Riding Shotgun With Kristen Stewart
NYLON|SEPTEMBER 2015
Dogged by the paparazzi - and a fickle fan base - for much of her career, Kristen Stewart has emerged on the other side, as badass as ever.
Margaret Wappler

What’s it like being with Kristen Stewart in public? Imagine walking around with a jaguar that everyone wants to stare at and pet, even though they know they’re supposed to be cool  even when a big, rare cat is all up in their coffee spot. Problem is, no one can be totally chill around the actress. Not even Stewart herself.

Excruciatingly aware of her fame, Stewart the Global Movie Star orders an almond milk latte at her favorite Echo Park café in a manner best described as awkward-charm offense. She chats with the barista about the café’s latest expansion, yadda yadda yadda, while nervously raking her hands through her choppy bob. Stewart’s chatter isn’t the most natural thing in the world, but its tacit message is clear: See, I’m a nice, regular person. Tell all your friends!

Walking through the outside patio is hardly better. Anyone who isn’t buried in her laptop recognizes That Girl From Twilight. A few whisper or drink her in greedily before looking away, but it hardly matters. The charge is in the air. Stewart’s body is tense, her eyes cast down until she flops into a seat in the most remote corner, an amused, near-exasperated expression on her face.

“I really wish I could not be fucking recognizable,” she says in a low voice. “It’s so annoying. I fucking hate people looking at me when all I want to do is look back at them.”

Stewart swears exuberantly and often, fueled by something closer to joy than aggression, in a way that acknowledges the fizzing Roman candle that is life. She’s also direct in what she says, sometimes blunt, but it never feels mean, even when she says, “That’s not something I would ever talk to the fucking public about—that’s crazy,” regarding whether she’s still in contact with her ex-boyfriend/Twilight franchise co-star Robert Pattinson. Instead, she comes across as honest—bridge-burningly, disarmingly honest—which is why her friends, fans, and the tabloids love her.

Her uncompromising sense of authenticity is also why Stewart is repeatedly cast in roles that require her to say what others can’t or won’t say (see: the sensitive daughter who won’t promise college to her dying mother in Still Alice, or the assistant who calls out the snobbery of her charge, Juliette Binoche’s grand dame of the theater, in Clouds of Sils Maria). She’ll occupy another such role in Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, out next year, as the titular character’s sister who opposes the Iraq War: “He comes back a changed person and she doesn’t recognize her brother. I’m the one thing trying to keep him home, the one clear perspective on the other side in the whole movie.”

In American Ultra, out now, her character is less contrarian, but just as emotionally explicit. “I’m always fucking terrified before every role,” she says. “Even if it’s fun and stupid or whatever. American Ultra is a stoner comedy, but it was physically strenuous, and to try and tell such an absurd story but keep it grounded so people will believe it is really hard.”

Riley Keough, who first met Stewart when they were in The Runaways together, breaks down Stewart’s fiery allure this way: “She just doesn’t give a fuck. She courageously exposes herself because she loves the art. And I think she understands what comes along with that. There’s not one part of that girl that’s caught up in Hollywood or cares about the opinions of others or whatever else, and I’ve probably met three people like that in my life.”

Stewart’s not about to let fame turn her into a weirdo who can’t connect anymore, who only speaks in PR-approved statements— especially when it comes to her sexuality and relationships. But what Stewart, now 25, will share and won’t share is a fascinating algorithm she’s honed over time. She refuses to offer up her life for tabloid sport, but she’s also not afraid to be raw and open.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM NYLONView All

From Bedroom Blogger To Media Mogul

From bedroom blogger to media mogul, Michelle Phan is not only on fleek - girl is on fire. 

10+ mins read
NYLON
February 2016

Sound Check With DJ Mia Moretti

Mia Moretti is making noise on the path to legendary DJ stardom.

3 mins read
NYLON
February 2016

Keke Palmer Is Hitting All Of The Right Notes

With a groundbreaking role in Grease: Live as the latest addition to an ever-growing resume, Keke Palmer is striking all the right notes.

3 mins read
NYLON
February 2016

Fandom Is Forever, But Today It's A Whole New Game

Fandom is forever, but today it's a whole new game.

9 mins read
NYLON
February 2016

With A Hit Show & Killer Voice, Serayah Is Building An Empire

With a hit TV show, a killer voice, and membership in Taylor Swift's squad, Serayah is absolutely unstoppable. 

3 mins read
NYLON
March 2016

Nicki Minaj - Hustle & Glow

Sitting pretty on the double-platinum success of The Pinkprint, rap queen Nicki Minaj is now giving acting and executive producing a whirl.  

10+ mins read
NYLON
April 2016

Elijah Wood Has His Eyes On The Prize

Actor-producer-DJ Elijah Wood may be on of the busiest guys in Hollywood, but he always has time to stop and listen to the music. 

4 mins read
NYLON
April 2016

Sophie Turner Has the X Factor

Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner gets her superhero on.

4 mins read
NYLON
May 2016

Girl On the Rise - Bille Lourd

She's crazy-funny, crushing it in some very cool roles, and happens to be Princess Leia's daughter-can she be our best friend?

4 mins read
NYLON
May 2016

Boarding House

Dani Stahl Takes a Tour of the Wintry World of Burton.

3 mins read
NYLON
November 2016
RELATED STORIES

COBRA KAI:SETTLING THE SCORE

HOW LEO BIRENBERG AND ZACH ROBINSON — COMPOSERS ON NETFLIX’S BLOCKBUSTER SERIES, COBRA KAI — CRAFT THE PERFECT (NOT TO MENTION BADASS!) EIGHTIES-STYLE SCORE

10+ mins read
Guitar World
March 2022

WHY SOBER DEMI WENT TO REHAB!

Lovato showed off a shaved head for the new year

1 min read
National Enquirer
January 31, 2022

RYAN'S EXTREME DIET

Broth diets promote weight-loss and can improve gut health.

1 min read
Star
January 24, 2022

Goodbye to Hollywood!

GEORGE CLOONEY’S ACTING DAYS ARE COMING TO A SWEET AND SATISFYING CLOSE AS THE STAR SHIFTS HIS FOCUS TO HIS FAMILY.

3 mins read
Star
January 24, 2022

FAREWELL BETTY!

Thank You for Being a Friend

1 min read
Star
January 24, 2022

BARACK'S TOO BIG FOR HIS BRITCHES!

Michelle livid as hubby goes Hollywood

2 mins read
Globe
January 24, 2022

Betty White (1922-2021)

She's forever TV'S golden girl. Betty White's life story mirrors the history of the medium she loved best, and which loved her right back-along with legions of fans who still delight in watching her side-splitting work on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls.

2 mins read
TV Guide Magazine
January 17 - 30, 2022

DAYS: ALLIE COMFORTS CHANEL

late-breaking news

2 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
January 17, 2022

BRAD'S B.O. IS THE PITS!

Hunk letting himself go after losing to Angelina

1 min read
Globe
January 10, 2022

MR.AUTHENTICITY

TRUE WEST’S FIREARMS EDITOR PHIL SPANGENBERGER HAS SPENT DECADES GUN COACHING MANY OF HOLLYWOOD’S TOP ACTORS, WHILE ADDING AUTHENTICITY TO FILMS, WHEREVER HE COULD. HERE ARE HIS RECOLLECTIONS OF A COLORFUL CAREER IN MOVIES AND TV.

9 mins read
True West
January 2022