Covering the magazine covers with Kristen Stewart

You know Kristen Stewart is my #1 girlcrush, so take the following with a grain of salt. I’m not exactly impartial.

The Twilight: Breaking Dawn part 1 press machine is ramping up and Stewart is on the cover of a couple magazines this month (last month she covered W in a pleasing, retro-sex kitten photoshoot). The first cover is for Glamour and it’s a pretty photoshoot with largely uninteresting fashion. I do like the lace booty shorts but overall I find the styling to be functional and uninspiring. Ditto for the interview that was conducted by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer. Of course, anyone looking to Glamour and Stephenie Meyer for an in-depth interview has a screw loose, so for what the magazine is, I find Stewart’s appearance to be par for the course. She does look very pretty and has some excellent hair-wind working in the photos.

The one I really want to discuss is her cover appearance for British GQ. All year (and really, going back much further, but this year marks the first real “push”), Stewart has been subtly adjusting her public persona. It’s no secret that she has struggled with her spotlight. Some people condemn her for this, others don’t care. I fall into the “don’t care” category. I don’t give a shit if a celebrity is exciting or boring or a good interview or a bad interview or a tart or a saint or fun or weepy. My particular interests in the industry lie in the business and marketing direction. What I care about affects those things. My criteria for judging a celebrity are things like “don’t lie in the press” and “don’t be a pill on set” and “be a good worker for your product”. Kristen Stewart might struggle with her fame, but she is never a pill on set, she doesn’t lie in the press and she is a good worker for her product—at this point we know this isn’t easy for her yet she keeps her chin up and keeps going. That’s enough for me.

That said, there’s a clear and concerted effort to mature and soften her image going on right now. It’s a good call on her management team’s part. I like how Stewart (and by extension her team), are managing this growth process. They’ve been building toward this for years and are now positioned to introduce Kristen Stewart 2.0: the grown-up, adult KStew. Stewart was 18 when she was introduced to the world stage. She’s 21 now and Twilight is winding down. She’s moving on to other things and it’s time for her image to do so, too. Despite the publicity struggles—and to an extent I think Stewart will always struggle with her public persona since she just doesn’t have a personality tailor-made for being famous—I generally like how Stewart’s reps manage her. The only real “blunder” I lay at their door is not insisting she go through media training back in 2008. Stewart, and Robert Pattinson, famously “dropped out” of media training, but judging by Stewart’s remarks in GQ, I think she recognizes that was a mistake in retrospect. Hindsight, oh la.

I really love the GQ interview. As a fan, I love it and think it’s the best she’s ever done. As an industry-watcher, I like what it signals about where Stewart is heading professionally. Her tone is thoughtful yet retains quirks of her “no BS” style, she comes across as having gained some maturity and perspective, and I especially like that she seems able to laugh at her younger self (for example, the anecdote about finding an old backpack and eye-rolling the Anarchy stickers). The accompanying photoshoot, done by Norman Jean Roy, is also really good. Like W it casts Stewart in a retro role, going for classic bikinis and Old Hollywood vamp. I really adore the underwater shot—it’s a beautiful photograph of a beautiful person. Tapping into this old-school glamour seems part of softening Stewart’s image and I think it’s a look that really works for her. I’d love to see her on a red carpet working some finger-waves and bee stung lips.

What Stewart’s new image says to me is, “I will never spoon feed you my personal life but I’m not going to act like it’s not happening either”—she mentions her “English boyfriend” and acknowledges that anyone who cares about her personal life can easily find the details on Google. But she also reiterates that she considers that stuff out-of-bounds and she won’t contribute to the file o’facts. Where I see a sticking point, though, comes from that exact lack of enthusiasm for talking about herself—you could, if you wanted to, read that as ungrateful or ungracious. At this point, I think people are entrenched on the topic of Kristen Stewart. Either you like her or you don’t. If you like her, nothing she does will bother you. If you don’t like her, nothing she does will ever change your mind, so she might as well not talk about her private life because it won’t matter either way.

I’m pleased with this iteration of Stewart’s public persona. I don’t need her to be tabloid fodder—there are plenty of other starlets happy to fling themselves before the tabloids’ cannons for our amusement. What I expect from Stewart are movies I want to see and opportunities to admire/discuss her fashion and style. Stewart is Good For Gossip in the sense that no matter what she’s doing people are going to talk about it. Everyone has an opinion on Kristen Stewart and few are shy about sharing, good or bad. But she isn’t Good For Gossip in that her personal life isn’t very interesting (I can’t get excited about the “English boyfriend” comment because it’s been patently obvious, to me, for two years that she and Pattinson are together) and she will do little to change that. But I’m okay with that. It’s enough to observe her transformation from child star to one of the most powerful young actresses in Hollywood.

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33 thoughts on “Covering the magazine covers with Kristen Stewart

  1. layla

    “Either you like her or you don’t….”
    “Everyone has an opinion on Kristen Stewart ….”

    I think you are giving her far too much credit here and would argue that most peoples opinion of her are far less polarizing.

    I would actually say that most people don’t have an opinion about her at all and if they do, it more often than not falls in the “meh” category.

    I have nothing against Stewart, but nor do I have anything for her.

  2. Inez

    Layla, by reading an article about Kristen and then proceeding to take the time to construct a well written post about her, I feel the need to let you know that your opinion on her isn’t just meh. Usually when something is meh, it is ignored.

  3. LINA

    I still can’t believe she is just 21. I think she is handled the shitstorm of twilight amazingly well. You know that even though she may not love the limelight she has her shit together. I can’t help but like her, she is much younger than me but she is somebody i would hang out with.. I can’t say that for the majority of her peers.

  4. Kaitlin

    Inez…agreed! Except for older folks or really young ones, people have a rather passionate opinion of her. She is kind of polarizing. I’m a big fan and genuinely admire her for her honesty and individuality. Great post.

  5. layla

    @Inez:
    My opinion was more a response to the authors general overview & thoughts … rather than a commentary on the subject itself.

    Sarah implied we all either “love or hate” KStew. My response to her (Stewart) is neither so my original post was in reaction to Sarah’s commentary.

    It is also a ridiculously slow day here at work … so that may have A LOT to do with the fact that I even bothered to comment, so you also may have a valid point! 😉

    @Kaitlin:
    I am neither young nor old … and in my experience, people I know are more the “oh, that chick from Twilight? Meh” rather than love her/hate her types.

  6. sarah

    I wonder if ,many of the Kristen haters fall into two camps. 1) Those who think that Bella is lame and think that K-stew is lame also as a result, and 2) those who see themselves as Bella and dislike K-stew because she is the actual Bella [AKA gets to make out with Edward]. Meyer wrote Twilight in such a way that girls [and, let’s face it, women] can see Bella however they want and will, most likely, see Bella as themselves. When K-stew gets to be Bella, it means that the readers don’t get to, which may mean that some readers don’t like Kristen as a result.

    I personally really like her. I think she’s just naturally awkward, but that she also takes all the “Twilight” mania with a solid grain of salt. I actually find that refreshing; I prefer it to the “try” that so many other young actresses give off. If you haven’t seen The Runaways, I’d recommend it. She gives a solid performance as Joan Jett.

  7. jen

    This sounds so cliche, but she’s truly growing up and changing into quite a force. Looking forward to her future projects and although she may have gotten knocked around early on in the press I never found her to be anything, but young and professional. She’s so damn grounded.

  8. As somebody who pay’s attention to the fandom for my own amusement.Im really curious as to What iyour opinion is on the twi/Robert pattinson affect is on kristen career and image. Do you think both are bad for it or no? i know the twi fandom does her no favors and to some degree, has cheapen her reputation as a serious young actress in the media and public(or maybe not). what does kristen peeps(agent,publicist,manager) think of Rob/twi affect on kristen or do they not care.

  9. I love this interview in GQ and this article. I am her huge fan and I don’t recommend just The runaways movie but Speak, Welcome to the Rileys, Firce people.. she is amazing and really hard worker. I am excited for new Snowhite movie with her.

  10. and btw layla people do like to comment on her, evan does how say MAH… they are the worst. They make anyonimus commenst on hate. This quote My english boyfriend was a all over the world on twiter most trading words, it is not quite on opinion how most just say mah…??

  11. JUST MY OPINION

    People don’t like her because she seems ungrateful, I mean she made all that money and then saying I would be fine if I didn’t have it. So why doesn’t she just donate it all if its that much of a burden. Nobody needs $40 million to survive, she needs to shut up about it. She seems to be suffering from the same disease Johnny Depp is suffering from recently (foot in mouth).

    I think throwing her teachers under the bus for failing her is really shitty thing to do. First of all, the studio pays for on set tutoring and secondly maybe the reason she wasn’t passing her exams was because she wasn’t concentrating on school work and was on set all the time. Rather than her playing the victim all the time she needs to man up. I mean come on, if all the teachers are failing you its not because they out to get you its because you’re dumb.

