The acting, it appears, comes easily. Co-stars heap unusually genuine praise on Woodley, with the likes of George Clooney – whom she starred with in The Descendants, her sit-up-and-take-notice role – and Kate Winslet (the Divergent franchise) singling her out as one of the best actresses of her generation. Everything that comes with it though? That’s been a struggle.
“The idea of fashion is EXCITING again because I can now CURATE a look that’s authentically MYSELF. I suppose it comes down to control”
For a long time, none of that was Woodley’s thing. “I was only interested in making sure my physical footprint was aligned with my mental opinions and viewpoints,” she says. “Now I’m in a different place. The idea of fashion is exciting because I can now curate a look that’s authentically myself. I suppose it really just comes down to control.”
Right now, the actress is filming a second series of Big Little Lies. While she’s equally as proud of the TV phenomenon as her co-stars – Laura Dern and Zoë Kravitz, as well as executive producers Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman – the show represents something even more crucial for Woodley; until the script came along, she was considering quitting acting after all. “There was a point in my life, right before Big Little Lies, where I had hit a wall with acting. I felt it was time to do something different. I called my agents and said, ‘Please don’t send me any more scripts; I need to explore other avenues.’ They respected me and didn’t send me anything for almost a year until Big Little Lies. I didn’t know what it was or who was involved, I just said, ‘Thanks, I’m still not interested.’” The agents persisted, revealing the impressive names attached. “I read it, fell in love with it, and Laura , who I had worked with on The Fault in Our Stars, called me and that was really the push.”
“There was a POINT in my life, right before Big Little Lies, where I had hit a WALL with acting. I felt it was time to do something DIFFERENT”
“The idea of magazines, press lines, red carpets and fashion, all of that was so overwhelming that I stayed away from it all,” says the actress over herbal tea at a relaxed LA cafe, clad in a leather jacket and jeans.
“I can’t half-ass anything, so when it came to me having to look a certain way or speak a certain way for this image I was meant to create, it turned me off. When I wasn’t filming I would work on a farm somewhere because that’s what I could hold onto that felt real.”A cafe, clad in a leather jacket and jeans. “I can’t half-ass anything, so when it came to me having to look a certain way or speak a certain way for this image I was meant to create, it turned me off. When I wasn’t filming I would work on a farm somewhere.
“It’s the comfortable and sexy, masculine and feminine. It’s a balance of both”
For hanging out with friends
“I live in New York but I travel constantly. I have a house in Mallorca, and I often go back to Poland because I do a lot of campaigning projects there. When I’m in Paris, I stay with designer Anthony Vaccarello, and he comes and stays with me in my place in Mallorca. We’re not party animals; we like to do our own thing. We like the director Gaspar Noé – we watched Enter the Void together recently – and we love Kubrick.”
For a stylish bite
“Sa Foradada in Deià, Mallorca (+34 616 08 74 99), is the most incredible place for lunch. It’s a beautiful little restaurant carved into the mountain with the most incredible sea view. You can only get there by boat or by hiking – it’s very local and serves the best veggie paella.”