You watched her trying to escape from crazed robbers with Jodie Foster when she was 12, the she’s trapped in a love triangle between a vampire and a werewolf, now she’s one of Charlie’s Angels…

Who Is Kristen Stewart

Sure, she was a child actress, but until 2008, we were all saying, “Kristen, who?” Now, her mere presence is enough to send throngs of adolescents into spastic fits of blubbering emotion thanks to the cultural phenomenon that is The Twilight Saga. The consensus might be split over Team Jake and Team Edward, but everyone’s on Team Bella.

Born in Los Angeles, California, on the 9th of April 1990, Kristen Stewart is an American actress best known for her role as Bella Swan in the Twilight movies. It seemed inevitable that she was going to be involved in the entertainment business in one way or another, with both her parents working in film and TV. Her father, who has worked for FOX, is a TV producer, while her mother is a script supervisor and director.

Forty-six films to date and a winner of numerous awards, including MTV Movie award for best female performance on three occasions, between 2009 and 2011, for her roles in the Twilight movies, and the Bafta Rising Star award in 2010. As well as film, the young actress has been involved in television, music videos and worked on the other side of the camera as a director.

From Panic To Fame

The Los Angeles native was born into a showbiz family. Her father, John Stewart, worked as a stage manager and television producer, while her mother, Jules Mann-Stewart, made her living as a script supervisor. While most children were learning to fight the urge to pick their noses, Stewart was beginning her acting career. She was cast in a non-speaking role in The Thirteenth Year when she was just eight years old. She got another bit part, in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, the following year, and then her first substantial part in The Safety of Objects with Patricia Clarkson. But in 2002, when she was 12, she landed her first major role, starring opposite Jodie Foster in Panic Room.  

For the next few years, Stewart continued working steadily in films like Cold Creek Manor, Zathura, In the Land of Women and Sean Penn’s Into the Wild, but none of them mirrored the commercial success of Panic Room.

Getting Vampy

But that all changed when she was cast to play the lead in 2008’s Twilight, based on the bestselling novel by Stephenie Meyer. Legions of teenage fans (and their middle-aged mothers) came out to see Stewart as Bella Swan, a young girl who moves to the lazy town of Forks, Washington, where she meets and falls in love with Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a vampire with a conscience. That year, she won two MTV Movie Awards and two Teen Choice Awards for Best Actress and Best Kiss with Pattinson, and the following year she won a BAFTA Rising Star Award. The film also spawned three sequels, one for each book in the series — New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn — as well as an enormous, hysterical fan following.  

It also sparked frenzied interest in her personal life and whether or not the romance between Bella and Edward trickled off screen. Both Stewart and Pattinson continue to deny that they are more than friends, but the media relentlessly reports sightings of kisses and hand-holding, and interviewers constantly hound them with questions they refuse to answer.  

Staying Grounded

Despite her newfound commercial success, Stewart kept to her artsy, indie-flick roots, starring in films like The Yellow Handkerchief, Welcome to the Rileys and playing rocker Joan Jett in The Runaways with Dakota Fanning. Her shy, sometimes awkward, demeanor makes her better suited for independent films, but, whether she likes it or not, she’s already a star.

Why is she so famous?

It’s inevitable that when we talk about Kristen Stewart, her role in Twilight will take up the bulk of the discussion. And why not, it was the first of the five films in the saga, Twilight, that bought worldwide recognition to the front door of the American Actress. The movie, released in 2008, saw Stewart play alongside Robert Pattinson, who played her vampire boyfriend and later her real-life boyfriend.

The second of the Twilight movies, New Moon, was released a year later in 2009, with the third coming in 2010 Three films that catapulted Stewart’s journey into stardom. The British-American independent drama film in 2010, Welcome to the Rileys, was followed by the first of a two-part Twilight finale, Breaking Dawn part one. Once again playing alongside Robert Pattinson in the 2011 film, Stewart got mixed and negative reviews; however, her performance was described as ‘mesmerizing’ by film critic Gabriel Chong.

A starring role in the 2012 movie Snow White and the Huntsman, where Stewart played Snow White, alongside Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman, the film got mixed reviews, with the screenplay, getting heavily criticized. The second of three films in 2012 saw Stewart play Mary Lou in the adventure drama film, On the Road. This was followed by the final chapter in the Twilight Saga, with the release of Breaking Dawn Part 2.

Several independent film roles over the next few years, which gained critical recognition, saw Stewart return to mainstream Hollywood movies in 2019 with a starring role in Charlies’ Angels.

How did Kristen Stewart make it on the big screen?

Worth an estimated $70 million, the final chapter in the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn part two, went a long way to add some zeros to the actress’s bank account. The film, although heavily criticized in some quarters, grossed close to $830 million worldwide, making it the fortieth highest-grossing film.

New Moon, released in 2009, grossed $72.2 million on its opening night, doubling the $35 million taken on the opening night of the first film. In total, the Twilight series has grossed an incredible $3.3 billion in worldwide receipts. In 2010, Kristen Stewart was named as the highest-earning actress by Vanity Fair for her film roles in 2010, earning an impressive $28.5 million.

What makes her so successful as an actress?

When your father is a TV producer and your mother a director, it’s safe to say, Kristen Stewart didn’t have to go far for advice about the entertainment industry. Starring in the 2002 film Panic Room alongside legendary actress Jodie Foster, must surely give a young actress immense confidence. Her willingness to star in independent films shows that she has the desire to try something different and not rely on ‘safe roles’

The 2010 film, Welcome to Rileys, showed just how committed the actress is to her trade. Playing a stripper in the movie, Stewart was a frequent visitor to a seedy strip joint in New Orleans. It wasn’t long before she went from watching the shows to showing her skills by gyrating on the pole. Now that’s commitment.

Summary

A stripper, a vampire, and Snow White to boot, with numerous roles in between. This actress isn’t afraid to buck the trend and try something different. Although she’ll always be remembered for her role as Bella Swan in the Twilight movies, you feel that this versatile actress has got a lot more left in the locker, so don’t be surprised if we see her top her success in those movies with another blockbuster in the near future.

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