Kristen Jaymes Stewart (born April 9, 1990) is an American actress, known for playing the protagonist Bella Swan in The Twilight Saga film series from 2008–12, which has grossed over $3.3 billion worldwide. She is the “face” of Chanel and Balenciaga fashion brands.
Stewart began her career in 1999 and came to prominence playing Jodie Foster’s daughter in the 2002 thriller Panic Room. She has since starred in a range of films, including Speak (2004), Zathura (2005), Into The Wild (2007), Adventureland (2009), The Runaways (2010), Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), On the Road (2012), Camp X-Ray (2014), Still Alice (2014) and Equals (2015).
She won the Rising Star BAFTA Award in 2010, and became the first American actress to win a Cesar Award, when she won Best Supporting Actress in 2015 for her role opposite Juliette Binoche in Clouds of Sils Maria (2014).
Stewart was born in 1990 in Los Angeles, California, where she was raised, by parents in the entertainment industry. Her father, John Stewart, is a stage manager and television producer who has worked for Fox. Her mother, Jules Mann-Stewart, is originally from Australia. She is a script supervisor and has also directed a film She has an older brother, Cameron, and two adopted brothers, Dana and Taylor.
Stewart attended local schools until the seventh grade. As she became more involved in acting, she continued her education by correspondence until completing high school.
1999–2003: Career beginnings
As she grew up with a family who worked behind the camera, Stewart thought she would become a screenwriter/director, but never considered being an actor. She recalled, “I never wanted to be the center of attention — I wasn’t that ‘I want to be famous, I want to be an actor’ kid. I never sought out acting, but I always practiced my autograph because I love pens. I’d write my name on everything.”
She began acting at 8, after an agent saw her perform in her elementary school’s Christmas play.After auditioning for a year, Stewart gained her first role with a small, nonspeaking part in the Disney Channel TV-movie The Thirteenth Year.Her next film was The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, where she played the “ring toss girl”.She also appeared in the independent film The Safety of Objects (2001), as the tomboy daughter of a troubled single mother. Stewart also played a tomboy, diabetic daughter of a divorced mother in the film Panic Room (2002). She was nominated for a Young Artist Award for her performance.
After Panic Room ’s success, Stewart was cast in another thriller, Cold Creek Manor (2003), playing the daughter of characters played by Dennis Quaid and Sharon Stone. She was nominated again for a Young Artist Award for her performance.About this time in her career, she started homeschooling because of her irregular schedule.
Stewart’s first starring role was at age 14 in the children’s action-comedy Catch That Kid (2004). That year Stewart also played the role of Lila in the thriller, Undertow (2004). Stewart starred in the Lifetime/Showtime television film Speak (2004), based on the novel by the same name by Laurie Halse Anderson. Stewart, 13 at the time of filming, played a high school freshman, Melinda Sordino, who after being raped nearly stops speaking. Her performance was widely praised, with The New York Times stating “Ms. Stewart creates a convincing character full of pain and turmoil”.
Stewart appeared in the fantasy-adventure film Zathura (2005), playing the role of Lisa, the irresponsible older sister of two little boys. During their playing a board game, they turn their house into a spacecraft hurtling uncontrollably in outer space. The film was praised by critics, but Stewart’s performance did not garner much media attention. Her character is immobilized during most of the film.The next year, she played the character Maya in Fierce People (2006). After that film, she received the lead role of Jess Solomon in the supernatural thriller film The Messengers.
Stewart appeared as teenager Lucy Hardwicke in In the Land of Women (2007), a romantic drama starring Meg Ryan and Adam Brody. The film, as well as Stewart’s performance, received mixed reviews. That same year, Stewart had a small role in the Sean Penn-directed adaptation Into the Wild. After Into the Wild, Stewart had a cameo appearance in Jumper and also appeared in What Just Happened, which was released in October 2008.She co-starred in The Cake Eaters, an independent film that has been screened only at film festivals. Both the film and Stewart’s performance received many positive reviews.
