Marie Claire (South Africa) - - FRONT PAGE - Words KARL TARO Pho­to­graphs JOE PUGLIESE

Chloë Grace Moretz is a front-row beast on a SoulCy­cle bike, ped­alling at max­i­mum re­sis­tance, mak­ing ev­ery dip, press, lift, crunch, curl and bob the in­struc­tor barks out. If they gave out Most Valu­able Cy­clist awards, Chloë would eas­ily win in to­day’s 8.30am pelo­ton. A quick towel-off and a bot­tle of wa­ter, and she looks like she could go an­other 45 min­utes. In­stead, ‘Af­ter rid­ing,’ she says, ‘we juice.’

Wear­ing black-and-white leggings, a grey T-shirt and brown-framed, rec­tan­gu­lar glasses, Chloë can walk down a Santa Mon­ica street and pass rel­a­tively un­no­ticed. With her newly blonde, shoul­der-length hair, she draws dou­ble takes from fel­low pedes­tri­ans, but by the time it clicks who she is, she’s gone. The juice bar on 2nd Street doesn’t serve food, and the salad place she likes across the street isn’t open yet. She swears she tries to eat healthy, es­chew­ing bad carbs and go­ing heavy on the veg­gies, but, ‘If there’s a deep-fried Oreo, I’m gonna get it, be­cause I want it and I’m 19.’

Fi­nally, we duck into FIG at the Fair­mont Mi­ra­mar Ho­tel, where she or­ders the corned beef hash. ‘The hash in the can is bet­ter,’ she says, ‘with that fake meat avour.’ Corned beef hash, deep-fried Oreos, what­ever, she’s earned it all, what with the 30 movies she’s ap­peared in since she was six, or the four movies she lmed last year ( Neigh­bors 2: Soror­ity Ris­ing, out in April; Brain on Fire and Novem­ber Crim­i­nals, out this year; and last month’s teens-ver­sus-aliens sci- thriller The 5th Wave), or win­ning the lead in the po­ten­tial fran­chise starter The Lit­tle Mer­maid, or be­ing named the face of Coach – ba­si­cally hav­ing a life so over ow­ing it could force a woman twice her age into a panic room.

But she’s to­tally chill to­day, in part be­cause she’s just back from an epic 15-day cross-coun­try road trip with her brother Trevor’s boyfriend, Nick. She told her busi­ness man­ager mom; her co-man­ager, Trevor; her pub­li­cists; and her agents to back off. ‘This is for me,’ she told them. ‘Don’t call me, don’t send me an email about meet­ing some di­rec­tor.’

She had just wrapped Neigh­bors 2 and, ‘I had to clear my head,’ she says. ‘I cut my hair off and said, I gotta go. I was tired of liv­ing in dif­fer­ent ho­tel rooms and work­ing 15-hour days. I just needed time to my­self.’ And with 2016 look­ing like an­other mon­ster year and her mov­ing to Lon­don to shoot The Lit­tle Mer­maid, can’t a girl get a minute to her­self?

So six months af­ter get­ting her driver’s li­cense, Chloë hit the road in her Mercedes GLE 450 from Charleston, South Carolina, to Cal­i­for­nia. She and Nick had no itin­er­ary, no ho­tel reser­va­tions, no plans at all, re­ally, but to drive un­til they were tired, sleep, and then drive some more.The trip was go­ing great – the Smoky Moun­tains were ‘stun­ning’, Nashville ‘kind of sucked’ be­cause she couldn’t get into any con­cert venues be­cause she’s un­der 21, the Mex­i­can food in Colorado Springs was ‘the bomb’ – un­til Nick came down with a death u some­where in Colorado and Chloë had to drive the next 500 miles on her own.

It’s the kind of road trip, she says, that wouldn’t be pos­si­ble if she had a boyfriend. ‘I had no ties,’ she says. ‘It was me and the road, that’s it. I can’t take re­la­tion­ship pres­sure. I’ve had that. Like, I’m on set work­ing 14 hours, giv­ing my all and try­ing to be the best I can be, but then I’m get­ting no sleep at home be­cause I’m ght­ing on the phone with you? And then I’m get­ting two hours’ sleep, and I have to go to the set tired? I can’t do that.’

