Dakota Fanning, age 17, covers Cosmo: Too young or no big deal?

Dakota Fanning covers two prominent fashion magazines for February, and I couldn’t figure out exactly what she’d be promoting because none of her upcoming projects are due out for at least a few more months. Not that I’m complaining because I adore Dakota, who largely seems unaffected by her lengthy resumé (with 45 acting credits to date on IMDb) and who has still managed to have the full high school experience. She’s even quietly gone onto NYU as well.

But alas, Cosmopolitan has made Dakota its cover girl along with naming her “Fun Fearless Female of the Year.” For certain, this is a dubious honor because it requires that Dakota pose alongside headlines such as “His Best Sex Ever” and “Um, Vagina, Are You Okay Down There?” even though she’s still just seventeen years old. Here are a few obligatory interview excerpts:

Dakota on her superhuman aura: “Since I was young, I’ve always known who I was. I never really had to go through finding who I am. I’ve always felt really secure.”

Kristen Stewart on Dakota’s determination while filming The Runaways: “We had a few scenes that were crazy intimidating, and maybe once or twice, she was like ‘Okay, I have a butterfly in my stomach.’ Meanwhile, I’m hyperventilating! Sometimes I give her sh-t for being so on the ball.”

[From Cosmopolitan]

Surely, there’s much more to the interview than those few scant excerpts, but the quality of Cosmo means that we won’t be learning anything new from the experience. While I understand Dakota accepting the “Fun Fearless” honor, I wonder how appropriate it is for her to appear on the cover before she’s even 18. Certainly, photographers like Terry Richardson have had far too much fun with Dakota in the past, and a certain perfume ad featuring Dakota was also banned in the UK. These incidents are at odds with what we’ve come to expect from Dakota in terms of her actual behavior. Luckily, this Elle UK cover and photoshoot will set things straight, the interview within is much more gratifying from a Dakota-centered standpoint:

On Normalcy: Dakota herself is at pains to insist that she is the most normal, balanced, regular girl with a regular life you could ever hope to meet. She went to a “competely normal high school,” her friends are “still the core group I met when I was 14,” there is absolutely no power imbalance, even though she is a globe-trotting superstar and they are not. “My friends are like, ‘Oh wow, I just forget that you do movies’,” she instists. When I ask her if, from film sets around the world, she feels any sense of longing, looking at the regular teenage lives led by her peers, Dakota looks me in the eye and says firmly: “But I’m definitely part of that, too. I just want to be an actress. I don’t really do anything attention-grabbing,” she says. She avoids anything that might grab the headlines for the “wrong” reason.

“It’s inevitable,” she says, levelly, when I ask if everyone was staring at her. “But it’s only as weird as you make it. You can kind of walk in and be like, “God this is weird,” Or, you know, you just walk in like, “I’m going to school like everyone else and it’s going to be great.”

Her Mom Is Not On The Payroll: “Does not happen, has never happened, will never happen,” insists Dakota, “I would never … She would never want that, so that’s never even entered into any kind of plan.” She likes the fact that she can pop out to a premiere then come home and get “fussed at” for not cleaning her room and says, with almost heartbreaking earnestness, that “at the end of the day, my mom’ opinion is the only opinion that matters to me in the word. In the whole world.”

On Manners: “I’ve always been taught that the greatest trait ina person is to put other people before yourself,” says Dakota solemnly. And it’s true — she is courteous, kind and incredibly eager to please throughout the 10 hours I spend with her. She is never late, she says, because, “I feel absolutely terrible. I have a real anxiety about people waiting for me.” If anyone gets her name wrong, she won’t correct them because she has a fear of embarrassing them. “I will never send food back at a restaurant, even if it’s not right.”

On Fame: If [Dakota's mother] notices busloads of tourists looking at her daughter, she makes Dakota wave and smile because to ignore them would be rude. Dakota finds it mortifying — but she does it. Indeed, she seems truly terrified of fame, hence her refusal to enjoy its rewards. In fact, she refuses to even use the word “famous”; at any time my line of questioning forces her there, she simply refers to herself as a “well-known person.” When I try, meanly, to make her say: “My name is Dakota and I am famous,” she visibly cringes and says, “Famous just sounds so pretentious. Who am I to call myself that word?”

She admits to being aware of the growing interest in her looks and her body shape — she is an actress after all — but claims it doesn’t upset her. “You can’t worry about what other people think, especially if you’re a known person or sometimes you won’t be able to get out of bed.” Come on, I push her, you’re young, you’re beautiful, you’re now a woman, you have to feel it coming for you …. “I’m not stupid,” she says, almost kindly. “People are always talking about tis person and that person who has an amazing body and this person who looks great and that person who doesn’t. It’s there, if you let it in. And I let it in to an extent. I just don’t let it affect the choices I make.”

