While other young women involved in the Twilight cult phenomenon might bask in the glow of the paparazzi’s flashbulbs, Nikki Reed is not one of them.
In fact, the 21-year-old Reed, known for making her mark on both television (The O.C.) and film (Mini’s First Time, Last Day of Summer, Chain Letter, Lords of Dogtown and Thirteen,) would rather find a room of her own far away from the Twilight glare.
Currently starring as a vampire named Rosalie in the Cullen clan alongside best pal Kristen Stewart, in the fantasy-romance series, she spoke candidly before jetting away to meet more adoring fans about New Moon, keeping grounded, finding time for herself, continuing her education, advice from her father, role models, her co-stars and more.
While other teenagers were heading to high school and after-school activities, Reed had the talent and gumption to write a movie at age 14. That screenplay became the movie Thirteen /which she starred in with her role model Holly Hunter.
In the small world of film, Catherine Hardwicke, who directed the first Twilight film which debuted last November, also directed/ Thirteen.
The much-anticipated second installment in the series The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which continues the tale of vampires, werewolves, love, betrayal, friendship and more opens Friday, November 20, to capacity crowds of fiercely devoted fans. They just can’t get enough of the story of a teenage girl who risks everything when she falls in love with a vampire.
What has been the best part of being in New Moon and the other Twilight films?
NIKKI REED: I guess the amount of exposure has a lot to do with it. Modern technology plays a huge role in this. I feel like we’re sort of stepping into a new chapter with this generation that happens to be the most prominent in our fan base, especially the12 to 14 year old age group. Because of twitter and face-book and everything they have access to. Also, the number of them and how many fans there are there is just an insane amount of exposure right now a'” it’s really a blessing and curse simultaneously.
The whole world is holding its collective breath for a movie that you are a major part of a'” what does that feel like?
NR: It’s weird when it’s phrased like that because it feels so undeserved. That you inevitably feel sort of disconnected. I can totally appreciate it and I can see that it is a cultural phenomenon and it is very impressive and it’s so exciting to be a part of it. But at the same time I can’t really reflect on it or define what is feels like a'” just yet.
If I gave you a day or evening to chill out and escape all the chaos of the film opening and clamoring fans what where would you go and what would you do?
NR: Probably go to the beach, maybe go bike riding or go on a hike. But believe it or not I make the time to do that no matter how chaotic it gets. That’s the key to all of this. Even yesterday, on the morning of the premiere, which was a crazy day, I went with my boyfriend on a hike for an hour and a half. The idea is to still feel normal. I have compromised, but to the best of my ability I have maintained a relatively normal lifestyle. It’s a choice that you make.
NR: It’s a choice not to let the studios buy your plane tickets when you fly so the paparazzi doesn’t find out where you are going and what you are doing. It’s a choice to go hang out of Rodeo [Drive] or go to the boardwalk and remain anonymous for the day.
Is that important to you?
NR: Yes. In between shooting New Moon and Eclipse against everybody’s advice I moved to Europe for three months. In a sense I made it a little more difficult to be out in the public and nobody knew who I was. So, on the one hand I no longer was one of the most popular cast members, but on the other hand I feel like women are recycled so much in this industry because they are so exposed that it’s good to sort of just slide under the radar. Overall, I’d like to keep working. And I don’t want the entire world to know what kind of coffee I drink and how I cook my vegetables (She laughs).
I can understand that. So what kind of advice would you give a young woman about maintaining a personal life and succeeding in this tough business?
NR: Keep going to school. Read everything you can get your hands on and spend time with your family. I think that’s the best way. When a young person, someone in my age group, continues to educate herself and continues to go to school she realizes that the world is much bigger than the world that we live in. This is a kind of bubble that we live in.
Tell me more.
NR: I look at some actors that are around my age and I just think ‘Wow, you think that this is all life has to offer. You think that this is how life is.’ But what people don’t realize is that is goes away. Everybody gets older. People are no longer interested in like Lindsay Lohan because she’s made certain life choices and now everybody knows everything there is to know about her and its not interesting any more. You have to keep an element of mystery to it.
I guess you have given this some thought.
NR: I have. Even if you’ve done a phenomenal job as a female business woman and you keep everybody’s attention piqued, you still age and time goes by and people aren’t curious any more. I guess it’s really important to stay in a good community of friends and be with your family and go to school, and realize are something special there are still 150 languages you could learn and 2.5 billion books you could read and countless cities you could visit and the world goes beyond your world.
