Since she rose to superstardom thanks to her titular role in the wildly popular Twilight film series, Kristen Stewart’s life on and off-screen has been under a microscope.
The 30-year-old’s romance with co-star Robert Pattinson only heightened public interest in her personal life, which hit fever pitch when they called time on their four-year relationship in 2013.
Kristen then coupled up with visual effects producer Alicia Cargile, marking her first public relationship with a woman. She went on to date model Stella Maxwell and is currently loved up with screenwriter Dylan Meyer.
In a 2017 interview with The Guardian, Kristen said she identified as bisexual, saying, “You're not confused if you're bisexual. It's not confusing at all. For me, it's quite the opposite.”
Now, she’s opening up about queer representation in Hollywood and how she went from being ‘hounded’ to ‘relishing’ her life in the spotlight in a chat with the director of her new film, Happiest Season, for InStyle.
In the film, Kristen plays a gay character named Abby who goes home with her girlfriend for Christmas — but Abby’s girlfriend has yet to come out to her family.
Although this isn’t her first queer role, she tells director Clea DuVall that she was drawn to the script because of her own personal experiences.
“I’ve been on both sides of that dynamic where someone is having a hard time acknowledging who they are and the other person is more self-accepting,” Kristen said.
“The first time I ever dated a girl, I was immediately being asked if I was a lesbian. And it's like, ‘God, I'm 21 years old,’” she reflected.
It made her want to keep her private life private, which she admits made her come off as a bit ‘cagey’.
“Even in my previous relationships, which were straight, we did everything we could to not be photographed doing things — things that would become not ours,” Kristen continued.
“So I think the added pressure of representing a group of people, of representing queerness, wasn’t something I understood then. Only now can I see it.”
When asked by Clea if she feels pressure to be a spokesperson for the LGBTQ+ community, Kristen’s response was refreshingly honest.
“I did more when I was younger, when I was being hounded about labeling myself,” she replied. “I had no reticence about displaying who I was. I was going out every day knowing I'd be photographed while I was being affectionate with my girlfriend, but I didn’t want to talk about it.”
Kristen revealed that she’s since embraced her power as a queer public figure to inspire others.
“Now I relish it. I love the idea that anything I do with ease rubs off on somebody who is struggling. That s***’s dope! When I see a little kid clearly feeling themselves in a way that they wouldn't have when I grew up, it makes me skip.”
She went on to reveal that she’s recently quit drinking and smoking after going a little too hard at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. With regards to the Black Lives Matter movement, Kristen has quietly been donating money and supporting people who have been ‘advocating for years’.
As for the upcoming US election, she simply said, “People need to vote.”
Additional reporting by Taryn Ryder.