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- Published 26.11.13
|Lawrence as Katnis Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, that hits screens on December 6|
Are we having a half or full stack of pancakes?” It’s not a question I expect to be asked by an A-list actress. Then again, Jennifer Lawrence isn’t quite there yet. It’s January 2012, The Hunger Games is about to be released and we’re sitting in a Santa Monica greasy spoon discussing how the 21-year-old actress plans to deal with the kind of cultish stardom that turned Kristen Stewart into a sullen-faced enfant terrible and condemned Emma Watson to a state of arrested development for a decade.
As the embodiment of Suzanne Collins’ underdog heroine, Katniss Everdeen, Lawrence was on the precipice of the kind of global celebrity that would put most young actresses off their breakfasts. A week later, her longbow-wielding image would be on bus stops across the world and blown up onto a 20ft hoarding above Sunset Boulevard, challenging motorists below to ignore the new girl in town.
It’s the kind of attention that would turn even the humblest ingenue into a brat of billboard proportions; I’ve seen it happen. Yet somehow, by the end of our breakfast (she had the Ranch Breakfast along with the pancakes) I knew this wouldn’t happen to her.
“I’ve never understood why people have to become brats when they become successful,” she mused. “I think you should work harder when you become successful because people are expecting more from you. Success doesn’t mean that you’re allowed to work less and treat people like shit.”
Here she gave an exasperated sigh. “I’m not really supposed to say shit. Now I’ve gone and said it twice.”
It was clear from the start of our conversation that Lawrence had been given a list of habits and personality traits to cut out. Character’s a dangerous thing, which, along with wit (too easily misconstrued) and irreverence (professional suicide), is best left to talk show hosts and idiosyncratic actors of your grandparents’ generation.
Almost two years on, Lawrence has let her image sculptors down on all three accounts. As a consequence, she’s turned into one of the most powerful and likeable players in Hollywood.
SHE PLAYS THE GAME BUT...
It all began with her tripping over the train of her Dior dress on her way to collect the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Silver Linings Playbook at last year’s Academy Awards. In a land of charming, meticulously choreographed pseudo-gaffes, this one stood out as genuine. She may be an ex-model, but there’s something touching about the Kentucky-born star’s inability to pull off couture as seamlessly as every other starlet.
She always looks beautiful but whether it’s in Alexander McQueen or Dior — at the London and LA premieres of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire — there’s a sense that the actress isn’t quite as comfortable in designer frocks and viciously telegenic make-up as her stylists would want her to be. She plays the game as much as she has to, but refuses to read out acceptance speeches penned by her publicist “that don’t make sense” — as she told the LA Critics Awards audience back in January.
It’s off the award ceremony podium, emboldened by professional success, that Lawrence is at her most coherent. “Why do you want to discuss my weight?” she asked one TV interviewer. “Would you feel comfortable if I asked you how much you weigh?” Because in the body-dysmorphic world of showbusiness, someone has decided that this size eight actress qualifies as a big girl. That she should have become a “body confidence advocate” for publicly stating the blindlingly obvious, such as “women shouldn’t have to go hungry to make other people happy” — as she told Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer — or insisting that “we have the ability to control this image that young girls are going to be seeing” — as she told Newsnight — is something she would doubtless find absurd.
SHE REDEEMS HERSELF WITH CLOWNISH RED CARPET BEHAVIOUR
Just when she’s in danger of becoming the industry’s baby-faced moral arbiter, Lawrence redeems herself with the kind of clownish red carpet behaviour that Hollywood could do with a whole lot more of. Whether it’s making faces behind Sarah Jessica Parker’s ludicrous headdress at the Met Gala in May, being caught on live TV muttering “Is your rash doing okay?” to co-star Josh Hutcherson or giving as good as she gets with Jack Nicholson during an interview at a post-Oscar party (Nicholson: “You look like an old girlfriend of mine”; Lawrence: “Do I look like your next girlfriend?”), this is one woman who is treating the Hollywood machine with all the discourtesy it deserves.
Back in that greasy spoon cafe nearly two years ago, Lawrence admitted that looking at the likes of Kristen Stewart only made her think one thing: “I would never want to be that famous. I can’t imagine how I would deal with it if all of a sudden my life was pandemonium,” she shrugged. Pretty well, as it turns out.
Christian Dior Couture in London
Click factor: The all-new J’Law! Gasp! Bye bye girlie locks and hello boyish pixie! We heart how her new hairdo highlights her sexy back! At the world premiere of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in London’s Leicester Square, she wore a dramatic draped white gown. A bling and beautiful side panel reminded us of a candy store. And then she struck this pose! Double drool.
Alexander McQueen in Madrid
Click factor: For a photocall in Spain, the senorita took a break from couture glam and chose a youthful and trendy crop-top with a matching pencil skirt. She made quite a playful statement with those fab abs on peek-a-boo display. Classic colours like royal blue + white and the silhouette made it oh-so-now. Plus points for the bi-colour Jimmy Choos. Dark lacquers and glossy lips seal her deal.
Christian Dior Couture in Rome
Click factor: The face of Miss Dior did full justice to this Dior vanilla dress. The classic wrap-around bodice offsets the modern high-low hemline. Swept-back locks and watermelon puckers complete her old-school Hollywood look.
Christian Dior Couture in Paris
Click factor: The vampy get-up! We love how this Oscar-winner mixes things up. The non-mainstream lips, smokey eyes and chic hairdo, she steals the show in this dramatic black dress. And that teasing side boob (inset) completes her bad girl look.
Christian Dior Couture in LA
Click factor: OMG SEXY! Who knew the sweet girl of fashion could be this sexy girl too! Not afraid to take risks, the 23-year-old stylista slips into a sheer grey evening gown over a black bodysuit. Taking the less-is-more route, J’Law goes jewel-free. Boy, does she know how to tickle our style buds!