What initially attracted you to the Twilight series?
NR: Initially the opportunity to play someone who is so physically different from myself.
Did you make close friendships on the set of the films?
NR: Kristen [Stewart] and I became quite close because her boyfriend Michael a'” I did a movie with him four years ago and we were friends and so there was an immediate connection and trust. And a bond.
Are there long periods of time when you are so busy you don’t see one another?
NR: No. We see each other as often as we can. I travel with her while she is doing press and visa versa.
What do you do when you hang out?
NR: We recently took a vacation together to Africa, which was really fun. We cook a lot. We read aloud to each other.
What kind of cooking?
NR: We bake pies.
What are your best efforts in the pie department?
NR: Kristen makes a good apple pie. I don’t eat apple pie, but I hear they are great. I make really good chocolate things. We have a good time in the kitchen.
I’ve spoken to your male co-stars Rob Pattinson Taylor Lautner and Kellan Lutz, and they all seem down-to-earth. Did that help with the overall Twilight experience?
NR: They all have different qualities. Kellan is funny and makes people laugh. Rob is a wonderful musician and he entertains us all. And Taylor has such an innate kindness. You trust him, believe him and love him. Our entire cast is made up of really wonderful people and it helps when you are making something so big like this because we are all going through it together.
Who is your female role model?
NR: Holly Hunter. [Her co-star in the film that Reed wrote Thirteen]
NR: I think she has done a really great job consistent and a respected career. She makes a living as an actress but she has a family and two beautiful children. She’s happy. They hear her name in the industry and she will always work. But people don’t aspire to buy the shoes that she wears or don’t care what kind of coat she buys.
I know you still have a passion for writing and directing. In fact, you wrote a screenplay at the tender age of 14 years old and it became the movie Thirteen. That is quite an amazing feat a lot of other women of all ages would be jealous of. How did it happen?
NR: It sounds more cocky and pretentious than it was. It was luck, it was just one of those things that happen in life. Sometimes you do something completely unintentional and it catches people’s eye. Then all of the sudden it spirals out of control. But there is no formula for that, if you know what I mean. I’ve written things since. It’s just what happens sometimes.
Do you want to keep writing?
NR: Yes. That’s just what I’d like to do is create. I want to direct. I’m going to London in a week to try my hand at directing a music video for a friend of mine.
I know you don’t like to plan, but what does the future look like?
NR: I want to be a director.
Is there a master plan for Nikki Reed?
NR: No. I’m not really sure where my life is going to go. I don’t really have a plan past like two or three days because I believe that life is too short to want to do only one thing. You can’t put all your eggs in one basket. You can’t put all your time, energy and focus in one thing. If I only wanted to be an actress what would happen if a car hit me tomorrow. I’m not saying that would happen. But even if I only had the smallest scratch on my face, people are so obsessed with perfection, not that I’m close to perfect right now so don’t misunderstand me, but I would never work again. Or if I broke my legs great I could play a handicapped girl for the next year. I don’t ever want to limit my options.
How has your family support or family advice helped you through tough or overwhelming times like the Twilight craze?
NR: My dad has been really amazing. My dad actually gave me a piece of advice that stuck with me. There was a break up between a guy and myself about three years ago and I was so concerned about what all of our mutual friends would think. I wanted them to know the truth so badly. I wanted them to know that I didn’t do anything wrong in this situation. I wanted to continue having them as friends. My father just said, ‘you have to be patient. And that people are smarter than you think they are and you don’t have to convince them of anything a'” eventually they will figure it out.’ I’ve sort of carried that with me for the last two years since we’ve been making these movies.
How did it help?
NR: Well, there’s never been anything like this. The amount of positive and negative feedback from what literally feels like the entire world is overwhelming. It would be for anybody. But, especially for a young woman in this industry. The saying is, ‘you only hear the squeaky wheel.’ But that’s really hard for me because I’m an incredibly sensitive person. And so I feel like crawling through a hole sometimes. I remember what I remember what my father said and I realize that people will grow and they will mature. And that the people who are really negative in their own right, you can’t change them. It’s also really amazing that there’s that much positivity. That is so genuine. Like when you meet people at malls and you do autograph signings. It’s real. They slept on the floor for five days to see us, even if it’s undeserved on our part. You have to take some of that in. And recognize that you are part of something that is so amazing and that has made such a connection.
Thank you, have a great flight.
By H.B. Forman