smells like teen spirit
WITH THREE FILMS ALREADY DUE FOR RELEASE IN 2018 ALONE, A NEW AMBASSADORIAL ROLE WITH L’ORéAL PARIS AND A 17-YEAR CAREER AT JUST 19 YEARS OF AGE, ELLE FANNING IS THE GROWNUP GIRL-NEXT-DOOR
if there was ever a person that looked like a character from a Disney movie come to life, Elle Fanning is it. Tall, blonde and with perfect, rosycheeked skin, the 19-year-old is practically a modern-day princess, which was realised in her role as Princess Aurora in 2014's Maleficent. Since then, however, she's taken on decidedly edgier and more adult roles - made all the more impactful by her ever-youthful face – namely The Neon Demon in 2016, which older sister Dakota, 23, almost walked out of because she was so scared for her sister in the scenes. “I was so moved by her as an actor,” she told press after the screening.
It's high praise coming from Dakota, who began acting ahead of Elle and forged the path for her younger sister. Elle's movie debut came at just two years of age as the younger version of Dakota's character in I Am Sam. For a few years, Elle played Dakota's doppelganger before landing her breakout role in 2011 in JJ Abrams' sci-fi thriller Super 8. From then on Elle was a certified star.
She has appeared alongside Hollywood heavyweights like Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell and has worked for big-name directors like Abrams and Sofia Coppola – all of whom cannot speak highly enough of the young star. Kidman, who starred alongside Elle twice in the past 18 months, said: “Her work feels effortless,” while Farrell proffered that he was “not sure I've ever worked with an actress who seems to operate from such a place of deep instinct as Elle”. The fact that she's worked with Coppola not once but twice also speaks volumes.
Her latest film with the famed director is The Beguiled, in which she stars with Kirsten Dunst and Kidman. If it weren't for her face, it would be easy to forget that Fanning is still so young, which she reminded us of when admitting that filming for this movie was the first time she'd been on a set without her mum. “There was a sense
of freedom and a little rebelliousness,” she said of going solo. “It was cool to hang out and be one of the girls.” The film debuted at this year's Cannes film festival, where the youngest Fanning had two films showing (the other was John Cameron Mitchell's How To Talk To Girls At Parties).
It was a big year for Elle at the French festival as, in addition to her movies, she made her debut as the newest ambassador for beauty giant L'Oréal. The appointment was announced just ahead of the 12 day-long event and was particularly momentous, given that this year marked the brand's 20th year of partnership with the festival. Of the appointment Elle said: “Excited does not even begin to describe how thrilled I am to be a L'Oréal Paris spokesperson. L'Oréal always strikes the perfect balance between creativity and beauty,” adding on Instagram that she is “beyond proud to represent a company that celebrates women.” Her favourite product? The Lash Paradise mascara, which appears regularly on her Instagram account in an array of cutesy Boomerang posts. “I always have to keep lip balm and mascara in my purse,” she says. “Mascara is very important to me. I feel like my eyelashes can sometimes be a little rebellious so I have to get them under control, curl them and put a lot of mascara on to get them to open up.”
She's a smart choice for the brand as she brings a whole new, younger customer with her – but her fearless and often risktaking approach to her own beauty is undoubtedly what caught its attention. While she is the poster child for barely there make-up (did someone say #skinspo?), Elle often likes to experiment with vivid eyeshadows in electric blue and peach hues and she rocks statement burgundy lips like it's nobody's business. Plus, who could forget her now-iconic glitter-strewn eyes at Saint Laurent's autumn/winter 2016 show?
In this latest role, the young actress is hoping to act as a role model for girls her age. “[At 19] you're just discovering who you are. You're still discovering your style and what type of woman you want to be. It's a crucial part of growing up. So to play into that area for [young girls] is what I am most looking forward to.”
Far more mature than her 19 years of age belie, Elle possesses a rare combination of youthful ingenuity and seasoned expertise, rendering her a force to be reckoned with. A darling of Hollywood, whether acting, directing (which she hopes to pursue in the future) or fronting campaigns, she's all but guaranteed a lifelong career in the spotlight.
And one thing's for sure: it's because she's worth it. n
“EXCITED DOES NOT EVEN BEGIN TO DESCRIBE HOW THRILLED I AM TO BE A L'OREAL PARIS SPOKESPERSON. L'OREAL ALWAYS STRIKES THE PERFECT BALANCE BETWEEN CREATIVITY AND BEAUTY,”