Kristen Stewart is opening up about the pressure she once felt to label and discuss her sexuality in public.
In a new interview in InStyle with Happiest Season director and co-writer Clea DuVall, the Twilight alum gets candid about growing up in the spotlight and having her dating life dissected by the public. Stewart is currently dating screenwriter Dylan Meyer; she previously dated Michael Angarano, Robert Pattinson, Alicia Cargile, and Soko.
Happiest Season is a holiday comedy about a woman (Mackenzie Davis), who surprises her family by bringing home a girlfriend (Stewart) for Christmas. The actress tells DuVall she drew from personal experience when making the film.
"The first time I ever dated a girl, I was immediately being asked if I was a lesbian. And it's like, 'God, I'm 21 years old,’” she says. “I felt like maybe there were things that have hurt people I've been with. Not because I felt ashamed of being openly gay but because I didn't like giving myself to the public, in a way. It felt like such thievery."
She adds, "This was a period of time when I was sort of cagey. Even in my previous relationships, which were straight, we did everything we could to not be photographed doing things — things that would become not ours. So I think the added pressure of representing a group of people, of representing queerness, wasn't something I understood then. Only now can I see it. Retrospectively, I can tell you I have experience with this story. But back then I would have been like, 'No, I'm fine. My parents are fine with it. Everything's fine.' That's bullshit. It's been hard. It's been weird. It's that way for everyone."
Stewart also talks about feeling like she has to be a spokesperson for the queer community. "I did more when I was younger, when I was being hounded about labeling myself. I had no reticence about displaying who I was. I was going out every day knowing I'd be photographed while I was being affectionate with my girlfriend, but I didn't want to talk about it. I did feel an enormous pressure, but it wasn't put on me by the [LGBTQA+] community. People were seeing those pictures and reading these articles and going, "Oh, well, I need to be shown." I was a kid, and I felt personally affronted.”
The actress, who recently turned 30, says she has developed a different perspective on it. “Now I relish it. I love the idea that anything I do with ease rubs off on somebody who is struggling. That shit's dope! When I see a little kid clearly feeling themselves in a way that they wouldn't have when I grew up, it makes me skip."
Stewart also answered fan questions for Instyle. Watch the video below: