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February 10, 2014

Kirsten Stewart: Girl on the Edge

Now that she's proved she 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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Kristen Stewart has pulped me. A fine dusting of shredded carrot coats my shirt and jacket lapels, orangey flecks up and down my chest. She is gazing down at the Gelson's supermarket–bought juicer, in mouth-slightly-parted befuddlement familiar to anyone who ever saw Bella Swan dumbstruck by Edward Cullen informing her that, say, he is actually 108 years old. "Oh, my God, I'm so sorry, dude."

Back in the living room, where a Bugs Bunny cartoon DVD plays on mute, she lights a Camel filter, slides open the glass doors beyond which her dogs, Cole, Bernie, and Bear, are whimpering and scratching, and then comes back, exhales, and sits, twitching her feet in a vain attempt to burn off excess energy. She has powered a multibillion-dollar movie franchise and will power as many more as she chooses. It unspools from her—manic, kinetic, romantic energy, an intense desire and will to do more and act more and write more. This is how she lives, exploring who she is at any given moment by making herself feel unsafe. The choices she makes, the projects she takes on, are based on what frightens her. "Dude, I have no idea what I'm doing, and that's kind of how I love it," Stewart says. "I had no idea Twilight was going to be huge. Certain movies I've done I thought were going to be amazing did nothing. So it's fun not having so much control. It's kind of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants lifestyle—it's fun, but it's scary as fuck. If it's not scary, it's usually—you kind of have to step back and go, 'You're probably making this decision because it's right on paper.' But unless you get that irking fear, it's not right."

She's perched on a sofa draped in a Navajo blanket in front of a cedar trunk–cum–coffee table in her tiled living room with dazzling views of Los Angeles. The sky is overcast with dark clouds looming over the urban sprawl such that if you had to pick one movie setting this most closely resembles, it would be Twilight's Forks, Washington. She's dressed more like a skater character from an Avril Lavigne video than one of the highest-paid actresses in the world (reportedly earning $22 million in the year ending June 2013)—blue Vans, hoodie, white T-shirt, khakis, dog tag necklace, horn-rimmed glasses, baseball cap emblazoned with "Mercenaries." After moving out of the Los Feliz house she shared with Robert Pattinson in 2012, she looked at four houses before deciding on this one in a gated enclave, which doesn't feel lived in so much as inhabited. There's mission-style furniture, TV still not hooked up to cable, bookcases crammed with books—Steinbeck (her favorite author, though her favorite book is On the Road), McCarthy, Plath—and a small sculpture that reads "Fuck." It's a 23-year-old's crash pad, with the appropriate air of being done just enough to feel comfortable. It's not a style statement; she's just passing through: "I don't really feel like I need to be stuck to a place, necessarily."


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