Shailene Woodley on social media: ‘I have so much compassion for my generation’

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (L) and Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (R) arrive to attend the European premiere of the film The Lion King in London on July 14, 2019.

Shailene Woodley covers the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter to promote her new Netflix film, The Last Letter From Your Lover. Everything is coming up Shailene these days: new movies, new vibe, new fiance (Aaron Rodgers), new everything. Shailene will turn 30 in November, which I think is a big part of her new energy in the past year. It’s not just that she’s matured, as we all do, throughout her twenties. I think she also set markers for herself of where she wanted to be at 30 and she made it happen. There’s a mention of how all of her girlfriends are settling down and having babies and I think that’s influenced her more than she’s willing to admit. You can read the THR cover story here. Some highlights:

She just got her first manicure for herself (and not a role): “Normally when I’m not working, I don’t cut my hair, I don’t dye my hair, I don’t do anything to my body because I just like, wait until whatever’s next. I’ve had nails for characters before, but I was like, ‘I’m going to do it for me.’ ”

Announcing her engagement to Aaron Rodgers: “When we announced that we were engaged, we wanted to do that only because we didn’t want someone else to do it before we did. And we didn’t do it for months and months after we had become engaged, but the reaction to it was really a lot, and so we were like, ‘Let’s just politely decline [to talk about the relationship] for a little while and live in our little bubble.’ ”

Taking time off after The Descendants: “All the opportunities that were coming to me were huge, huge blockbuster films that maybe to my lawyers looked like great opportunities but to me didn’t represent any creativity… I look back on my 18-, 19-, 22-year-old self and I’m in awe of my ability to say no. I had no responsibilities. I got rid of mostly everything I owned and lived out of a suitcase. I didn’t feel pressure to work to make money. It was a very simple life. Because I wasn’t surrounded by the rhetoric of this industry and of Hollywood, I don’t think I knew anything other than saying no.”

She also turned down work because of an illness she does not disclose: “It was pretty debilitating. I said no to a lot of projects, not because I wanted to but because I physically couldn’t participate in them. And I definitely suffered a lot more than I had to because I didn’t take care of myself. The self-inflicted pressure of not wanting to be helped or taken care of created more physical unrest throughout those years.” Woodley says her health is improving but that the experience left a lasting mark on her. “I’m on the tail end of it, which is very exciting, but it’s an interesting thing, going through something so physically dominating while also having so many people pay attention to the choices you make, the things you say, what you do, what you look like. It spun me out for a while. You feel so incredibly isolated and alone. Unless someone can see that you have a broken arm or a broken leg, it’s really difficult for people to relate to the pain that you’re experiencing when it’s a silent, quiet and invisible pain.”

Compassion for her generation’s habit of curating their lives for Instagram: “I have so much compassion for my generation, for the generation after me with what people struggle through when it comes to social media and the addictive qualities of validation and the self-destructive qualities that come from externalized validation that’s through a 2D screen.”

On hashtag activism: “It’s very easy to go to a protest and snap a photo and hashtag it. Those are the sexy ways to participate in things. The uncomfortable, difficult ways are when you actually change legislation because that can be a 10-, 20-, 30-year process, or when you create whole new systems.”

On #MeToo meaning that the only roles for women are “strong & empowered”: “There’s so many stories out there right now about strong, empowered female. I laugh when I read these stories because maybe I know literally two strong, empowered females out of all of my friends and myself included. My hope is that more stories come out that explore the intricacies of what feminine energy looks like and not just this desire to represent females from a strong, empowered standpoint. Because there’s a lot underneath there that’s messy, jealous, conspiratorial, competitive, kind, mothering, generous, thoughtful. There are so many aspects to it that I hope continue to be explored deeper.”

[From THR]

There’s something about Shailene’s manner which has been pretty consistent throughout her time in the spotlight, since she was a teenager, basically: she often comes across, in writing, as very patronizing. Patronizing about politics, patronizing about other people’s hashtag activism, patronizing about her generation’s curated Instagram lives. I don’t know the woman and it’s possible that this kind of written interview doesn’t convey when she’s saying something tongue in cheek or with self-consciousness, but she strikes me as someone who says all of this sh-t earnestly. She really thinks her generational peers are trashy and she’s the only authentic one.

Details about her relationship with Aaron Rodgers are scattered throughout this piece but there’s nothing really notable. She says they met through mutual friends in music. She says they plan to be very honest about their relationship publicly. She had never watched a football game before she met him. She was not prepared for his football fanbase to have thoughts on her. That’s about it.

Shailene Woodley attending the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 5, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. | usage worldwide

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, cover courtesy of THR.

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25 Responses to “Shailene Woodley on social media: ‘I have so much compassion for my generation’”

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  1. Ariel says:

    She and George Clooney in the Descendants – magnificent. It is a wonderful, thoughtful movie.

  2. yokoohno says:

    “it’s really difficult for people to relate to the pain that you’re experiencing when it’s a silent, quiet and invisible pain.”

