Every few months, it seems Hollywood has a new “It Girl,” and right now that honor goes to up and coming actress Shailene Woodley, who is working on a ton of great projects right now. You might know her from 2011 drama The Descendants, guilty pleasure series Secret Life of the American Teenager or authentic teen rom-com The Spectacular Now, but no matter where you recognize her from, it’s important to know she has lots more ahead. Here’s a glimpse into Ms. Woodley’s life, which is sure to get even more interesting as her highly anticipated films, The Fault in Our Stars and Divergent hit theaters.
Who is she?
Standing tall at 5’8″, Shailene Diann Woodley is a self-described environmentalist from Simi Valley, California. The 22-year-old had a tough high school experience, as her parents split up and she was diagnosed with scoliosis, forcing her to wear a brace. Prior to snagging her breakout role on Secret Life, she considered studying interior design at NYU, but it wasn’t like acting was brand new to her at that point. She’d auditioned for Dakota Fanning’s part in I Am Sam, and she also portrayed young Kaitlin Cooper in The O.C. when it first came out. The series ended up going with another actress in later seasons, but clearly Ms. Woodley did fine without the teen soap afterward.
How she made a name for herself
Though she’s memorable for Secret Life and The O.C., her big screen debut on The Descendants landed her a place on the A-list, as she received a Golden Globe nomination and MTV Movie Awards accolade for her performance in the George Clooney drama. She went on to star alongside Miles Teller in coming of age film The Spectacular Now and sign on for three movies in the Divergent franchise. Last year, People put her on its Most Beautiful At Every Age list, in which she admitted to not even using perfume as she doesn’t need it with her love for organic food, natural treatments and moisturizer, “Not only is it all-natural, but I don’t have to wear a fragrance because I smell like a yummy macaroon!” At least we know her secret!
What she’s been talking about lately
The raspy-voiced brunette, who recently got a splendid short haircut, made waves last week when her Teen Vogue interview splashed across the Internet. She said a lot of awesome things, including this memorable thought on a certain popular franchise, “Twilight, I’m sorry, is about a very unhealthy, toxic relationship. She falls in love with this guy and the second he leaves her, her life is over and she’s going to kill herself! What message are we sending to young people? That is not going to help this world evolve.” Though I like some aspects of Stephenie Meyer’s story, I’m with Woodley on this one. This is another line that makes me respect my fellow Californian, “I haven’t had time to think about a relationship! I literally have not had a boyfriend in almost five years. I’ve never even hooked up with anybody I’ve worked on a movie with.” After a project ends, though? “Well, that might have happened on something….” Tell me more!
In the same magazine chit-chat, she gushed about her friendship with fellow powerhouse celebrity Jennifer Lawrence, who talked her into taking on the big Divergent role after initiating declining the offer, “I asked Jennifer Lawrence, ‘Are you happy with your choice to take on The Hunger Games?’ And she said she wouldn’t change it for the world. She told me, ‘There are some things—don’t make a sex tape, don’t do drugs, don’t do things in public—that you wouldn’t want other people judging you for. But this is the best decision you’ll ever make.'” Thank you, J-Law for giving us three more movies featuring another awesome leading lady! Fun fact: Woodley was also considered for the part of Katniss Everdeen. Glad she and J-Law made it out of the selection process as pals.
Though the Teen Vogue story quickly got passed around the web, another comment she made in the Hollywood Reporter had many wondering about her romantic preferences, “I fall in love with human beings based on who they are, not based on what they do or what sex they are.” Whether she likes men, women or both, she sure knows how to live.
In terms of dating, she’s been linked to That Awkward Moment actor Miles Teller, the young man insists they have a weird brother-sister dynamic, “I would say we have like a sibling relationship but with moments of sexual tension.” They were pretty cute together in The Spectacular Now and will be working as a pair in the Divergent flicks, so time will tell if the relationship shifts into something more than playful puppy love. He recently joked that she’s quite the nature girl, “[I]t’s nice because I know I will see Shailene for certain months out of the year for hopefully the next few years. Because she’s a good friend of mine but she’s always freaking giving away all of her belongings and like, living in a tree, so it’s hard to wrangle her up…Last time I talked to her, she had one suitcase. She’d given away all her clothes and she was couch-surfing…I think Shailene lives in a tree.” Now that’s a celebrity life choice you don’t hear about very often!
She’s pretty busy these days, and while it feels good to be a working actor in demand, Woodley still worries about losing herself along the way, an understandable fear, “I made five movies in the past year and two months and finished a TV show during that time. The second your boss or somebody whom you really respect comes to you and says, ‘I can’t wait to see what you do next,’ there instantly becomes this new pressure of, ‘Wow, am I creating art for myself or am I suddenly creating art for other people?'” From everything I’ve read, this appears to be a girl who thinks for herself, so I don’t fret about her selling out for a second. She’s golden.
It’s definitely going to be an interesting year for Woodley, who has The Fault in Our Stars, White Bird in a Blizzard and Divergent coming out. Based on John Green’s bestselling novel, The Fault in Our Stars follows the life of Hazel Grace (played by Woodley), a dying teen who falls in love with a fellow cancer victim at a support group. The book is a tearjerker, so expect the film to be equally tragic.
Divergent will be released on March 21, so head to the nearest theater at the end of the week if you’re so inclined:
Earlier this year, White Bird in a Blizzard, which tells the story of a girl whose mother goes missing, debuted on screen, so if you missed it, be sure to check for the upcoming DVD release:
With a bunch of movies slated to come out in 2014 and 2015, she’s sure to become an even bigger star than she already is. Here’s hoping she’ll be a major player for many years to come!