She Doesn’t Do Casual Relationships: “I feel like peole, a lot of girls, take things with guys very loosely, and I’m not like that. I mean, my parents have known each other since second grade and they’ve been married 22 years. I don’t need to be courted, but sometimes it’s nice, a little bit of that.” Nonetheless, when Dakota completed a scene recently, Emma Thompson tells me she was moved to “grasp her tiny little wrist and say, ‘You know, you’re the real thing and it’s very rare.’” I tend to agree. Both on- and off-screen, Dakota Fanning, actress, is the real thing.

[From Elle UK]

The Elle article also claims that Dakota really is all BFF with Kristen Stewart, which seems entirely odd since the two young actresses appear so different from each other. Kristen is sullen, pouty, and certainly doesn’t place value upon education. In contrast, Dakota is sunny, humble, and really does seem committed to getting through college. In other words, she’s not deferring after one semester like Emma Roberts just did. Maybe an actress who’s as levelheaded like Dakota doesn’t give us as much to talk about, but I can at least appreciate knowing that she’d rather be studying than OD’ing at a party.

Now what of this Elle UK shoot? Beyond the sketchy cover, the editorial photos are absolutely gorgeous. Mature but still covered up. Very appropriate.

Photos courtesy of Cosmo, Elle UK, and The Fashion Spot

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32 Responses to “Dakota Fanning, age 17, covers Cosmo: Too young or no big deal?”

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  1. carrie says:

    she looks a model(very thin, empty eyes,dour face) here

  2. WickedSteppMom says:

    I haven’t read Cosmo in years. I just picked it up in a gas station 2 days ago for *something* to read during a miserable 12 hour car trip (that should have only been 5.5 hours) and remembered why I haven’t read Cosmo in years. Given the choice again, I think I would have gone with either Muscle & Fitness or whatever the hunting magazine was.

    • DorothyZbornak says:

      I did the same thing while stuck in an airport last year. I think part of my brain melted trying to read that tripe.

      • bitca says:

        NO. Sure, it cracks me up to stand in a check-out line and see a Cosmo cover featuring some respected actress surrounded by article teasers like “What He *Really* Wants in Bed,” or “How to Find Your G-Spot,” but it’s ill to have that stuff revolving around a pic of Dakota Fanning.

        Despite their back-in-the-day ‘Liberated’ pretensions, that magazine has always been trash. Even when I was 20 (back in the Mesozoic Era), and an ex-turned-friend asked me to pick up the latest Playboy on a bagel & knish breakfast run, braced myself by thinking, “Ok; be totally cool and casual. Ask the news-stand guy for the new Playboy with a blase ‘I do this all the time’ attitude. Besides, it’s not like I’m buying an issue of Cosmo.”

  3. valleymiss says:

    I met Dakota and got a photo with her at a charity event a few years ago. She is so sweet and so polite. I covet the photo because as I’ve told my friends, “I have a photo with a future Oscar winner!” I firmly believe she will go the Jodie Foster route of 4 years of college like a normal kid, and then an illustrious and well-respected career.

  4. Seal Team 6 says:

    Gads, these photos of her make me feel old.

  5. Willworkforfood says:

    Not sure how I feel about it either being that she is 17. She seems beyond her years, though. Cosmo is what I read at 17, but more for astonishing information. Times change, IDK. I’ll cross that bridge & pick my battles when my daughter reaches that age. The pics are beautiful. Makes me want to get some black & whites out, and touch them up with watercolors for a fun family art project. Maybe I will get off my butt…later, when the kids get home.

  6. Astrid says:

    Seems odd to have a 17 year old on the cover, especially with those photos.

  7. Donno says:

    cosmo doesn’t equate to porn so I don’t think there is an issue. she is pretty and I think it healthy for her to revel in her youth cause I know most of us wish we could have done things differently when we were younger.. I know I think that sometimes.. :)

  8. marina says:

    Hello, old much? It’s not like it’s the Playboy or some such rag… The Cosmo cover is just horrible, too much photo shop.

    Based on the quetes, she has great parents who have brought up a sensible & nice girl. Stupefied, I didn’t know that could happen in Hwood-circles!

  9. Lola says:

    It’s not that shes to young but Cosmo shoots are just a$$y. The. Over doesnt suit her. Whereas in the spread the whole tone is so tried and over done.
    We hardly ever get exciting photo spreads anymore

  10. Camille says:

    Today 11 or 12 yo girls have kids so she at age of 17 is old ho actually.

