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Dakota Fanning undoubtedly has one of the most impressive careers in Hollywood. She broke onto the scene at a young age and has continued to wow us with iconic roles throughout her career. Watch above to see Fanning discuss her roles from Uptown Girls all the way to present-day projects such as The First Lady.
Dakota Fanning gives a lot of interviews, yet a great deal about her life off-screen remains a mystery. The 28-year-old actor and producer knows it, too. In fact, she embraces it: “I think people are starting to catch on.” She is someone who has lived her entire life in the limelight, winning Critics Choice Awards when most 7-year-olds were busy learning second-grade arithmetic, but Fanning has managed to do what most in her situation have tried and failed to—keep her private life, well, private. “There are [things that people don’t know]—1000%,” she says. Then again, that’s sort of been the point. “I can’t tell [you], because then my mystique is gonna be lost,” she adds.
Even so, Fanning, who is returning to the screen in Showtime’s new series The First Lady, didn’t come off the least bit guarded during our recent Zoom conversation. On the contrary, the actor was as open and relaxed as ever, perched in a bright-white spot in her Los Angeles home and looking every bit the movie star—maybe even ethereal—in a crisp button-down shirt. Her hair was slicked back in a low bun, and her wrist was decorated with a vintage gold watch. “I don’t know if people don’t think I’m fun, but I think I’m a lot less serious than people may assume,” Fanning says, noting how often her own personality is confused with those of the very serious characters she portrays on-screen. “I love to have fun, I love to make people laugh, [and] I don’t take myself too seriously.”
Everything she says is true. In the span of our 80-minute call, Fanning gushes about her dedication to reality television (“I watch all the Real Housewives, always have. I love them,” she says with a passion) as well as her die-hard fandom over Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton (“Don’t [even] get me started,” she says). She then goes into story mode about the time her laptop broke on the set of her forthcoming series Ripley in Italy and her ensuing downward spiral. Relatably, Fanning can’t wind down without her favorite not-guilty-to-her TV shows, especially after a long day of shooting. “If I enjoy something, I don’t know why I should feel that guilty about it,” she says. Thus, a quest to find an Apple store anywhere near the Amalfi Coast was underway.
Intensely dedicated to her craft, prone to Bravo binging and self-deprecation, and emanating the kind of confidence only someone who’s truly figured herself out can exude, Fanning isn’t an easy person to sum up. “I’m full of a lot of contradictions,” she says. “And there’s a very, very sweet spot in the middle of these contradictions, and that’s where I live.”
Tapping into female strength and the elemental qualities of beauty, Clé de Peau Beauté has launched a new campaign featuring acting stalwarts Dakota Fanning, Diana Silvers, and Ella Balinska for a journey towards #InfiniteRadiance. With this latest promotional push, the Japanese cosmetic and skincare brand is revelling in the kaleidoscopic essence of attractiveness, something that bypasses traditional binaries and has found a footing in an individual’s innate idiosyncrasies. S/ recently spoke with Fanning about how this ambassador position aligns with her personal morals, beauty’s true interiority, as well as her most riveting red-carpet moment.
What does a brand ambassadorship mean to you?
“When I was approached about this ambassador position, I was excited because it’s a brand that I genuinely use and have loved for quite some time. It is important for me that the partnership be genuine and with a company whose message I believe in. Everyone is so wonderful that I’ve gotten to meet virtually in Japan. I was also excited to be a part of this specific ambassadorship with Diana and Ella, two other women that I admire so much. Getting to know them, the little bit that we have had a chance to so far, has been great. It’s always fun to get to share an experience with other people.”
Female camaraderie is neatly interwoven throughout this promotional push. How have you, Ella, and Diana established a unique connection throughout the process so far?
“It was really fun to finally connect in person and get to know each other a bit. I look forward to more, whether it is having dinner or getting to do some things off the set of a campaign.”
“I was a fan of both before this came about and I’m excited for what’s to come. Also, I think it’s wonderful that Clé de Peau Beauté wants this campaign to feature women who look different, allowing people to see their makeup on different skin-tones — I think that’s super important.”
Everyone’s always like, “You’re 12” and I’m like, “No, I’m 27″. People have an image of me that’s seemingly unchangeable regardless of what the truth is.’
For an entire generation of screen-watchers, Dakota Fanning was the fresh-faced child star that dominated Hollywood during the noughties. She stood by Tom Cruise as evil alien robots took over the planet in War Of The Worlds, pouted in prep school uniform in Uptown Girls and evaded kidnappers alongside Denzel Washington in Man On Fire. She even made red contact lenses a legitimate beauty look with her role as Volturi vampire Jane in the Twilight series.
But, that was 20 years ago. Fast forward to 2022 and Fanning hasn’t stepped into adulthood so much as powered boldly through it. With starring roles in The Alienist and The First Lady, an enviable spot as Global Brand Ambassador for Clé de Peau Beauté alongside contemporaries Diana Silvers and Ella Balinska, and her own production company co-founded with sister Elle all under her belt, Dakota Fanning has most definitely left the reductive label of ‘child star’ well behind.
ELLE UK caught up with the short film director, skincare lover and cinematic icon to talk all things ageing on screen, the allure of Michelle Pfeiffer and why we need to rebrand the word ‘beauty’…
Moving forward in 2022, what are you excited for in beauty?
‘I’m definitely excited to have more moments of putting on make-up and getting ready for social events that we haven’t really been able to do, so I’m crossing my fingers for that! But I also want to see more of a focus on individual beauty and uniqueness.
‘Beauty is subjective. I think some of the trends right now make everyone look the same and I want to keep seeing a lot of diversity and different ideals of beauty. Some people feel their most beautiful when they’ve got messy hair and they’re wearing pjs first thing in the morning, and I think that’s great. Other people want the full glam to bring out their beauty and that’s great too. I’m somewhere in between. I’m all about highlighting what you have and bringing out your inner beauty, and then make-up is like the icing on the cake. I like looking natural but a little dewy – you can’t speak about beauty now without using the word dewy! For me it’s more of a smart suit pant than sweatpants…’
To ring in its 40th anniversary, Clé de Peau Beauté has revealed its new faces for its brand, one of whom is none other than Dakota Fanning.
Fanning has been a household name in Hollywood for more than two decades, starring in movies such as “Uptown Girls,” “War of the Worlds,” “The Twilight Saga” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”
The beauty brand has also tapped actresses Ella Balinska and Diana Silvers, known for their roles in “Charlie’s Angels” and “Booksmart,” respectively, as global ambassadors.
“It’s an honor — not just to be asked to represent such a distinguished luxury brand, but also to take on this role with incredible women like Ella and Diana,” Fanning told WWD. “They are both such talented artists in such distinct ways, and that’s something about Clé de Peau Beauté that really speaks to me.”
“I’m excited to be able to represent a brand that I genuinely believe in. Their products are luxurious and of high quality,” Fanning continued. “Clé de Peau Beauté also puts a lot of energy and effort into giving back to young women around the world through their philanthropy.”
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The First Lady (2022)
In the East Wing of the White House, many of history's most impactful and world-changing decisions have been hidden from view, made by America's charismatic, complex and dynamic first ladies.
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