Her prob­lem meet­ing guys is that there aren’t ones she likes who are at her par­tic­u­lar level of fame and suc­cess. ‘ Dat­ing re­ally just con­sists of un­der­stand­ing, and it’s re­ally hard to un­der­stand this world. I’m gone nine months out of the year; I’m kiss­ing guys for a role on set. It’s a very weird world to com­pre­hend. I’m the only girl or boy at my age who’s, you know, re­leas­ing three movies a year – who’s re­ally killed it in a lot of ways. It’s dif cult. I don’t want to date older peo­ple, be­cause I’m 18 and older peo­ple are more se­ri­ous. Then I kind of re­alised, I’ll go on dates, why not? And that’s kind of how I am right now. I’m not look­ing for a while. At least till I’m like 23.’ (She’s re­port­edly de­nied dat­ing friend Brook­lyn Beck­ham.)

Rested, t and tanned, Chloë sits back and ponti cates with a world­li­ness that would be freak­ish from any other 19-year-old.From her,it just sounds like the wis­dom of the sea­soned pro­fes­sional she has be­come. She’s ercely ar­tic­u­late and in­tel­li­gent, and a vo­ra­cious reader. She was raised Bap­tist, in At­lanta, sit­ting in the se­cond pew at church each Sun­day. Her mother, a nurse prac­ti­tioner, was a de­cid­edly icon­o­clas­tic Bap­tist, with friends in the gay and trans com­mu­ni­ties, so when two of Chloë’s four brothers came out,the fam­ily took it in its stride.It also helped that they had re­lo­cated to Los An­ge­les by then. Her par­ents’ di­vorce, ac­cord­ing to Chloë, ‘tough­ened me up a lot. It made me harder on my­self.’ By choice, she has no con­tact with her plas­tic sur­geon father and doesn’t say more about the pre­cip­i­tat­ing event of the di­vorce other than that it was ‘as heavy as you can get to dis­man­tle a fam­ily, for sure. He just left, so it’s like you have to fend for your­self. It was a col­lec­tive ef­fort to piece it back to­gether. It also made me cal­lous. When you’re be­trayed by some­one who is a bloodline, you pro­tect your­self at all costs. For a long time, I did that too much. I wasn’t let­ting any­one in.’

Her rst ma­jor lm role, at age seven, was in The Ami­tyville Hor­ror, and she has since worked her way up movie by movie un­til she be­gan land­ing star­ring roles, be­com­ing the ‘face on the bill­board,’ as she puts it, in young adult hits such as If I Stay, hor­ror lms such as Let Me In, and ar­guably her break­through, play­ing Hit Girl in Kick-Ass, a role she was uniquely pre­pared for by a half decade of gym­nas­tics. (Nine months of ju­jitsu train­ing with Jackie Chan’s stunt crew No prob­lem.) ‘I’m in­cred­i­bly self-con dent in my move­ments. I was just pure mus­cle at that age 12. I was able to do like 200 pull-ups. It was nuts.’

She re­tains that phys­i­cal swag­ger in The 5th Wave, as a high schooler named Cassie who has to teach her­self how to kick se­ri­ous alien-in­vader ass to res­cue her lit­tle brother. She wasn’t al­ways this self-con dent, though. There was a pe­riod, from ages 14 to 16, while lm­ing Car­rie and new to In­sta­gram, when she was ob­ses­sively read­ing – and be­liev­ing – crit­i­cisms on so­cial me­dia. ‘I felt fat; I felt not pretty. I felt like I didn’t re­ally know who I was. I was con­fused; I was scared. I had bad acne. I felt in­cred­i­bly in­se­cure.’ She was, in other words, a typ­i­cal teenager deal­ing with typ­i­cal teenage angst. ‘On Car­rie, the other ac­tors who were play­ing teenagers were in their 20s, and that’s a big dif­fer­ence in terms of ex­pe­ri­ence and ma­tu­rity,’ says Ju­lianne Moore, who played Car­rie’s mother and whom Chloë counts as a men­tor. ‘What is strik­ing is how will­ing she is to en­counter it headon. Even if she’s anx­ious, she’s not some­one who will re­treat from it; she goes to­ward it.’

And most teens fret­ting over a pim­ple or that their arms look big don’t hap­pen to be the lead in a ma­jor movie. Chloë never showed the world any of that stress and she has out­grown some of that ado­les­cent angst. She can sep­a­rate ‘work Chloë’, who shows up to set on time and knows her lines and goes to pre­mieres,from ‘home Chloë’,who hams it up with her brothers, can name the best place to nd dough­nuts at 2.30am, and skate­boards. ‘I’m so free now,’ she says. ‘I don’t know what hap­pened, but when I turned 17, this huge weight was lifted off my shoul­ders. I don’t worry about what peo­ple say about me. I know who I am, who I want to be, what I want to por­tray my­self as, what I want peo­ple to think of me.’

What drew her to the role of Cassie in The 5th Wave was the fact that she ‘starts out a lit­tle girl and be­comes this badass.’ Sounds like a per­fect t.

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