Shailene Woodley, who turns 30 in November, began acting when she was five years old. She spoke candidly to the Observer Magazine about the pressures she’s endured throughout her 25-year acting career and some of the terrible Hollywood experiences she’s encountered.
According to Woodley, she was informed that she “shouldn’t audition anymore” as a teen because she had acne. The star felt pressured to be “more cosmopolitan, to dress a certain way, to think a certain way, to not say certain things.”
She brushed aside the critiques and continued to live her life on her own terms, from going off the grid and couch surfing to preaching about the benefits of naked sunbathing. Eventually, self-doubt crept in.
“I was so strong-headed and free-willed, so rooted in the core of who I was,” she tells the publication of that time. “But in my mid-20s, I went through a couple of years feeling insecure about the choices I was making, believing the opinions of others a little bit too much, not staying on my path.”
She experienced “massive insecurity and self-doubt” when comparing herself with other actors.
“I had a couple of years where comparison was really detrimental to my mental health,” she shared, adding that she was suddenly occupied by thoughts like: “Am I eating the right f***ing breakfast foods? Is this what I want to do? Am I this enough?”
She has subsequently learned to embrace her “hippy” image rather than being concerned with what Hollywood would say.
“I mean, I used to get offended by that,” she admitted of the label. “But now I’m just like, ‘Great, you want to call me a hippy? So many things about the hippy movement were f***ing beautiful; I’m all about it.'”
“When I was talking about these things 10 or 15 years ago, it was before people knew what environmentalism was,” she added. The most environmental thing you could do then was recycle. There wasn’t a lot of narrative around these things. So, of course, you’re going to be ostracized in some way, be labeled as ‘other,’ because it’s not mainstream… Now? Every single f***ing influencer or model or CEO is talking about this! Look, I don’t take offense at being called ‘The Hippy of Hollywood’ if it means one or two people are going to learn some things.”