Meet Hilde Lysiak, the 13-Year-Old Journalist Who Inspired Apple TV+’s Home Before Dark

New to Apple TV+, Home Before Dark tells the story of the inquisitive 9-year-old daughter of a journalist. The TV series, based on the life of Hilde Lysiak, chronicles a precocious news prodigy as she moves to a new town and reports on a murder.

Right now, the real-life Lysiak is reporting on local businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in her Arizona hometown. The now-13-year-old is founder of Orange Street News, which publishes under the screed: “HAVE NO WHERE ELSE TO TURN? NO STORY TOO BIG OR SMALL THE OSN WILL INVESTIGATE!”

Lysiak is also halfway through watching the first season of Home Before Dark. (A second season is on the way.) She paused to take a few questions from PEOPLE.

What was it like when you watched the first episode?
It’s the weirdest thing. I knew it was going to happen. But it’s way different. It felt like a dream. But when I realized it was real, I was able to admire what a good job everyone did. Brooklynn [Prince, who plays Hilde] is so amazing. She’s one of the most talented actresses ever.

In the first episode, Hilde talks about learning to notice things. Where did you learn to do that?
I used to follow my dad around a lot when he reported for the New York Daily News. I kind of realized from a young age that I loved reporting, and picking up things is important. And noticing. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have that instinct. I picked it up really young.

When you started Orange Street News, people would tell you that you should be playing with dolls.
Truthfully, the criticism didn’t bother me that much. But I have younger sisters and I didn’t want them to see me being pushed around. So I made a video reading the comments. It was an amazing opportunity for me that most people don’t get. I wanted to show my main thing, to show a love of journalism. I want it to be cool.

People around you underestimated young people.
I was pretty little, like 8 or 9. I used being younger and people not taking me seriously to my advantage. People would tell me stuff because they thought it wasn’t going anywhere.

What do you do when you’re not reporting the news?
I look into conspiracy theories and stuff. I don’t believe them, but the most recent one I was looking into is the moon landing one. I go on a lot of bike rides. I like listening to Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, TLC, and Taylor Swift. I go to a lot of her concerts. I do normal kid stuff — except I like reporting the truth.

All 10 episodes of Home Before Dark are now available for streaming on Apple TV+.

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