Kristen Stewart reflected on her experiences as a young queer woman exploring her identity under the paparazzi’s lens and why she identifies with her latest character.
The eagerly-anticipated movie focuses on a young woman, Abby (Stewart), who plans to propose to her girlfriend Harper (Mackenzie Davis) while attending her annual family holiday celebration – when she finds out that her girlfriend is not yet out to her conservative parents.
Stewart admitted the story resonated with her, telling DuVall: “I’ve been on both sides of that dynamic where someone is having a hard time acknowledging who they are and the other person is more self-accepting.
” I [personally] came into the more complex aspects of myself a little bit later. I never felt an immense shame, but I also don’t feel far away from that story, so I must have it in a latent sense.”
Expanding on what drew her to the role, Stewart reflected on the first time she dated another woman.
“I was immediately being asked if I was a lesbian. And it’s like: ‘God, I’m 21 years old.’ I felt like maybe there were things that have hurt people I’ve been with.
“I didn’t like giving myself to the public, in a way. It felt like such thievery. This was a period of time when I was sort of cagey.”
Stewart explained that she felt a sense of invasion from the media even in her “straight relationships” and wanted to do everything she could to not be photographed.
She also revealed that she struggled to comprehend the pressure of representing queer people when she was younger.
“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.
“I was being hounded about labelling 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 [LGBTQ+] community.”
Now, Stewart said, she “relishes” the idea of her visibility as a queer woman helping “somebody who is struggling”.
“That s**t’s dope,” she said. “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.”
Happiest Season will be released in the US on November 25 and in the UK on November 27.