Zoe Kravitz: ‘People confuse social media with reality. It’s not real.’

Zoe Kravitz is one of Elle Magazine’s Women in Hollywood covers and honorees. I’m not exactly sure why, it’s not like she had an amazing professional year – yes, she was in The Batman, and she has P-ssy Island coming out next year, but that’s about it. Culturally, it was actually a bad year for her. She attended the Oscars and she devoted a few Instagram posts to making catty comments about Will Smith, and the backlash on social media was immediate and wall-to-wall. Black Twitter had all of the receipts. After that, it took her four months to open her mouth in public again, and when she did, she tried to act like she was canceled and people should be able to have conversations, blah, etc. Nowadays, Zoe seems to want to turn the page from all of that. Some highlights from her Elle interview:

Writing & directing ‘P-ssy Island’: “The story has changed many times. I started writing it before Harvey Weinstein was exposed, so the world was different. It came from a very different place, and it did start very much like an angry feminist script. Then, as the world changed and the conversation evolved, I got to sit back and watch what was going on.”

On the role that changed everything: “Bonnie from Big Little Lies and then Selina Kyle from The Batman—those had the biggest impact. They changed what I had the opportunity to do. When Jean-Marc Vallée gave me that job [on Big Little Lies], I was working with some of the best actors of our time all of a sudden. I had access to a different audience and was able to learn from all of those amazing women.”

Her mentor: “Reese Witherspoon and I became very, very close after Big Little Lies. She’s such a strong businesswoman and is really driven to inspire and educate other women in the industry to take up more space. She’s someone who I admire and who I always call when I have a question or something I want to make or produce, or a book I want to adapt.”

What’s changed in Hollywood post-#MeToo: “We became trendy. It’s cool in a way. When I was trying to find a director of photography for my movie and I wanted a woman, I couldn’t find one. All of the DPs who are female are booked, because that’s cool now or because people are paying more attention. If people are afraid to say they didn’t like a piece of art because it was made by a women, it feels to me that we aren’t allowing it to truly affect us. Art isn’t about liking. It’s about emotion, debate. Art is about conversation.”

Her best advice: “Always challenge what people say you can and can’t do, and what parts are written for you. I used to be told I couldn’t have a role because they wanted a white girl. Now we’re in this place where you can only play a role if you are that identity, which I think is very complicated. Can a person who can see play a blind person? I don’t know the answer. It’s all very blurry. There’s not necessarily a right side and a wrong side. It’s almost like it was so bad for so long that now we have to sit in this uncomfortable place that also doesn’t make a lot of sense, trying to even things out. It’s just like, Who’s in charge and where do we draw the line? I don’t know the answer to that.”

On being a role model: “I don’t know if I could be considered a role model, but I think allowing yourself to be imperfect is probably the best thing you can do for yourself right now. In this time of social media where people constantly present perfection, that’s really important, so I try to allow myself to be as human as possible. We live in this time where people are triggered and people are sensitive. But then people are saying horrible, horrible things to each other on the internet. I don’t understand. It’s all about power.”

On social media: “Social media is a big experiment that we’re all participating in, and to pretend like we understand it is a joke. I have had my ups and downs with it. I’m sure it’s helped my career in some ways, but I also think it’s hurt it…. People confuse social media with reality. It’s not real. What I mean by that is that I think people feel that if they feel something and they don’t express it on social media, then it doesn’t count. If you care about something and you don’t talk about it on social media, then you don’t care about it. If you write about one thing but not another thing, you care about one more than the other. None of that’s real. Or true.”

[From Elle]

I’m sorry, what? “It’s almost like it was so bad for so long that now we have to sit in this uncomfortable place that also doesn’t make a lot of sense, trying to even things out…” She’s both-sides-ing representation? She thinks it’s an uncomfortable place that “doesn’t make a lot of sense” when people are like “only trans people should play trans characters” or “Asian actors should play Asian characters.” I also think it’s weird that she sees Big Little Lies as some kind of huge moment for her career, especially since a lot of people criticized how poorly written Bonnie was. It was also written for a white actress, and they just popped Zoe into the role. Color-blind casting, only for the worst role of the ensemble.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, cover courtesy of Elle.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

49 Responses to “Zoe Kravitz: ‘People confuse social media with reality. It’s not real.’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Amy Bee says:

    She just sounds confused to me. She still doesn’t know who she is and how to relate to others.