    As someone with an invisible illness I appreciate her sharing this, it’s such an issue for so many people.

    I’m not sure why but I never find her as irritating as everyone else does, even when I roll my eyes at her a bit. Hope her illness continues to be manageable ✌️

    • questions says:

      The times I find her annoying is when she mentions her lack of material possessions. Something sounds false about it, but I could be wrong.

      She’s probably a nice person in real life, but I never feel compelled to seek out her movies much.

      That said, I do think the quote about invisible pain was well-worded. And the part about her illness was the most relatable part of her interview. That part sounded authentic and easy to identify with.

      • Humbugged says:

        Why she sold her house 10 years ago and then did not another 1 until this year and was then living with her mother/brother ,her boyfriends and occasionaly her friends for the entire decade

      • questions says:

        Because she’s still pretty comfortable, just using other people’s material possessions. Sure, we could all do that if we wanted. Not sure how many people would want to deal with us though. I assume she pays them back well and is not living for free. But I don’t think my friends would be accepting of me randomly using stuff in their house, even with a fair amount of rent paid back to them. She must have very kind friends.

        She once said she didn’t have a smartphone. But she said her agent had one. Well, if you have to borrow my smartphone, I’d find you pretty annoying.

      • Humbugged says:


        she had a house then gave it to her brother .And she still does not have a smartphone ,but she owns a flip phone and has a laptop and whatever company she is with give her a smartphone for the duration

      • questions says:

        That’s all fine. But she’s not without material possessions in the way she describes. Most people are given laptops and smartphone by their companies. Most people don’t make it sound like it’s unusual the way she does. Whenever I’ve been given a laptop and phone and extra large monitors by a company, I’ve been more than happy to take and use the tech, even if it is with a VPN.

        Good thing she’s with Aaron Rodgers so he can take on the responsibility of finding a nice house for them to share.

      • Humbugged says:

        She now has her own place ,she hands the smartphone back after a job and Aaron owns a $25m mansion in Malibu

      • questions says:

        That’s wonderful.

  3. Seaflower says:

    Patronizing is a good way to describe it. She’s always grated the wrong way, but I’ve never been able to put my finger on it before.

  4. questions says:

    I didn’t really get it when she said she knows only 2 empowered women. What is empowering varies from person to person so I didn’t understand her statement. We’re all sort of empowered or seek empowerment in different ways. And I don’t think being empowered is mutually exclusive from other traits, both positive and negative. Maybe I need to go read the definition again.

    • Amanda says:

      I think because of her illness, she has a different outlook on life. If strength is so so important in a woman, and never losing and being badass all the time, but you literally can’t be strong, you need to reevaluate the messages you’re hearing.

      I went through a terrible time four years ago when I left a job, (it was a toxic, hostile workplace), and had suicidal ideation. Sometimes, we can’t be strong, and very often, those in power around us do not care at all about our empowerment. So we have to find new reasons to live.

      • questions says:

        “So we have to find new reasons to live.”

        I guess I believe this to be empowering (not necessarily happy or joyful or, but empowering) — when you’re able to find another way to approach life when the other way doesn’t work out for you. It takes strength to find alternatives to be able to survive. That’s why I found it hard to understand her reasoning that she knows only 2 women who are empowered.

    • Julia says:

      I’m okay with this statement. You know that scene in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ where they’re discussing “accomplished women”, and the snotty Miss Bingley goes on to list a bunch of qualities that only rich young women who had gone to expensive schools (in short: herself) could achieve? IMO, this is the modern equivalent of that: women are meant to achieve “empowerment”, but it’s this poorly-defined, nebulous goal that many women won’t achieve just because of their life circumstances.

  5. MaryBeary says:

    I think she’s insufferable and patronizing. Just so full of herself.

    • KNy says:

      Is there anyone more impressed with themselves than her? I feel like most things she says are with a congratulatory pat on her own back.

  6. EduBois says:

    She has BIG “pick me” energy. Yapping about bras and how comfortable she is in nude scenes. Yeah, ok you’re a “cool chic”. Didn’t she say she “wasn’t a feminist” and tried to backtrack that? And now this empowered women dig. In 10 more years, she’ll stop blaming other women for inequality because she’ll be on the discard heap in her industry at 40.

  7. tealily says:

    I kind of think she’s completely genuine. Like, yeah, she comes on pretty strong and is overly earnest, but I do think that really is who she is. I think she’s harmless but a little exhausting.

  8. Lory says:

    I think she’s an excellent actor but has no real genuine sincerity in real life. Maybe that’s why she’s so good at her craft—she’s acting all the time.

  9. GM says:

    I don’t find her patronizing at all, I think she firmly speaks from her perspective, as everyone does. Wonder if she would be called the same if she were a man…

  10. JillyBean says:

    I don’t get her appeal at all. No offence. I’m watching big little lies and that’s not how I pictured the character.