Just because she's about to become one of the most famous faces on the planet doesn't mean Shailene Woodley is your typical Hollywood starlet. In fact, the 21-year-old actress, who landed a pair of coveted lead roles with the upcoming adaptations of young adult novels "Divergent" and "The Fault in Our Stars," lives a rather salt-of-the-earth existence — even by non-movie star standards.
“I think everything about my lifestyle is fairly alternative. I gather my own spring water from mountains every month. I go to a farm to get my food. I make everything from my own toothpaste to my own body lotions and face oils. I could go on for hours," the 21-year-old reveals to Flaunt magazine before adding, "I make my own medicines; I don’t get those from doctors. I make my own cheese and forage wild foods and identify wild plants. It’s an entire lifestyle. It’s appealing to my soul.”
What's not appealing to her soul, however, is being a part of the celebrity machine.
"I just find the whole f word, this whole 'fan' word, so completely fascinating," she reveals. "I think it's one thing to be a fan of a particular movie — growing up, I was a huge fan of 'The Goonies' and certain bands or musicians. [But] I look back at my favorite childhood films, and I don't remember being obsessed, or necessarily being a fan of a particular actor. I was excited to see what they were going to do next, but … now I feel like there's this odd sort of obsession with certain people."
Though she does realize that while she's trying to opt out, many of her contemporaries are not.
"You hear a lot about people who go out and put themselves in the position to be photographed, and go to the places where they’re expected to be seen," she reflects. "And because I don’t really read those weekly magazines, I don’t really know who or what people are talking about right now."
But Woodley, who's currently in theaters in "The Spectacular Now," has figured out a strategy for dealing with this overwhelming fame that's no doubt headed her way.
"I try to separate myself from my project; and I hope that people support that project," she explains. "But when people are solely supporting me, it feels odd; it’s something that I haven’t quite gotten used to and I don’t think I ever will.”
However, the truth is that regardless of whether she manages to get comfortable with it or not, people are (or soon will be) talking about her. Ever since her breakout role on the hit ABC Family series, "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," Woodley has been tagged as one to watch. And while she looks back on that project with fond memories, she still has mixed emotions about its overall run.
"I'm extremely grateful for it; it was a fantastic five years of my life," she begins. "But towards the end, morally, the things that we were preaching on that show weren't really aligned with my own integrity. So that was a bit hard to show up to work every day knowing that we were going to project all of these themes to thousands — millions — of young adults across the country, when in fact they weren't what I would like to be sending out."
What's more, her experience working on this evolving series left a bad enough taste in her mouth that she hesitated to accept the starring role in "Divergent," a part that comes with guaranteed work for the next several years that most young actors would kill to snap up. Only after meditating on it did Shailene decide to go for it.
“I was extremely passionate about the character, and about the project. I thought that it was worth it to sign on to do another series," she explains.
We'll have to check back in after the franchise hits theaters to see if she still feels that way.
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