Shailene Woodley: ‘I struggle to balance my natural connection to the earth’

We don’t cover actress Shailene Woodley all that often. She was nominated for several major awards last year, for The Descendants, and she’s only 21 years old right now. Last year, Shailene made some annoying comments and she often sounded rather full of herself, but most people gave her a pass because of her age and because she actually managed to pull off a big role, so people were like “Well, at least she can act.”

Shailene was hired to play Mary-Jane Watson in Spider-Man 2, and she spent a few months in New York filming with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. And then… last month producers announced that she was being cut out of the film. And when Mary-Jane Watson is introduced in the third Spider-Man film, the producers are going to completely re-cast the role. OUCH. That’s a major burn, especially for someone so young. But! She does have the lead role in Divergent, which should be a decent franchise for her – probably not as big as The Hunger Games or Twilight, but it will give her a lot of name-recognition.

That’s all backstory for this Marie Claire feature with Shailene. Tell me if you think she comes across like a really young, self-satisfied hipster:

On the word ‘celebrity’: “I don’t use it to describe myself. In high school, a lot of my friends didn’t know I was an actor because I didn’t talk about it. They would come to school and be like, ‘Wait, were you on My Name is Earl last night?’ It was something I kept under wraps because I did it for myself and not for anybody else.”

On what she struggles with: “I struggle in real life trying to balance my natural connection to the earth and the somewhat materialistic side of the industry I am in…Anything over a certain amount of money freaks me out.”

On what she would do without acting: “If I didn’t have acting, I would be just as happy. I would probably be an herbalist, or maybe I would open a fruit stand on a Hawaiian island.”

[From Marie Claire]

“I struggle in real life trying to balance my natural connection to the earth and the somewhat materialistic side of the industry I am in…” For the love of God. And I always, always hate when actors romanticize the life of peasants… “Oh, I would be an herbalist, or I would open a lovely little fruit stand, if only I wasn’t so famous and rich, then I too could be of the earth!”

Photos courtesy of Peter Ash Lee/Marie Claire and Entertainment Weekly.

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121 Responses to “Shailene Woodley: ‘I struggle to balance my natural connection to the earth’”

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  1. kennedy says:

    Small (or big) correction: She was never nominated for an Oscar :) And thank god, because as much as I like her, The Descendants was the most over hyped film of 2011.

  2. Bopit says:

    Right… because for the 99% of the world’s population that are not actors/actresses… we are herbalists and Hawaiian fruit stand owners. Yep… that’s what us 9-5ers do to make ends meet.

    • magpie says:

      I don’t like her either! I really don’t think she’s pretty at all (sorry harsh) and she comes off as really full of herself. Really, I’m already tired of her and she just got here!

      Really wonder why she was cut out of Spiderman. Ideas anyone?

      • Allie says:

        I heard she won’t be replaced, just that the character itself won’t show up until the next film

      • SheilaSheilaSheila says:

        Really? I’ve never seen her act, but I think her comment about balancing a connection to nature in a grossly materialistic society is probably a fairly universal dilemma? I spend way too much time surfing the interwebs when I should probably be out hiking the hills & enjoying the bounty of my beautiful state. That’s probably compounded by the industry she’s in?

        Anyway. Comments today are a little, tiny bit on the harsh side. I’m going to say… Let’s cut her some slack. She might well end up at that fruit stand and it could be the best thing that happens to her, if it’s where her heart lies.

      • Liv says:

        Don’t like her, too. There are really too many young actors and actresses who just talk crap.

        And I think they actually replaced her as Mary-Jane, Sarah Gadon is said to take over. Means that she must really have sucked.

  3. mel says:

    Honestly these young actors need to go through some sort of training program to learn how to interview and not come across so freaking ridiculous. Oh me…Oh my…I make to much money and its stressful. I instantly dislike her.

  4. Sloane Wyatt says:

    She’s young and privileged. Shailene doesn’t have any idea about how it is in real life to struggle to survive. Volunteer work would clear that right up.

