica, their older brother, and mother drove 18 HOURS from Florida to New York City to meet Hailee. They were so excited to meet the singer/actress, and also play an '80s-themed Escape The Room. Joel and Monica tell us:
"Just to sing with her the other day was more than amazing. But to get the chance to actually meet her, and ask her questions about her career, and how it was like being in Pitch Perfect 2 – we're just really excited."
Joel and Monica also explain what big fans they are of Hailee, and that they grew up watching her movies like True Grit, and obviously also saw Pitch Perfect 2 last year. But what makes them feel so connected to her is that they share a Filipino heritage. They tell us, "She's just awesome, especially because she’s part Filipino –- we're Filipino, so we feel connected to her."
Once at Escape The Room, as Hailee walked in the door, she went straight into the arms of Joel and Monica for a big hug. Then, after sharing a few words and selfies with Haiz, they were off to Escape The Room -- '80s style. And they had one hour to do it!
Hailee Plays Escape The Room with her fans
Getting right to work, Joel, Monica, their brother, and Hailee did everything from figure out '80s trivia questions, which lead them to other clues, to playing the game system Atari which unlocked boxes with keys to escape, to even playing the keyboard. The room appeared to be like your typical wood paneled '80s style basement with paraphernalia from the decade ranging from Star Wars, to Back to the Future memorabilia, to bean bag chairs, and more. Working together, the group escaped the '80s room with about 17 minutes to spare!
Afterwards, Hailee, Joel, and Monica explained to iHeartRadio what a fun time they had trying to Escape The Room together. And even though they had just met, Monica described it as "just like hanging out with a friend." Friends who can put their heads together to escape the '80s is more like it! Hailee tells us that she had always wanted to try Escape The Room, but never had before. She says:
"I've never done it. I’ve been wanting to do it for a while now. A lot of my friends have done it, and at first, I got the idea, like, 'Okay, you gotta escape the room, right?' But then we got in there, and I was like ‘what are we even supposed to start looking for?!'"
BEST. DAY. EVER. Totally on the right side of rock bottom. (see what we did there 😉)
Watch Hailee Steinfeld meet Joel and Monica & play Escape The Room!
Photos: Rachel Kaplan for iHeartRadio