    Also the fact is she seems to have a high opinion of herself for someone who can’t act and plays the same character over and over (i.e. loner/outsider).

    1. I will say this about the school/teachers thing:

      When I was a kid my family moved. The school system I transferred into was about a year (a WHOLE year) ahead of the one I’d just left, curriculum-wise. I started out okay but I fell behind quickly. It wasn’t a matter of being “dumb”–I literally had not yet learned the material they were teaching in the new school. My grades dropped rapidly. The teachers and administration, instead of taking the time to tutor me after school or suggest extra lessons for me to do own my own, told my parents they should just drop me into remedial classes. It would be “too much work” to help me catch up. They simply didn’t want to do their jobs and TEACH me. So my parents engaged a tutor to help me get caught up but the school continued to try and move me into the remedial class. Then we had to take a state test for history and geography. I scored a perfect in the test. Instead of thinking something may have been wrong with their “she’s just dumb” logic, the school accused me of cheating. I had to retake a different history/geography test, this time alone in a room with just a state proctor. Again, I got a perfect. When the proctor asked me how I did that, I said, “That class is boring so I just read the text book and practice drawing the maps in the back.” The teachers, so convinced I was too dumb to catch up, forgot that I could still READ.

      Sometimes teachers fail you even when you aren’t dumb.

      1. Agree. I’m a teacher and will probably be deemed a traitor for saying this by my peers but some teachers have and do continue to fail students. I saw it during my student teaching every day, in big and small ways. While her quote in GQ only mentioned the academic failings Kristen perceived to have suffered I suspect she was also talking about the bullying she endured by her jealous classmates and how her teachers maybe somehow played a part in that by not curbing it. I wish the interviewer had asked her to clarify/expand on this. Kristen has talked about the bullying in the past and that that was the primary reason she left. At my school one of our 5th graders was in Billy Elliott on Broadway but his teacher was thrilled and didn’t seem to complain about any extra work that entailed for her. She was also a fantastic teacher. I appreciate Kristen’s candor and not being afraid to mince words like other celebrities may have done to appear “gracious”. That was her experience and none of us were there so maybe we should be so quick to judge.

    2. lou

      ” secondly maybe the reason she wasn’t passing her exams was because she wasn’t concentrating on school work and was on set all the time.”

      But she left school early on, right? i can’t remember what age she was but it was before she started to act regularly. She also said she used to try and act cool but yet she paniced to have her homework done on time, doesn’t sound like a brat who wasn’t willing to work.

      I assumed she went to a decent school, was it a fee paying school? Her teachers should have provided her with extra attention, just like they would with a kid with a learning disability, or a kid who was ill and had to miss a lot of school.. would you be saying they were throwing their teachers under a bus if they felt they failed them? Do they have to man up? Doubt it.

      As per the not needing the money thing? I don’t recall her saying that, but if she did.. isn’t she correct? Who needs that kind of money? She is acknowledging that it is crazy, like most people who earn a lot of money should. It makes me so angry when i hear actors or any rich person say they need to work because they have to pay bills etc, and they might have millions. How condescending is that…

      You also have no idea what she donates, in fact she has mentioned wanting to help certain charities. I dare say if it came to light that she was donating, you would accuse her of a PR blitz

      “Also the fact is she seems to have a high opinion of herself for someone who can’t act and plays the same character over and over (i.e. loner/outsider).”

      See, your opinion could be taken seriously if you hadn’t added that. You clearly have a personal dislike, and your words are the mantra for a certain group of foaming losers (we both know who). Where has Kristen ever had a high opinion of herself? She is nothing but humble and down to earth. She even admits to losing some of her insecurities. She admits she isn’t perfect.

      you twist things to suit your agenda, very transparent and immature.

      1. Lou, being sick or having a learning disability and needing extra help is completely different to missing school for the all important job of being a “CHILD ACTRESS. So no I wouldn’t say to those people who were sick/had learning difficulty and felt their teacher failed them that they were throwing their teachers under the bus. How you can equal being a child actress and needing the teacher to make extra packages for a student to being sick and needing help boggles the mind frankly. Like I said before instead of blaming the teachers she should blame her parents. I can’t believe her fans are trying to back her up with this argument.