  5. mel says:

    The sad part is I actually have friends whose kids are like this…”I’m so hipster and soooooo cool…so beyond materialism..but mom I need an Apple computer…leather cross body purses…$200 boots…so that I can also appear way too cool…ok. So what about a n actual job/career…oh you are a photographer…of course you are. I preach to my daughters every day you are going to have to work hard to have a lifestyle like the one you live in currently…so get it together.

  6. Katie says:

    Eh, she’s a kid. She’ll look back on this in 10 years and cringe. I appreciate what she’s trying to say, though. We’ll see if money still freaks her out if/when she lands a franchise or achieves A-list name recognition.

    • growingpains says:

      I agree. I’m not sure what’s with the harshness against this girl. She seems unsophisticated and wet behind the ears, so what. Maybe she really does want to be an herbalist! She hasn’t accumulated enough years of living to have anything better to say to satisfy everyone? Judge much?

    • heatheradair says:

      Geez, if half of the things I said when I was 21 were committed to immortality in magazines, interviews, etc, I’d look like an enormously self-absorbed, out-of-touch idiot. And that’s WITHOUT “fame” and “George Clooney movies” under my belt.

      Basically: it can’t be easy to have adult-level expectations of social grace applied to famous kiddos who are just out of high school — they haven’t learned to keep their mouths shut, yet :)

      • mel says:

        Regardless…its a completely self absorbed attitude…not all 21 year old are like this….additionally…She chose this field….no one is forcing her to act…the number one reason she is doing this is for the money….if not then why not be a herbalist…or own a fruit stand? You are giving her WAY to much of a pass.

      • heatheradair says:

        nah, i’m sticking to my guns — just like I tend to defend Miley and other kiddos who end up saying ridiculous things in interviews.

        they’re movie stars, we expect too much poise out of them. they haven’t been “socialized” the same way us plebeians have — we’ve been through the young adult “trial by fire” years that create well-adjusted adults. *most* of these famous “starlets” haven’t had the same exposure, so I don’t expect quite the same level of “down-to-earth-ness.”

      • MOPine says:

        @heatheradair, I completely agree with you. Man, I cringe when I think of some of the utterly stupid and self-absorbed, all-knowing crapola that flowed from my mouth at that age. I grew up to be an attorney working for Uncle Sam maybe (hopefully) doing some good for our country.

    • Bubbles says:

      Oh, again with the she’s young comments. she’s 21, not 12.

      • Katie says:

        While she’s legally an adult, she’s also at that age where she wants to be taken seriously, and she’s obviously trying to separate herself from her peers, people like Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, etc. I don’t know how old you are, but assuming you’re at least 26, are you the same person now as you were at 21? It’s not like I’m giving her a free pass for doing something stupid. She just said something pretentious. She’s young and she’s never had to worry about paying bills, and she’s surrounded by sycophants. I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt because she seems to be a little more grounded than her peers.

      • Bubbles says:

        I’m 20 and quite frustrated that all people my age in Hollywood act crazy like Miley or hipsterish like her. The only normal people I can think of are JLaw and Emma Watson.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        “only normal people I can think of are JLaw and Emma Watson”

        Yes, but Emma said she only owns 8 pairs of shoes. I think in their own way, all of these ladies are trying to make a concious effort to NOT buy into the sycophants and materialism. How Shailene is approaching it might sound hokey, but at least she is TRYING not to become spoiled. I have to give credit for that.

      • blaize says:

        I don’t consider smoking some weed from time to time and experimenting with different looks to be ‘crazy’ behavior, especially for a young pop star. To me crazy is addiction to hardcore drugs, getting into fights, alcoholism, dui’s, etc. (Like Lindsay Lohan and some other stars).

      • LilyRose says:

        peeing in a mop bucket.

  7. Lisa says:

    Eh, she seems no more clueless to me than plenty of other people her age who aren’t rich and famous.

