In 2014, Kristen Stewart was featured in ELLE. I wrote at the time that the interview was frustrating. Click here for a full refresher, but this was the quote I was referring to:
“Never at any point have I sat down and plotted how I should proceed from here on. As soon as you start thinking about your career as a trajectory—like, as if you’re going to miss out on some wave or momentum—then you’re never doing anything for yourself anyway. Then you’re truly, actually, specifically working for the public. You’re turning yourself into a bag of chips.”
My point at the time was that artistry and ambition are not mutually exclusive. And that actively thinking about your career and setting professional goals, like a personal business plan, does not have to diminish the creative spirit. When that interview took place, Kristen had managed to find her way back from embarrassing personal scandal by making interesting, specific choices with her roles. That required strategy. It required excellent strategy. It was smart. It was well-executed. It was from the heart AND from the head. For women though, too often, we’re not supposed to admit that the head has anything to do with it. That we don’t calculate and measure our moves. Because ambition is unattractive. Sarah has previously written about how Jennifer Lawrence, too, used to “downplay” her ambition. As you know, that changed this year when Jennifer became more assertive about equal pay, about how much she THINKS about her career. About how it’s not just about closing her eyes and following the muse. It would appear that Kristen Stewart has finally made that adjustment too.
Kristen is a dark horse for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her work in Clouds Of Sils Maria. She’s been in New York this week. On Monday she accepted the Best Supporting Actress award from the NY Film Critics Circle. On Tuesday she made three appearances: at the Film Society of Lincoln Centre luncheon, then she presented an award (to Cary Fukunaga) at the National Board of Review gala, and also on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Remember, there’s no movie coming out. There’s no TV show. But she’s out there, just days before Academy members submit their nomination ballots, so that she’s top of mind, so that they’ll talk about her, so that, hopefully, they’ll remember to check the box beside her name.
So, to use her words, she “sat down and plotted how (to) proceed”. She wants something. She made a plan for how to get it. She is willing to follow a plan to get there, and do the best she can, without resorting to bending over for a cartoon bear and without feeling like she has to camouflage it or apologise for it. That’s more than OK. It’s really, really good.