We're going to go ahead and say it. Kristen Stewart has always felt like a bit of an enigma to us. She's an actress in a huge obsessive-screaming-fans franchise who doesn't seem to care for the limelight; she's guarded with her personal thoughts and feelings in a way that makes reading and writing about her a little maddening; and she doesn't seem to be particularly interested in beauty — yet, she's the face of one of our favorite new fragrances, Balenciaga's Florabotanica.
So, we set out on a fact-finding mission to learn a bit more about the On The Road (and yes, Twilight) star and gossip-rag fixture. And we kinda fell in love with her. Here's what we learned: She's thoughtful and willing to explore when it comes to personal style and she's pretty freaking smart and self-aware when it comes to everything else. And really, that's what we look for in our friends.
Not sold? Read on for her thoughts on everything from grandma florals and getting to know yourself through fashion that challenges you to all of those verbs in Kerouac's writing and of course, that ubiquitous hand-on-hip celeb-on-red-carpet moment. We dare you not to be a believer by the end.
Kristen at the Balenciaga spring '13 presentation, in Paris.
So, you went to the Balenciaga show on Thursday. How was it?
"So sick! It really was incredible."
Did you see a standout look in the collection that really spoke to you?
"There was this small bustier in white that's typically worn with nothing under it, but they put a T-shirt under it, and it was sick! A few of its skirts, too, and the shoes — they were crazy! I feel like I don't need to think about what I'm going to wear for the next six months because it's pretty much handled."
When you see looks on the runway like that, do you immediately know which ones you'll want for the red carpet?
"All the stuff I see is definitely for the carpet. Any of the looks I saw today, I wouldn't want to waste on something that wasn't important because this round was really, really impressive and super-fance. Balenciaga is so particular, and I don't want to make it sound exclusive, but I mean, you need to know yourself to recognize yourself in the clothes; you have to really own it.
"What I love about fashion is that you find things that surprise you, that can uncover what's buried, that unleash certain aspects of yourself. Balenciaga does this like no other and I have a great time sifting through the stuff. Nicolas [Ghesquière] always picks the most fun things ever!"
On a more surface level, how is the Balenciaga aesthetic reflective of your own? What do you love about Ghesquière's designs?
"I think it's the balance — you can look really pretty, depending on what you decide to wear with a piece, but you can be really hard as well. It's rare to find a brand that's not one, or the other. I know it seems like I just wear simple shit when I'm dressing normally, and a lot of black, but I like colors! I mean, Nicolas is really out there and he really pushes it with patterns –– his patterned jeans are better than anyone's."
Photo: Joseph Kerlakian/Rex USA
"You're right, the reason you see me wearing simple clothes is because I don't want to give [the paparazzi] anything. Literally, I go outside every day in the same thing, so they can't say anything. So, it seems like I don't put any thought into it, but I recently put all my stuff in one area and obsessively, OCD-style, arranged all of my stuff. Like such a girl!
"And you might be surprised, but I do have more than a white T-shirt and a pair of jeans; I actually have some cool stuff! And I think I'm going to start using it. As I get older, I get more comfortable, and I'm finding those things that define me. Before, it really was just a T-shirt and jeans, but now, it's changing."
But, on the carpet, you seem pretty fearless about wearing what you like, and taking unconventional risks — like when your foot was hurt and you wore Chucks with a gorgeous dress. How do you find the confidence to make that work?
"It's really important to like what you're wearing. It's pretty clear when I don't like what I'm wearing, and it's pretty clear if you got dressed for other people. Even if you're not looking the the best you can, or maybe your outfit isn't spot on, if it looks like you got dressed and you like it, you'll probably look cool anyway."
So, your mantra is basically, 'this makes me happy, so this is what I'm going to wear'?
"Yeah! Sometimes you're not in the appropriate mood for the event you're going to, and you can look overdressed or underdressed, but even more than where you're going, your look has to suit your energy. It sounds completely self-involved, but it works."
When you're on the red carpet, you tend to take serious-looking pictures –– you're definitely not the hand-on-hip girl…
"God, if I ever see my hand on hip, I'm like 'Stop it!'"
Exactly –– it can feel like such a cliche. But do you have a secret to posing without feeling forced?
"Again, I think the biggest thing is to like what you're wearing. But, in reality, I'm not very comfortable taking pictures, so I just try to get through it. Recently, though, I've had to do a lot of On The Road stuff, and I've been incredibly comfortable, not because there's a personal pride thing, but because I'm so proud of everyone, and to be a part of this group. So, I guess the secret to taking good pictures is to have a good reason to do it. Just stand tall, man! I know that's funny coming from me, but it's true!"
We're all really excited for On The Road! Have you always been a huge Kerouac fan?
"I read On The Road when I was a freshman in high school, and I met Walter [Salles, the movie's director] for it when I was 17. I know that I've said this so many times, but it really was my favorite book; I was obsessed with it. I loved the verbs; just so many fucking verbs — I really liked that it wasn't packaged and delivered in a story-book sort of way, and when you're a freshman in high school, every book is written like that.
"Like, where is it's beginning, middle, and end, in that book? It's just really hard to pin down. I was like 'I've got to find people like that.' I really wanted to keep up with people that really push you. When I met Walter, I was younger than the character was in the book, and didn't know how to insert myself into that story. But I was like, 'I'll do anything!', and when I finally got the part, I was like, 'Are you sure? I'm 17!' Luckily, I had a few years to grow up, and I was 20 when we started filming. But I've been a fan since I was 14 or 15."
Photo: Courtesy of Balenciaga
"I mean, I've never worn a scent before, and I think that what I was saying earlier about getting older and finding those clothes that help define you –– that's not a superficial thing, it's creative –– and this is the same thing. It really can pull something out of you.
"I mean, I typically wouldn't be into a floral fragrance. But this is a really warm fragrance. It is a more dangerous scent than you'd expect from a flowery perfume, but that's probably expected, considering it's Balenciaga — you're not going to get a grandma perfume. I definitely don't have to lie when I say I like it!
Well that's a bonus!
"Oh, you have no idea."
So, we know you're not a huge makeup girl, but do you have a single favorite beauty product?
"I use Proactiv –– it's good shit!"
Do you have any beauty secret you've learned on sets or backstage?
"Not really, but I use lots and lots of dry shampoo!"
Photo: Courtesy of Balenciaga