  8. Nerd Alert says:

    Sigh…Divergent is a way better book than Twilight but not as good as Hunger Games.

    There are four more movies coming out about books like these, and probably ten of these types of series that are popular now. It makes me think I should scrap my whole idea and make some carbon-copy fantasy where a 16-year-old girl either has super powers or is brave in a dystopian future world. That’s what sells, but it’s damn annoying writing at a 16 year old level.

    Anyway, as for her comments…yeah whatever. Talk to me when you’re 30 and see if you still want a fruit stand.

  9. bohemia says:

    The movie itself was nominated for an Oscar.

  10. Daisy says:

    And she’s playing Hazel Grace too. Sigh.

  11. alison8761 says:


    She is young though. And at least her self-involved phase is “look how knowledgeable and evolved i am” and not “I can do whatever I want to whomever I want whenever I want.” y’know?? she seems to be really eco-friendly and such, so it could be worse. but take yeah maybe take it down a notch.

  12. Maya says:

    Eh, she’s only 21. She’s entitled to be a bit ridiculous and eye roll-inducing. She’ll grow out of it in a few years.

  13. Susie says:

    Well, when I heard that she was cast as MJ, I did a double take. If you have ever followed Spidey in the comix, MJ is a BABE- really gorgeous. Shailene is pretty , but nowhere near what MJ is. It was a huge miscast and I am glad they are fixing it
    That being said, she is quite typical of over-privileged, deluded young Hollywood. They have never really worked a “real” job or know what really back breaking labor is. They also have no concept about how most people struggle to make ends meet. But as with most of over-hyped Hollywood, they find out when they cease being flavor of the month

  14. Talie says:

    She’ll be insufferable if Divergent does well, which I’m not sold that it will. She gave a very odd interview to MTV about how she was motivated to take that role so she could talk about issues she cared about like: People being microchipped?!

  15. >. says:

    I was 21 not too long ago and I don’t remember ever being this….clueless.

  16. magpie says:

    She’s 21, not 15. She shouldn’t get a pass for “being a kid”.

  17. Bea says:

    Out of the mouths of babes. Silly, self-important babes.

  18. Caity says:

    You should check out her twitter – she’s a really hippy, very into health foods and things, I think she’s vegan or at least vegetarian, she was always preaching about magical nuts or lettuce or mushrooms.

  19. blaize says:

    I don’t like her either, because she said something self-righteous in an interview with seventeen 2 or 3 years ago that pissed me off a little. If a celebrity says something that I consider problematic, I tend to get a little judgy about it and hold a grudge about it for a few years. (For example: I think it will be decades before I forgive Serena Williams for what she said). I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees her as full of herself.

    As for her comments, that was a bit of a privileged thing for her to say, but I’d still take being a regular person over being a celebrity.

  20. kim says:

    Divergent was a mediocre book. Her abc family show was not a new concept; reba was better. Her comments just make her sound like the hippie at heart she probably is. Still don’t care for her personally, but that’s what I got from that.

  21. Sam says:

    Lady, I have been to Hawaii. I have visited the fruit stands in Hawaii. And I can assure you, there is nothing organic about them. And the people running them are not glamorous, or rich, or even well-off. What a twit.

  22. GUEST says:

    No one gave kstew a pass at 21…assume that is what she was trying to channel with the vans/evening gown look. I don’t get it with this girl…plain plain plain and that ABC family show ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    • thebutlerdidit says:

      I was waiting for someone to mention that horribly acted abomination “Life of The American Teenager.” It is god-awful! And this raspy voiced dolt sucks on it. I give the youth some pass, and famous folks in general, I’ve worked with a good many. They are either dumb as hair, or just so steeped in their own hype, or both, they really can’t relate. Ugh, this girl.

