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Known just a few years ago for seeming introspective and sad, and for famously dating (then cheating on) Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart has been on the receiving end of some not-too-pleasant media attention. However, in a new interview with the New York Times, the actress emerges as more open, self-deprecating and sure of herself. In particular, the years of intense tabloid speculation over her life have led her to have severe anxiety, something she is now much better at coping with. Telling the New York Times:

"I do think that’s because of the storms I have weathered. It’s not that they make you stronger or calloused — but they do make you a human"

Additionally, she has become more open about her queer identity, arguing that it is important to tell people when she dates women because:

"it seemed like there was an opportunity to represent something really positive"

Kristen Stewart's girlfriend, Alicia Cargile:

She also took the time to throw shade on her previous relationship with Robert Pattinson:

“People wanted me and Rob to be together so badly that our relationship was made into a product. It wasn’t real life anymore. And that was gross to me. It’s not that I want to hide who I am or hide anything I’m doing in my life. It’s that I don’t want to become a part of a story for entertainment value.”

Her career and relationships onwards from Twilight has seen her try and move towards a more authentic self. In the four years since Breaking Dawn - Part 2, Stewart has moved from blockbuster star to arthouse starlet, now working with esteemed auteurs such as Woody Allen, Olivier Assayas and Kelly Reichardt. But how did she turn into someone who can now, as the article writes "enjoy the process of acting rather than simply enduring its trappings"?

Well, her change in mentality can be seen as reflected through the roles themselves, from a nervous anxiety-ridden eleven year old literally hiding in a panic room, to a laughing, comic, assured presence in Café Society. Here are six key roles that map out this key transition.

1. Breakout Role: Panic Room

Her first breakout role, at only eleven years old, was playing Jodie Foster's daughter in Panic Room, a simple thriller that was given extra formal pizazz by the fact that David Fincher was behind the camera. With veteran Foster carrying most of the dramatic heft, it is a mostly thankless role for Stewart, who in playing a diabetic daughter, exists mostly as plot motivation.

2. Worldwide Fame: Twilight

The Entire Film
The Entire Film

Panic Room may have put Stewart on the map, but it was her role as Bella Swan in Twilight that really made her a huge star, inspiring four sequels. Telling the story of an ordinary mortal who finds love with a vampire, it ignited teenagers imaginations unlike much else during the past decade. Stewart's rather lacklustre performance in the film led to her being maligned as a poor, seemingly expressionless actress, a fact remedied by her very next film:

3. Acting Chops: Adventureland

Like Twilight, Adventureland was also a love story, but its nuanced and witty script saw Stewart bring a much needed depth to her acting ability. Playing opposite a stammering Jesse Eisenberg, she showed she could bring humour, smarts and charisma to her acting, breaking her hitherto seemingly pained facial expression to reveal the charm within. With Adventureland she proved she was ready to step up to the big leagues.

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4. Challenging Herself: Camp X-Ray

Camp X-Ray hasn't been seen as much as it should, only opening in one cinema in New York, but nevertheless being widely distributed online. This is a shame because Stewart really pushes herself the extra mile here to prove she is an acting force to be reckoned with. Playing one of the only female guards in Guantanamo Bay - who gets too involved with one of the inmates - she goes all out in a performance as emotionally harrowing as it is politically resonant, giving out a small bridge of empathy between Americans who have pledged to serve their country and those Muslims who have been detained.

5. The French Love Her! Clouds of Sils Maria

Kristen Stewart made history by being the first American to ever win a Cesar Award (basically the French Oscars) for her role opposite Juliette Binoche in Clouds of Sils Maria. The film which was an examination of ageing and a meta-exploration of the perils of fame saw Stewart hold her own against The English Patient star, highly boosting her international, trans-atlantic credibility. She would work with Assayas again in Personal Shopper, which fiercely divided critics this year at Cannes.

6. Funny, Charming and Full Of Vitality: Café Society

The other film she was in this year at Cannes (because for Stewart one isn't enough) was Woody Allen's Café Society, which reunited her for the third time with Jesse Eisenberg. Set in the movie world of 1930s Los Angeles, the past being somewhat of a comfort zone for Allen, it allowed her to act like a movie star for the right reasons, in terms of sheer grace and presence, and not because of meme-able pouting a la Twilight. The only way for her now is up.

Is Oscar Glory Next?

Stewart describes acting as an “explorative, meditative, moving, beautiful, transcendent experience that brings us all closer”. Her recent films have achieved this to varying degrees of success, yet it may be with Ang Lee's upcoming Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk that she can find herself tipped for Academy glory. Of course we shall have to wait and see, but given the immense favour Lee has with the Oscar voters, it could be a real possibility.

Check Out The Trailer Below:

Whats Your Favourite Kristen Stewart Role?

Source: New York Times