2008–12: International success and The Twilight Saga
On November 16, 2007, Summit Entertainment announced that Stewart would play main character Isabella “Bella” Swan in the film Twilight, based on Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling vampireromance novel of the same name. Stewart was on the set of Adventureland when director Catherine Hardwicke visited her for an informal screen test, which “captivated” the director.She starred alongside Robert Pattinson, who plays Edward Cullen, her vampire boyfriend.Twilight was released domestically on November 21, 2008.
She received praises for her role in Adventureland (2009), a comedy-drama film written and directed by Greg Mottola, and co-starring Jesse Eisenberg. Stewart reappeared as Bella in the sequel, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, in the same year.
She reprised the role of Bella Swan in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
In 2009, Stewart starred in The Yellow Handkerchief, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and was released into theaters in 2010 by Samuel Goldwyn Films. She also starred alongside James Gandolfini in Welcome to the Rileys, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2010.
In 2010, Stewart portrayed rock star Joan Jett in The Runaways, a biographical film of the titular band of the same name from writer-director Floria Sigismondi. Stewart met with Jett over the 2008–2009 New Year to prepare for the role; she prerecorded songs in a studio for the film.She received praise for her performance.The same year, Stewart was listed as the highest-earning female actress in Vanity Fair’s “2010’s Top Hollywood Top Earners List”, with an estimated earning of $28.5 million for her movie roles in 2010.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 was released on November 18, 2011.
She concluded the role in the finale, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, in November 2012. The film, despite mixed critical reception, was a box office success, grossing nearly $830 million worldwide, becoming the 40th highest-grossing film,and the highest-grossing film of the Twilight series.
On December 6, 2011, Stewart was named number one on Forbes magazine’s list of “Hollywood’s Best Actors for the Buck”. On January 13, 2012, she became the face of a new unnamed Balenciaga perfume; in June, its name was promoted as “Florabotanica”.
Stewart starred as Snow White in the film Snow White and the Huntsman (2012).Stewart appears as Mary Lou in On the Road, the film adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s cult classic novel of the same name.
According to Forbes, Stewart was the highest paid actress in 2012, with total earnings of $34.5 million.She earned $12.5 million each for last two installments in the Twilight series, including royalties.
On December 11, 2013, Chanel announced that Stewart was its “new face” for a Western-inspired fashion collection. The campaign has been shot by Karl Lagerfeld and was released online in May 2014. In 2014, Balenciaga released a new fragrance, Rosabotanica, with Stewart remaining the face of the brand.
Camp X-Ray, her first film of 2014, was premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 17.Her portrayal of a young soldier stationed at Guantanamo Bay was met with positive reviews from the critics.
Stewart next appeared alongside Juliette Binoche and Chloë Grace Moretz in Clouds of Sils Maria. The film had its premiere at 2014 Cannes Film Festival. For the role Stewart won a César Award for Best Supporting Actress, becoming the first American actress to receive a nomination in thirty years and the second American winner after Adrien Brody, who won César Award for Best Actor in 2003.
Stewart appeared alongside Julianne Moore in Still Alice, a drama film that had its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Her performance received praise from critics.
In 2015, Stewart appeared in Tim Blake Nelson’s Anesthesia, an indie drama about a group of New Yorkers,and costarred with Jesse Eisenberg again in American Ultra (2015).
Stewart co-stars along with Nicholas Hoult in Drake Doremus’ futuristic love story EQUALS.In 2015, Stewart was confirmed to join an untitled Kelly Reichardt film and it was reported that she will star in the next Untitled Woody Allen movie, opposite Bruce Willis and Jesse Eisenberg, marking her third collaboration with the latter and in Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Stewart will reunite with Clouds of Sils Maria director Olivier Assayas to lead his next film Personal Shopper, a ghost story that takes place in the fashion underworld.