  11. Gigi says:

    These shoots verge on risqué for a teenager, but no problem in my book. Dakota seems relatively grounded compared to most Hollywood teens so I don’t see any of this messing with her head.

  12. cmc says:

    Is it just me, or does the reporter that did the Elle interview sound kind of like a pushy a-hole? That whole thing sounds like the reporter is trying to trap Dakota into saying something awful and she’s just being so polite and patient, that finally the reporter begrudgingly admits she’s a nice person.

  13. Shelly says:

    She is a gorgeous girl.

  14. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    Almost forgot: As much as I like children and like spending time with them, there is no such thing as an interesting child. Maybe Rimbaud…

    And what of Linklatter, you ask? (Should I? Is it too soon?) I’m sure his unfortunately prematurely-departed daughter said, ‘it’s not LSD’ at some point, and that clearly didn’t register. I love kids, but not for their bon mots, sparkling wit and wellness seminars. ‘Since I was young’, *sigh* you’re too much, Blonde Miser.

    In advance, turn off your hormone vengeance war machines, you can’t ‘shame’ me ‘better’. It’s like with your ‘man’–I’ve had loads of male friends, but once the word ‘hubby’ exits someone’s mouth be prepared to mop up the drool as my eyes have found a love match in that ol’ Middle Distance and they’re shacking up, now. And it’s hot.

    Should I make it a full fury hatrick? Sure. Stop trying to make me like Motown, okay? Just stop it. Now.

    Anyway, this magazine has always been inane and horrible so if Homeland Security adopted a ‘Threat Level Cosmo’ into its Doom Spectrum, at no point would I quarrel with the fact that this publication is not, in fact, a colour. We would be beyond that kind of pettiness by then.

    • RobN says:

      It pains me a little how hard you tried to be clever here.

    • podzol says:

      Jo ‘Mama’, I usually lurk on the Pajiba comment threads but some of your posts were the most hilarious and brilliant! Just wanted to tip my hat off to ya.

  15. Melissa says:

    How unfortunate to be on the cover of Cosmo and not know that they were gonna put a title like, “Um, Vagina Are You Okay Down There? Easy Fixes for Freaky Issues.”

  16. NerdMomma says:

    This was pretty refreshing. When I think of the ridiculous stuff I would have said at 17, yeesh! What a level-headed girl. What’s going on with that Elle cover, though? Photoshop lipstick? Photoshop mascara?

  17. Lisa says:

    “Too Naughty To Say Here!” LOL.

  18. Marianne says:

    Dakota is mature and I doubt they will ask questions about her sex life, but it still seems like an odd choice considering that she is 17 and has a young fan base, they will most likely want to pick up the mag (since she’s on it), and well the magazine has articles on how to pleasure your man amongst other things.

  19. kimberly says:

    in order to find the needed depth for some characters a normal life style is needed, this is why I respect and love this girl!! She’s trying to live as “normal” as possible, even if she was a total party girl . . . I would have never known and I like that.

    when celebs are too much in the public I stop watching their movies, because I don’t like seeing them.

  20. Isa says:

    Ehh when I was 17 I was having some of the best sex ever. I don’t think she’s too young at all. But I started reading it at 13.

  21. novaraen says:

    Whatever happened to putting 17 year old girls in SEVENTEEN magazine??? Dakota is surrounded by articles about vagina’s and naughty things and other sex related stuff is just wrong. Seventeen was the magazine I read when I was that age…not Cosmo. Never liked cosmo much…their stuff is so vapid and brain meltingly stupid. Oh and repetitive.

  22. whatevs says:

    waaay too young. i feel like ever since britney came out it became fashionable to advertise 17 year old girls like old women. it’s disgusting. miley, taylor momsen, many others… and now her. god i hope this nonsense stops soon.

  23. Kim says:

    To young. What is she thinking & where are her parents?

  24. eternalcanadian says:

    Definitely too young. Way too young. And we wonder why kids are having sex and babies by age 14?

  25. crtb says:

    Too Young!
    She should be on the cover of Seventteen, Elle, In Style, Allure, Lucky or Glamour.

  26. NotSoFake says:

    Come on, could the society be more hypocrite than this?
    She is 17, Taylor Swift was on the cover of Cosmo at 19 and nobody said a word. And don’t you try to convince me that there is such a big difference between 17 year olds and 19 year olds, because there isn’t.
    And what if it encourages sex at a premature age? Can’t you just accept that this is the world we have to live in? It isn’t right, but we cannot change the way things go.

  27. Robert says:

    Anything goes now-a-days. As long as someone can make some moola, then the envelope will be pushed to the edge!