        You know I’m not the only one who thinks she is a bad actress and also how does that invalidate my argument of her saying my teachers failed me. Instead accusing people of being part of some undergroud fandom out to get Kristen maybe you should look at yourself. You sound like a crazy Kstew stan. If I said she can’t act I mean she can’t act, it’s my opinion. I don’t need you to take me seriously and I certainly don’t need you to break down my entire COMMENT. WTF?

        Majority of the people (i.e. sane people) who read this interview about her blaming the teachers said the same thing I said which was she sounds like spoiled entitled brat.

  12. JUST MY OPINION

    Yeah but she could have gotten on set tutoring if she wanted to. Isn’t it a law in America for minors anyways? Your situation is completely different you were in that school and they failed you she on the other hand was on set and had means to catch up ( i.e. on set tutoring, private school). She was going to a public school where its much harder to teach a class of 30 let alone trying to make extra assignments for a girl who CHOSE to work as a child. Both her parents worked she wasn’t poor, she considered it a privilege. So why should the teachers pay more attention on her when students who actually turned in to to class like for example yourself who need it more. In her situation I blame the parents for not stopping her from working on movies rather than accusing teachers of failing her.

    Sorry I guess I have a different opinion on this situation than you.

    1. Lindz

      I’m not trying to sound rude, but have you read the GQ article, or other Kristen interviews? Because if you have you would know that Kristen has talked about how she appreciates that because of Twilight, films that she did before have received distribution as a result of “fan interest”. But, to be honest, it has to be difficult to be thankful all the time since she gets psychos, who want to be with her boyfriend, that talk about wanting her dead. I’m not trying to say that she hasn’t said or done dumb things before, because she has, but she has evolved and made improvements in how she acts.

    2. She is not ungreatful and she said it million tilmes. You are jelous because you don’t earn 40 million but that does not give you right to be bitch on someone and bash her because sweetie she eared every dollar. You twist her words and you sound not very smart. MY OPINION.

  13. Jacqu

    Hey Sarah! A bit off topic, but when you mentioned how Kristen’s team manages her, I’ve always wondered, what composes an actor or actress’ team?

    1. Some combination of agent, lawyer, publicist, manager. There’s no “right” way to have a team (though I do think having a manager is a waste of money unless you’ve got a lot of business interests, like a production company and/or perfume/clothing lines, endorsements, etc).

  14. Lindz, I did read the interview that’s why I commented on it. You don’t have to get personal. Also Lindz to be honest every major A list actor deals with what she’s going through, some even worse than her. But some deal with it by being humble.

    Dina, you said I don’t sound smart, have you read your comment even before posting it? You sound like an overzealous stan. I don’t care that she earns $40 million dollars what I’m saying is be humble about it. There’s not need to bitch and moan about it. Her woe is me attitude is getting tiring. Also she works in movies not inventing cure for cancer so no she hasn’t earned every dollar.

  15. sunny

    Sarah, it’s really interesting to me that you think Stewart should have gone to media training. I’d be curious to know what that really would have achieved. I just don’t think she would have absorbed it, because (funny for someone who grew up in it), she was/is so anti-Hollywood. I do get why certain people find her personality off-putting. She’s made some mistakes in print interviews — inevitable with the enormous Twilight juggernaut media machine — most of which seem to be due to some remaining self-centeredness/ self-consciousness that most lose in their early 20s. I’m confident that is happening for her as she continues to mature, like you point out.

    Also, my sense is that sometimes viewers feel a second-hand discomfort whenever she’s visibly uncomfortable, and they resent her for making them feel like that when the expectation is for a public figure (particularly a young woman) to be light-hearted and beautiful and fun at all times.

    But frankly her “anti” attitude was what made me look twice at her, and I’d easily describe myself now as a full-on fangirl. I think that what I first noticed and admired about her was her no-BS attitude. It’s different, and it’s interesting. I remember coming away from seeing Twilight the first time and thinking about what a serious persona she brought to the character. Her portrayal was uncommonly stark, for a movie that she could have easily decided not to take seriously at all. She’s also made some interesting choices for roles – I loved her in “Into the Wild” and “The Runaways” and am looking forward to seeing her role in “On the Road.”

    I don’t want her rough edges to be all smoothed out. I actually thought her comment in GQ about googling her to know all about her life may have been sarcastic (i.e., you can’t truly know someone just by googling them). I just hope for her own sanity that she can learn how to live with the media attention and the ever-present detractors, because if she can’t, I think we’d lose a fresh and intelligent talent.

