Stewart has been a professional actress since she was 9, and throughout her teens and into her early 20s, she struggled with what she describes as “debilitating physical anxiety.” But the attention that comes with fame, while still occasionally frenetic, “is no longer negative or fear-based,” Stewart says.“I do think that’s because of the storms I have weathered.The year Stewart turned 22 should have been triumphant.
The basement den of her four-bedroom property, which hovers above Los Angeles — at once belonging to and separate from the hazy city below it — is a study in random: a stop sign on one wall, three metal letters — A, S and S — on another, a Batman action figure, a Winnie the Pooh-themed Pez dispenser, a Playboy pinball machine.
“I would never talk about any of my relationships before, but once I started dating girls it seemed like there was an opportunity to represent something really positive,” she says.
“I still want to protect my personal life, but I don’t want to seem like I’m protecting the idea, so that does sort of feel like I owe something to people.”Stewart is still navigating how much to reveal, and to whom, a challenge for anyone closely scrutinized, but particularly for an actor dependent on a connection with characters and audiences.
It’s not that they make you stronger or calloused — but they do make you a human.”“I’m not the typical showman,” she adds, curling her feet up under her legs and reaching for another cigarette.
“But at the same time, I want so badly to expose myself. It’s not that I want to hide who I am or hide anything I’m doing in my life.