  23. Jennifer12 says:

    Currently struggling to control screaming with laughter. BAHAHAHAHA. *peasant loses battle*

  24. Tiffany :) says:

    I am clearly in the minority, but I have never heard her say anything that i find pretentious or annoying. (Haven’t read everything about her, though).

    With her comments about nature, I feel like I know what she means. Some people just feel more alive with fresh air! That isn’t a judgement on anyone, that is just her preference.

    I think a lot of people have the conflict where they would rather be outside, but because of real life responsibilities you have to work instead. Her acknowledging that doesn’t make her pretentious or condescending.

    I am seriously wondering what all the outrage is about.

  25. irishserra says:

    I only ever saw her in that show (I could only tolerate a few episodes before I stopped watching it) where all the kids were taking turns having sex with one another. I can’t remember the name right now. Anyhoodle, I thought she was so annoying and sometimes thought that all of the characters, including hers, were a little melodramatic. But then aren’t most kids that age? I don’t know. Anyway, I guess that was my long drawn-out way of saying I don’t care much for her and am a little disappointed that she is playing in Divergent, because I just read the book and I totally can’t picture her in the role.

  26. Isa says:

    She’s supposed to be a good actress? She must have gotten better because Secret life was horrible and awkward.

  27. Lucy says:

    Some friends of mine who’re from Chicago have been working as extras in Divergent for the last months (the filming is about to wrap) and had to share several scenes with her. They all said she was a little bit shy, but extremely friendly, humble and professional. The Spiderman thing has nothing to do with her btw, they just wanna focus on Emma Stone’s character. She may have to be recast, tho, since her schedule seems pretty full for the next couple of years. And in my opinion, yeah, Secret Life was pretty lame, but to me it was more about the script and the plotline, I would have disliked the show with any other actress in her role. I haven’t read every interview she’s every given, but she never really came off as full of herself to me. I’m pretty sure she’s FAR from being another Miley/Bieber/KStew/Goop.

  28. user00005 says:

    She has amazing breasts. Best part of that Descendants film.

  29. Zozo says:

    Yikes…very pretentious! (LOL!). Woodley is a good, not great actress (the woman has almost NO charisma in her performances). Woodley also needs to get better at interviews, because right now, yeesh, her interviews are PAINFUL. I say this because I have no desire to see Divergent and I LOVE dystopian dramas but Woodley and her total lack of charisma turn me off.

  30. F5 says:

    She’s Natalie Portman-esque pain in the azz type.

  31. the artful dodger says:

    How would 95% of you answer a question like that? Would you say you wanted to work in the shoe department at Walmart or some desk jockey for some insurance company? No you’d all come up with some asinine dream job just like she would.

  32. notcreativeenoughtohaveausername says:

    OK, I have lurked here for years, and I really don’t know why I am coming out of the woodwork to comment on Shailene Woodley, who I couldn’t care less about. That said, the girl is 21. If someone had recorded all the pretentious ridiculous pseudo-intellectual conversations that I had when I was in college, s/he would have massive amounts of blackmail material. So I tend to give her a pass for a few more years at least.

    As an aside, thank you all for the hours of entertainment you have provided me as I lurked.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      You need to be *offended* to play with us.

      If you’re not *outraged* by something (and it can be ANYTHING) then you must go back to lurking.

      There are rules.

      • notcreativeenoughtohaveausername says:

        I was mildly offended by the excoriation of the 21-year old for what seemed a relatively minor infraction. If it even was an infraction, as that quote completely lacks any context. I’ll go have some caffeine to see if that helps in working up the requisite outrage.

    • Sarah says:

      Your response to the O.Kitty was gorgeous. Lurk no more, lady. We need to hear more from you.

      And I agree: this seems like an extraordinarily minor thing to scorch her with such vitriol. She’s pointing out the issue of connecting to nature in an increasingly technological, materialistic, urban world.

      Hasn’t anyone on here read those studies about how much more time young people are spending indoors these days? She threw out some irreverent ways of staying connected to nature. Like… fruit… and… herbs… and stuff.

