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February 10, 2014

Girl on the Edge

Now that she’s proved can anchor a multibillion-dollar movie franchise, Kristen Stewart—actress, poet, seasoned road-tripper, and the valley’s coolest rebel—is more than ready to take some serious chances.

kristen stewart cover

Photo Credit: Tesh

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Camp X-Ray director Peter Sattler was impressed Stewart took on the film. "This is a minimalist role, a very internal performance," he says. "Everything was living and dying on her face—it was a game of inches, not yards. What she responded to was choosing a role unlike anything she's done before. She needs to find new territory, she needs to be hanging off a ledge. It takes a lot of courage to say, 'I don't care what people expect of me or what they think about me doing this role.' It's about how she wants to define herself, not how other people want to define her. She wants to grow, that's what she's about right now. She is incredibly creative —she totally needs to direct a movie, write a book, and start a band." Juliette Binoche, Stewart's costar in the drama Sils Maria (scheduled for a 2014 release), calls her "a soul explorer. She knows she wants to take risks and doesn't always know where it is going to take her. She has genius, and that makes her shy sometimes. Acting is about fire, and Kristen has a lot in her. Her need to know and explore is as high as her passion. She likes to be in dangerous places and see if she can survive."

Stewart laments that she doesn't come across many projects that "really get me going," part of the reason she didn't work for most of 2013. Instead, she took road trips with her friends to New Orleans and Nashville, worked on her poetry and played guitar, and reconnected with the posse of Valley girls she used to hang with at the AMC Promenade in Woodland Hills, California, back in middle school. She is fiercely proud of her Valley upbringing, still representing the 818, the area code for kids who view Los Angeles' tonier Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Westside neighborhoods as another world. Her tight-knit family, which includes three brothers and industry parents (father John Stewart is a stage manager; mother Jules Mann Stewart is a script supervisor), is still from that "other America," as she considers the Valley, "riding bikes on flat streets and it's hot as fuck and the air sucks." And that's what drives her, she says. "The Westside and stuff kind of looks down on it a little bit, like, culturally. I think the smart kids from the Valley have a little extra hustle, because people get stuck there, even though I love it and it's a great place to raise a family."

Her breakup with Pattinson in 2012 may also have instigated her year of partial exile. During long road trips—at one point she helped a girlfriend resettle in New Orleans—she ruminated over life and how perhaps the biggest mistake you can make is to try to control your own heart. "You don't know who you will fall in love with. You just don't. You don't control it. Some people have certain things, like, 'That's what I'm going for,' and I have a subjective version of that. I don't pressure myself … If you fall in love with someone, you want to own them—but really, why would you want that? You want them to be what you love. I'm much too young to even have an answer for that question." Stewart does acknowledge a desire to someday have children (and believes in adoption) and re-create the happy childhood she had. "I had it too good to not have that, too. If I were to put money on it, definitely, yeah. But you earn that, like, that's so not here yet." She laughs. "I mean, at this point, I can't tell you if I want to hang out on Saturday."


Credits: Top, $1,800, Skirt, $2,000, Giambattista Valli; Hand Bracelet, price upon request, Ana Khouri.


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