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[Only IN Hollywood] No coming out drama for Kristen Stewart: ‘I just fell in love with a girl for the first time’

“I just fell in love with a girl for the first time.”

For Kristen Stewart, there was no big, dramatic coming out moment. The actress, who stars in queer holiday rom-com Happiest Season, plays Abby, who learns that her girlfriend Harper (Mackenzie Davis) has kept their relationship a secret from her family.

She talked candidly about the role – and her own experiences – in a recent video call.

In director Clea DuVall’s pioneering lesbian Christmas film on Hulu, Abby is ready to propose to Harper when the latter brings her to her family home. But Harper asks Abby to play straight because she has not come out as gay to her family.

“What I do love about this movie is how it advocates for the variation in the coming out stories,” said Kristen. “Everyone has had a completely different experience doing it.”

The actress, opening up about her sexuality, said her coming out was “was pretty unique in that I don’t think I really dealt with it.  I don’t want this to come out the wrong way. But I didn’t really care how it was going to affect everyone. I also never had a moment when I actually came out. I just fell in love with a girl for the first time.”

Photo by Ruben V. Nepales

“It wasn’t like this unburdening feeling. It really was more surprising. I felt like my life was opening up in a way that I never really considered realistically. So, rather than saying to my parents like, hey, I want to tell you guys, I hate to break it to you… (laughs).”

“I didn’t think of it in those terms because I am lucky as hell. I just didn’t think it was a bad thing. I was just like, there is this new person in my life.  Having said that, I haven’t skirted all discomfort in terms of identity and sexuality.”

“Growing where I grew up, in the time that I grew up, I think you would have to be under the age of 20 and living in a city in the United States to ever really feel…You have to be like 15 years old and living in New York, Los Angeles or a metropolitan city in order to have felt truly untouched by really negative leering judgement.”

“I’m positive that I grew up thinking it would be not what I would have chosen, to be a lesbian. That’s like, harder. People think it’s gross and weird. There’s no way around that. So I can relate to the feeling of being different, and in the movie, sort of standing tall within that.”

“Because I think Abby really knows herself and she really wants to help Harper destigmatize this feeling.  But at the same time, it’s a really fringe feeling to feel as comfortable as I felt. I know what it feels like to talk to anyone who feels differently. It’s rampant. I’d say optimistically half the country doesn’t feel that way (laughs).”

“So it’s hard to say that I didn’t have a hard coming out story while still living in the world that we live in. But I was totally fine. I told my parents I had a girlfriend, I was in love with her and it was a new thing.”

“I really felt like this was cool next step in my life. It just sort of opened up. It didn’t feel like I had realized something and unloaded.”

Kristen, who dated her Twilight series costar Robert Pattinson, Alice Cargile and Stella Maxwell, and whose reported current girlfriend is screenwriter Dylan Meyer, said in retrospect, “It really was me as an individual growing with the times. I wasn't really living in the closet.  I was always like holding my girlfriend's hand in public. I told my parents and bla bla bla.”

“I like to make out with my girlfriend on the street all the time. I'm obviously gay but there was something about saying it, knowing that it was being heard and set on a platform like that, so it's amazing.”

The 30-year-old with the soulful green eyes replied when asked about her thoughts on marriage: “Yeah. I like traditions, declarations of any kind. I love a grand statement. It’s funny, the best thing in life is to know something because it’s such a rare feeling when you feel sure about something. Sticking a stake in the ground on that level is something that I do find attractive.”

“Having said that, I do have complicated feelings about this sanctimonious nature of it all. I would say I would get married in my own way but I wouldn’t necessarily do it. You can promise yourself to someone in front of a bunch of other people and not have to do it in the way that it’s been presented my whole life. But I still am really inspired by the commitment of it.”

Laughing, Kristen stressed that she wants the works: “Four walls, a strong door, a fireplace to keep you warm. Of course, I want a family. I want all the things that all normal people want.”

Kristen is encouraged by what she sees in social media. “I am inspired and turned on by the idea that I see more (queer) presence in social media that are prouder. People younger than me inspire me more than the generation that I came from. So, to be honest, I am lucky to be able to reflect this perspective in my choices of film.”

'Happiest Season' stars (from left) Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Alison Brie, Victor Garber and Mary Steenburgen. Still courtesy of Hulu

“People are spending money on movies like this (Happiest Season) because of the younger generation, not necessarily because of me, but the growth that it has inspired. It’s the desire and the gap that has inspired filling it. I’m so thankful just to even be a part of that exchange. It works both ways.”

On the coincidence of queer films like Happiest SeasonAmmonite and The Prom being released during this time, Kristen opined, “I grew up in a time when no one would ever dream of making this movie commercially. It would be a fringe-y sort of smaller movie for people in the margins. I have grown up with people that might feel that way. I know the difference between the world that we live in now and even the one that we lived in a very short number of years ago.”