      I’ve got a young cousin her age who wanders around Hawaii doing odd jobs and hanging out with hemp-wearing hippie musician-type people. That would sound pretty appealing to me if I was spending a lot of time in Beverly Hills. That place is like a shiny, vacant, paper-thin facade of money & Gucci & Botox & Stepford wives. Visiting there scared me almost as much as the thought of becoming a Scientologist does. Like that scene in “A Wrinkle in Time” where all the perfect children are playing ball and their mothers all open their doors at the same time & call the children inside & a big bodiless brain is controlling everything. No soul. Just Robert Palmer back-up dancers shining their glossy lips and boobs at you. *Shudder*

      Get me to a Hawaiian fruit stand, stat!

  33. MJ says:

    I don’t see what’s so self-important about her comments at all. Does that mean I’m a hipster? I have no idea who this girl is, but I really don’t get what’s so offensive.

  34. Ai says:

    I think she is an ok young actress but totally miscast for Tris in Divergent, Hazel and Mary Jane!!!

  35. Chrissie says:

    She’s horrible. She’s not pretty (that’s why she was cut from Spiker Man – the producers were worried that she wouldn’t attract any fan boys) and can we please not forget that she was on the Secret Life of the American Teenager! She needs to sit down.

    • Lucy says:

      Uh, that’s not why she was cut from it. Actually it’s not even an official thing, at least not yet. And tell me, how should she look like in order to be pretty enough for you?

      • thebutlerdidit says:

        She was cut because early testing focus groups hated her. I actually do know, friend conducted one of them in Atlanta. I personally think she’s pretty cute. And definitely not joking in interviews, guys. This is her (lacking) personality, and if she’s going to keep getting big roles, needs to grow one ASAP.

  36. Emily C. says:

    Typical things for a 21-year old to say, and a lot better than most celebrities of any age. You actually can make pretty good money as an “herbalist” if you know what you’re doing — people will pay very high prices for all-natural 100% organic herbs, flowers, lotions, etc.

    The fruit stand thing is hilarious though. Honestly, she sounds like she’s taking the piss. Or is smoking some good stuff. Or both.

  37. StaCat1 says:

    I never thought she was that strong of an actress..still don’t get the hype. There is not much range. She is only 21 –so hopefully she will grow into it.

    But she does come across as pretty self-important (the false modesty and I would be just happy on the fruit stand stuff is a bit nauseating- like that bit hasn’t been played by many a starlet)

    We’ll see if she stands the test of time.

  38. kk2 says:

    I think people are being too harsh. Its not even one of the top 50 most eyeroll-inducing things a young celeb has said this year to date. Would it be any better if she said she wanted to be a marine biologist or a doctor, given that she’s a 21 yr old w/o a college education whose knowledge about those careers would be limited to sea world and gray’s anatomy, respectively? Not to me. I checked out her twitter and wiki pages. Seems like a harmless hippie type, child of a guidance counselor and a school principal. She was good in Descendents, even if movie overall was overrated. Reserving judgement on her as Tris.

  39. Maxine says:

    I JUST had this conversation with a friend who said her child is going through the terrible twos. . . it’s lasted about 10 years, but still the “terrible twos.” She jokes about it but basically said she wishes she’d paid attention to how her child was when he was really young because it was a window into his personality that she should have taken more seriously.

    Same thing here. I work with kids as young as 1 and as old as 22 and I can tell you something. You can see into someone’s character from when they are super young. I guarantee you how this YOUNG LADY is now and how she perceives the world at 21 will be how she is at 31 and 91 unless she either has some life altering experience or well, maybe a good therapist.

    Youth has nothing to do with what you value in life and what you hold

    And at 21 if someone had asked me that question, well I was already in graduate preparing for a career helping abused children which is what I do now so. . . . not every 21 year old would answer it the way she did.

