Shailene Woodley on social media: I have so much compassion for my generation

Shailene Woodley covers the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter to promote her new Netflix film, The Last Letter From Your Lover. Everything is coming up Shailene these days: new movies, new vibe, new fiance (Aaron Rodgers), new everything. Shailene will turn 30 in November, which I think is a big part of her new energy in the past year. It’s not just that she’s matured, as we all do, throughout her twenties. I think she also set markers for herself of where she wanted to be at 30 and she made it happen. There’s a mention of how all of her girlfriends are settling down and having babies and I think that’s influenced her more than she’s willing to admit. You can read the THR cover story here. Some highlights:

She just got her first manicure for herself (and not a role): “Normally when I’m not working, I don’t cut my hair, I don’t dye my hair, I don’t do anything to my body because I just like, wait until whatever’s next. I’ve had nails for characters before, but I was like, ‘I’m going to do it for me.’ ”

Announcing her engagement to Aaron Rodgers: “When we announced that we were engaged, we wanted to do that only because we didn’t want someone else to do it before we did. And we didn’t do it for months and months after we had become engaged, but the reaction to it was really a lot, and so we were like, ‘Let’s just politely decline [to talk about the relationship] for a little while and live in our little bubble.’ ”

Taking time off after The Descendants: “All the opportunities that were coming to me were huge, huge blockbuster films that maybe to my lawyers looked like great opportunities but to me didn’t represent any creativity… I look back on my 18-, 19-, 22-year-old self and I’m in awe of my ability to say no. I had no responsibilities. I got rid of mostly everything I owned and lived out of a suitcase. I didn’t feel pressure to work to make money. It was a very simple life. Because I wasn’t surrounded by the rhetoric of this industry and of Hollywood, I don’t think I knew anything other than saying no.”

She also turned down work because of an illness she does not disclose: “It was pretty debilitating. I said no to a lot of projects, not because I wanted to but because I physically couldn’t participate in them. And I definitely suffered a lot more than I had to because I didn’t take care of myself. The self-inflicted pressure of not wanting to be helped or taken care of created more physical unrest throughout those years.” Woodley says her health is improving but that the experience left a lasting mark on her. “I’m on the tail end of it, which is very exciting, but it’s an interesting thing, going through something so physically dominating while also having so many people pay attention to the choices you make, the things you say, what you do, what you look like. It spun me out for a while. You feel so incredibly isolated and alone. Unless someone can see that you have a broken arm or a broken leg, it’s really difficult for people to relate to the pain that you’re experiencing when it’s a silent, quiet and invisible pain.”

Compassion for her generation’s habit of curating their lives for Instagram: “I have so much compassion for my generation, for the generation after me with what people struggle through when it comes to social media and the addictive qualities of validation and the self-destructive qualities that come from externalized validation that’s through a 2D screen.”

On hashtag activism: “It’s very easy to go to a protest and snap a photo and hashtag it. Those are the sexy ways to participate in things. The uncomfortable, difficult ways are when you actually change legislation because that can be a 10-, 20-, 30-year process, or when you create whole new systems.”

On #MeToo meaning that the only roles for women are “strong & empowered”: “There’s so many stories out there right now about strong, empowered female. I laugh when I read these stories because maybe I know literally two strong, empowered females out of all of my friends and myself included. My hope is that more stories come out that explore the intricacies of what feminine energy looks like and not just this desire to represent females from a strong, empowered standpoint. Because there’s a lot underneath there that’s messy, jealous, conspiratorial, competitive, kind, mothering, generous, thoughtful. There are so many aspects to it that I hope continue to be explored deeper.”

[From THR]

There’s something about Shailene’s manner which has been pretty consistent throughout her time in the spotlight, since she was a teenager, basically: she often comes across, in writing, as very patronizing. Patronizing about politics, patronizing about other people’s hashtag activism, patronizing about her generation’s curated Instagram lives. I don’t know the woman and it’s possible that this kind of written interview doesn’t convey when she’s saying something tongue in cheek or with self-consciousness, but she strikes me as someone who says all of this sh-t earnestly. She really thinks her generational peers are trashy and she’s the only authentic one.

Details about her relationship with Aaron Rodgers are scattered throughout this piece but there’s nothing really notable. She says they met through mutual friends in music. She says they plan to be very honest about their relationship publicly. She had never watched a football game before she met him. She was not prepared for his football fanbase to have thoughts on her. That’s about it.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, cover courtesy of THR.

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