“It's optimistic to assume that queerness has been normalized in every household across America, because it totally has not. Obviously, there's a lot of division here. To wrap up a message like this in such cozy clothes and deliver it with true compassion and warmth is a nice way to try and bridge that gap.”

“You'd have to be a bad person to not like the story (laughs). You'd pretty much have to be an asshole to not like the story. We had some of those but that's okay. There are many ways to participate in a discussion. This is not argumentative.”

“People need help,” Kristen emphasized about the challenges of making gay fare. “The responsibility of more self-realized queer people who tell stories is to lead the horse to the water.  You can't make them drink but you can definitely present something that's filled with positivity, love and acceptance. And just hope that it rubs off.”

“I feel really lucky to be in a movie that is not shy. It’s very self-realized. It has an ease like I didn't want to represent a gay couple that didn't feel lived in and comfortable with themselves in their own story.  It's like yes, Mackenzie's character is coming out and she's having a hard time doing that with her family.”

Still courtesy of Hulu

“But in her own life, Mackenzie is a very self-realized, really accomplished woman. She really knows herself. These two women have immense respect for each other. I thought it was really important to represent a gay couple that didn't necessarily feel alternative or fringe-y.”

“They just look like us. They are not like overtly obsessed with gay culture. They are just very naturally themselves and they're in love with each other.”

Happiest Season also stars Dan Levy, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Mary Steenburgen and Victor Garber.

The first American actress to win a Cesar, France’s Oscar equivalent – with credits that include Clouds of Sils Maria, Personal Shopper and Seberg – is preparing to play next Princess Diana.

In filmmaker Pablo Larrain’s drama, Spencer, Kristen will portray Diana in a specific moment (three days, to be exact) during the Christmas holidays at the Sandringham estate in which she reflects on whether to leave her marriage to Prince Charles.

It’s a challenge, since Emma Corrin is earning praises for her portrayal of Lady Di in the current season of The Crown. Kristen admitted that she is a big fan of the series.

“I am obsessed with The Crown,” she said. “It’s so brilliant. I have been through the first three seasons and I was waiting for the fourth one to come out. I’ve already seen half of it. It has even taken a step up from where it was.”

“I have this accompaniment to something that I am already so consumed by.  I have this visual, sort of emotional aid. I literally go to sleep with (Princess Diana’s) interviews on so I just have her voice in my head. So I never really feel like I am doing an impression.”

“I’m just consuming everything without specificity in order to intrinsically feel her and not feel the pressure of always doing an impression.  The people that you know the best in your life, when you tell stories about them, you can immediately drop into the sound of their voice.”

“I want to know her (Diana). I don’t want to do a bad impression. I just really want to feel her as much as I can. So my preparation for her really has just been emotional.”

“I wish that the state of the world was in every way more open. Currently, everything is fairly locked down. I wanted to go to Sandringham and see the places where Diana lived, these monumental spaces that you can feel so small in. I’m going there through The Crown (laughs). I’m like, I can’t go to London but I’m going there through research as much as I can. I have a brilliant dialect coach.”

“I cannot wait to go on this dreamy ride with Pablo because the movie takes place over three days. There are no salacious details. There’s no new information representing. It really is just like an imagining of a three day period when maybe it was heaviest on her.”

“It’s a really internal experience.  Therefore, I’m just trying to open myself to her as much as I can. So when we get there, I can completely forget about the accent and all of the stuff that I’m worried about now.”

On Emma’s performance in particular, Kristen was effusive: “Emma killed it and she should be very proud of herself. I love the show. Emma is incredible. It’s so moving. I’m sure that gossipy weirdos would want to know, oh, there are two people playing Diana at the same time. I do play her at a later stage, when she’s almost 30.”

“I think that Emma gets right up to the age that I’m about to start. I play just a year after The Crown’s storyline ends, which for us is lucky (laughs). So there’s no crossover.”

“I’ve now consumed pretty much all there is to consume, video-wise. Every interview that you can actually hear or see, I go to sleep with it on.”

Joining her on this Spencer journey is someone named Cole. “My dog is named Cole,” Kristen said about the beautiful black dog behind her. “She’s my best friend. We do everything together. I’m trying to get her a doggie passport so she can come with me to go do Diana. I can’t imagine doing that without her. She’s my life support system.” – Rappler.com

Ruben V. Nepales

Ruben V. Nepales is an award-winning journalist whose honors include prizes from the National Entertainment Journalism Awards, a U.S.-wide competition, and the Southern California Journalism Awards, presented by the Los Angeles Press Club.

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