After having her breakthrough performance at just age seven, Dakota Fanning has lived most of her life in the Hollywood spotlight.
The now 20-year-old actress has managed to remain grounded throughout spotlight experiences, and has opened up to Town and Country Magazine about how she’s managed life in the limelight.
Dakota has managed to keep her personal life personal, as her public relationship with model Jamie Strachan is limited to a few paparazzi photos and nothing more.
“I’m just never going to parade my personal life,” Dakota tells the magazine. “If you choose to not do it, it’s not hard to not do it.”
Dakota owes her attitude to her upbringing. “It’s very interesting to grow up with half a Southern mind-set and half a California mind-set,” she says. “Like going to high school in Los Angeles and living in New York City and going to NYU, but having a family that was very traditional. I credit my family pretty much with everything—and especially my mom.”
As for the expectations she feels from fans who have watched her grow up, Dakota says: “I’m super-happy that you’ve enjoyed watching me grow up. That’s cool,” but “because people saw me grow up, there’s this weird sort of ownership that they feel for me and that is…difficult. Because it’s not real; it’s in their minds.”
“People don’t know me as much as they think they do,” she continues. “I’ll be walking down the street and someone will say hello, and I’ll go, ‘Oh, hi!’ I’ll think I must know this person if they said hello, but then you realize, I don’t know them.” She laughs.
“For the most part people are nice and respectful. But sometimes… Once I was sitting in a booth like this one and a girl sat down.” Dakota recalls of a fan squeezing in beside her. “I’m also a real personal-space person.”
“She said, ‘Are you her? Or do you just look like her?’ I’m eating my pancakes, and I say something like, ‘Uh, I am her?’ I’m thinking, Will you just get up? I will say whatever you want!”
Dakota adds: “as uncomfortable as that was—and I can never, ever imagine doing that—I almost love having that kind of experience, too. Who is the person who would come and sit in a stranger’s booth? That is very interesting to me.”
Be sure to read Dakota’s full interview here!