    • Emily C. says:

      People’s brains are not fully developed until they’re 25. And people change drastically over time. Especially between childhood and adulthood! Sheesh.

      • Bijlee says:

        I don’t know. I think there’s some truth to what she’s saying. It has been suggested that part of who we are has to do with genetics, so personality traits could be affected. We just word it differently at different ages. Anyways all these Hollywood buttheads are pretentious.

      • Maxine says:

        See that’s the thing – I just don’t think people do change drastically. People’s core value systems and personalities develop very early in life. Honestly think about it. Say you go to class reunions and see people after 5, 10 25 years, yeah you might have that 1 or 2 person who is COMPLETELY different than how they were when they were younger, but usually you come away thinking . . . . wow, most of these people really haven’t changed. We’d all like to think that we evolve so much and people do and evolve but often into MORE of what they already are, not into a different person or personality. Let’s all come back in 10 years and see where she is. . . . I think it she won’t be much different.

        In Hollywood, one person I think has really evolved AND matured is Drew Barrymore. But I think she had a core value system that was interrupted by pain and drug use so I don’t know that counts. But for every Drew Barrymore, you’ve got a John Mayer or Halle Berry.

  40. Meanchick says:

    Fruit stand? In Hawaii? B***h please.

  41. Hakura says:

    She’s just coming off incredibly pretentious, w/a very ‘Holier Than Thou‘ attitude.

    I don’t know anything about her, & never seen her acting. But she’s just annoying me right now. As mentioned earlier, this just isn’t my week to be magnanimous…

  42. huh? says:

    I guess she wants to sound “hip”, but at 21 she is old enough to know better…on a more shallow note, what is up with her hairline- oddly low

  43. Love4u says:

    The worst part is that Summit will push Divergent down our throats and we will have to listen months of her annoying personality all over the media. Seriously there is nothing especially about this series or this girl. I will be shocked if this is a hit. It will probably make some money if critics like and has good acting but the story is quite boring and so are the leads.

  44. Annya says:

    i still don’t see the hype she gets. She was horrible on that awful show but i guess she gets free pass on that but in the Descendant she was playing a troubled rebel teenage something even Stewart can play decent and despite George Clooney promoting the hell out of the movie she couldn’t get a supporting nomination. Suddenly she is getting major roles without even auditioning. Isn’t official but she is pretty much gone from TASM franchise, Divergent is a boring franchise which will only make people dislike her because she will be all over are faces for months promoting this movie. Her best shot would be her indies but she still has to prove she can act beyond annoying teenagers roles. Shailene is the type of actress who would be much better acting in indies than big movies. Takes a lot to sell blockbusters and i don’t think she can.

  45. Dimebox says:

    If Shailene were my daughter niece etc., I would first tell her in a loving way that she was full of shit, then advise her to come balance her natural connection to the earth by weeding the garden with me. Or work in an actual fruit stand FFS for a day, lugging crates, not just posing and flirting with customers. Natural connections to the earth usually require a shower afterwards, not just looking inward and sighing.

  46. dj says:

    SW was good in the Descendants but I liked the movie. What I noticed in the movie is what a natural beauty she is without (much) if any, makeup on. SW is a pretty good actress not terrible like KS. She sounds like she is intelligent enough and trying to learn and grow. Sounds pretty grounded for a 19 year old.

  47. MorganM says:

    I am old enough to remember real hippies in the early 70s. They weren’t rich and didn’t wear nice clothes, like the fake hippies of today. And talking about “mother earth” won’t make you hip, or a hippie or anything else.

  48. Therealtj says:

    I like here much better than most young Hollywood. I think she is grounded and don’t think she is into herself. She even worked at American Apparel while on secret life.

  49. Daddy says:

    I’m glad she at least had a conscience about the environment. I’m surprised her publicist let them print this though – she sounds vain, vapid, and bratty. Hopefully she wisens up in the future.

  50. dd says:

    Her real struggle is trying to act her way out of a paper bag.