    Side note – as a person who has absolutely no industry ties, I’d love to hear more sometime about your various criteria for judging a celebrity and what happens in the entertainment machine when it all goes wrong.

  16. Sinny

    This is my favourite review of Kristen Stewart because primarily, you talk about the business. All personal affection aside, I DO like KS in the business, more so than any other actor affiliated with Twilight. (this has nothing to do with Bella, I think Bella is the worse female protagonist to influence our young readers) This was a fun read, well done, Sarah!

  17. Two Thirds a fan

    Hi Sarah. Great comments on Kstew. I do like her, but one thing that bothers me is her award appearances. When excepting an award she couldn’t be more awkward to point of making me feel uncomfortable. But she’s an actress. Shouldn’t she be able to ‘act’ appropriate to the occasion for 1-2 mins and not look like she wants to run off stage and vomit. I understand she’s shy, but she’s and ACTOR – use it.

  18. nomcookies.

    I have an opinion I want to share, and I don’t care what side of this “fandom” I offend. In MY opinion, I think she is first off, not the best actress out there, lets face it she can’t portray emotion on screen at all. I’ve seen other films of hers beside Twilight too, so I’m not just judging based on that. Second all she does in every interview is complain about how famous she is, and that she never wanted to be this famous, well, no one forced you to sign on to do 5 movies in the same franchise! She did it b/c she saw those $ signs and she knew she wouldn’t ever get paid that amt for the indie flicks she did. She really needs to suck it up and stop all her crying in every magazine that’s willing to put her on the cover. Also all she does is use the “f” word in every interview as well, she is not very lady like at all and in my opinion has no sense of class. There are hundreds of other actresses who never cuss in interviews and flip off the camera’s and they go on to win Oscars and make big budget films. I also agree that she shouldn’t be bashing her teacher’s the way she did, just another example that she will put fault off on anyone that she can. She was 20yrs old when she finally finished high school! It’s pretty clear that it was not a priority for her at all, she seemed to not care either way when asked about it in interviews. I think she should take a cue from her own movie “WTTR” and realize that it makes her sound “uneducated and cheap” Also the very fans that worship the ground she walks on she goes around calling them “f’ing psycho’s” and bashes them constantly too. I know she has to think that every single twitter act dedicated to her is insane. I’ve seen some of the comments and I worry about the amt of time that grown women spend obsessing over this chick. If she hadn’t done Twilight, nobody would know who she is. She would still be making little indie flicks that only released in 10 cinema’s nation wide. I can think of so many actresses that are worth admiring, but she is just not one of them on my list.

  19. Ashley

    Here’s the thing about her “awkward” public appearances…when you’re doing things like that, you’re not acting, you’re not playing a character. You’re supposed to be yourself. So to me, she’s just being herself, and herself is shy, nervous and a little uncomfortable in public appearances. Also, she’s most likely a little embarrassed by all this craziness around her. Especially at the MTV Awards, because it’s basically the Twilight show. Like winning Best Actress over Natalie Portman in Black Swan just because the fans voted like crazy or being expected to kiss your boyfriend on stage and on TV in front of millions. If she were to pretend to be otherwise, it wouldn’t be genuine. It would be fake. And she’s said on more than one occasion that she’d rather be genuine and be herself than be fake and have everyone love her. And I know people will say that if she’s shy or whatever she shouldn’t be acting, but TONS of actors are shy, because playing a part is like wearing a mask, getting to be someone else for a little while.

    How does not wanting to talk about your personal life make you ungrateful? That makes no sense to me at all. People always think we are entitled to know everything about their private lives just because they’re famous, but we don’t. It’s private. None of our business if they don’t feel like sharing. And Kristen definitely isn’t the only one who doesn’t like talking about it, lots of other actors are the same way.

    I feel like Robert Pattinson does a lot of the same things Kristen does–sometimes acting uncomfortable or weird during public appearances, not talking about his personal life, complaining in interviews–but doesn’t get any of the criticism. Jesse Eisenberg, equally awkward and nervous, doesn’t get the criticism. If Kristen was a guy, British and/or not in the Twilight films, she probably wouldn’t get it either.

    She’s come a long way from when she was 18, but I think people often forget that the girl is still only 21. She’s still maturing, still discovering who she is. Remember when you were 18-21? What if people were scrutinizing and analyzing every little thing you said and did back then? You make one off the cuff comment and that’s YOU. Forever.

    That said, I like her. I find her refreshing in a sea of fake, plastic Hollywood famehos.

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