She has made 21 films, she has been nominated for 36 industry awards and won 17 of them. She has worked with big names in the business yet she’s still a balanced, down-to-earth, polite, real girl. And she’s just 17. We are talking about Dakota Fanning, the lovely actress who now graces the cover of ELLE UK February 2020. Inside the magazine, Dakota opens up and talks about her career role models, why she wishes she could be a bit more like little sister Elle, not letting the growing interest on her looks affect her, or how she made friends on her first day of college.
“I feel like I’ve lived a long time, but then I realise, ‘Oh, I’m actually only 17’,” Dakota told the magazine. What about being famous? “Famous just sounds so pretentious. Who am I to call myself that word?”, Dakota says. Speaking about the long-debated theme of young girls in fashion, the actress believes that, “I don’t think there should be an age limit on an interest, do you know what I mean?”
Dakota insists she’s a normal girl who has a balanced life. In fact, the actress confesses she went to a “completely normal high school” and that her friends are “still the core group I met when I was 14”. “My friends are, like, ‘Oh wow, I just forget that you do movies’,” Dakota says.
Dakota knew when she started college that she would undoubtedly become the center of attention. Asked whether everyone was staring at her, Dakota told Elle UK that, “It’s inevitable. But it’s only as weird as you make it. You can kind of walk in and be like, ‘Eurgh, God this is weird.’ Or, you know, you just walk in like, ‘I’m going to school like everyone else and it’s going to be great.’”
Despite her incredible success, the lovely star always tries to stay away from all things that might grab the headlines for the ‘wrong’ reason and explains that she only wants to be known for her career. Dakota confesses that, “I just want to be an actress. I don’t really do anything attention-getting.”
The 17-year-old actress is the best example that manners represent one of her family’s most important characteristics. Dakota says in the interview with Elle that she’s never late, she doesn’t correct people who get her name wrong because she doesn’t want to embarrass them, and she doesn’t send food back at a restaurant. “I’ve always been taught that the greatest trait in a person is to put other people before yourself,” the actress says. In the cover story, Dakota also admits that she’s never late because “I feel absolutely terrible. I have a real anxiety about people waiting for me.”
However, Dakota is not that naive and is aware of the fact that there is a ‘growing interest in her looks and her body shape’. ” You can’t worry about what other people think, especially if you’re a known person or sometimes you won’t be able to get out of bed,” she says. “I’m not stupid. People are always talking about this person who has an amazing body and this person who looks great and that person who doesn’t. It’s there, if you let it in. And I let it in to an extent. I just don’t let it affect the choices I make,” Dakota added.
She also speaks about her sister, Elle Fanning. “She is incredibly free spirited and totally wears her heart on her sleeve, you know exactly what she is thinking by taking one look at her. She’s just incredibly… I don’t know, I wish I could be more like her sometimes,” Dakota told the magazine.
When it comes to relationships, the actress proves once again her maturity. “I feel like people, a lot of girls, take things with guys very loosely, and I’m not like that. I mean, my parents have known each other since second grade and they’ve been married 22 years. I don’t need to be courted, but sometimes it’s nice, a little bit of that,” she explained.
Read Dakota’s full interview in the February 2020 issue of ELLE UK.
Photos courtesy of ELLE UK