    • Debbie says:

      I suspect that Zoe’s wordy and rather confused statements are because she’s still trying to explain away the past statements she made which got her into trouble on social media. However, she’s trying to explain herself in a way which doesn’t “trigger” the “sensitive” types out there, so she does it in oblique, veiled ways which obscures her actual opinion. (Should sighted people play blind people? I don’t know. It’s all blurry.) Really Zoe? Let me put it to her this way, can blind people play sighted people on the screen? Have they?

      And I’d pay a whole quarter to find out whether she expanded her director of photography search to include people of color. I bet she focused primarily on white women. Just a hunch. And if I have to read Zoe’s thoughts on “art” again, I may go mad. She makes it difficult to like her, that girl.

  2. Aurora says:

    Is it really a bad thing that a role that calls for a blind, hearing-impaired, Native American…etc be cast with people who are actually blind, hearing impaired or Native Americans? Most roles are written for able-bodied Whites so letting marginalized people play themselves is not too much to ask.

    After listening to the horrible “southern” accents on that new show The Peripheral I’m beginning to think they should only cast actual Southerners to play Southerners.

  3. Noki says:

    She is soooo bland and takes herself way too seriously. How does she manage to have zero anything with Lenny, Lisa and Jason as her parents?

    • Tw says:

      Because she has Lenny, Lisa and Jason as her parents and thinks that their caché will somehow filter down to her. She’s never really built an identity all her own outside of who her parents are, and sadly Lenny at least (and many of their friends) feed into that orbit.

      • teecee says:

        I have a slightly different take, which is that often parents with “big” personalities raise children who are either shapeshifters or cyphers. Zoe is a cypher. It’s as if the kids don’t have enough space to become themselves.

      • Thinking says:

        Personality-wise. she kind of reminds me of Dakota Johnson. They’re probably both a bit jaded. They probably appear blase and bored because they’ve seen it all. I don’t think much could impress them because they’ve witnessed everything already in their parents’ living rooms. As such, they appear a little unexcited and not very perky about things.

        If Apple Martin ever gives an interview, I’m going to expect the same.

      • LIONE says:

        @teecee Can I ask what a cypher is?
        And yes to everything you said! She probably didn’t have enough space to become herself, or find her identity. She comes off emotionally immature and like a forever-teenager

      • Jenn says:

        @LIONE Ordinarily a “cipher” is a *fictional* character who functions as a blank-slate protagonist, either for the reader/audience, or as a placeholder for the author itself. (Ryan Gosling’s character is a “cipher” in Drive and in Blade Runner 2049; Florence Pugh gets cast as a cipher a lot.) They keep their emotions very ambiguous and hard-to-parse.

        So yeah, teecee is saying that Zoe is probably used to functioning as a reflection of the wants and needs of the people around her, thereby displacing her own wants and needs. As you said, she has perhaps never been allowed the emotional space to “crack her own code” (which btw is what a “cipher” is when speaking in math and programming terms — it lets you crack “encrypted” information)

    • Danbury says:

      She is such a nothing burger I am annoyed that she is getting so much exposure

    • Teddy says:

      @Thinking – interesting comparison with Dakota Johnson. But I think Dakota has a dry, subversive wittiness about her. (That infamous “Actually, no. That’s not the truth, Ellen…” takedown, for instance.) Zoe reminds me more of Cindy Craford’s daughter, pretty enough but bland. You keep looking for the inner spark that ignited her parents and it’s just not there.

  4. Naomi says:

    I’m so over these nepo-babies.

  5. Chic says:

    Her tats are bad. Reminds me of prison tats that were everywhere when I live in NC

    • Debbie says:

      I KNOW! They’re so random it hurts. It’s like she said to herself, everybody is doing tattoos now, so I guess I’ll have some too.

      • LIONE says:

        The random tattoo’s has been a trend for a while. Miley Cirus is another that comes to mind.
        My friend who is a tattoo-artist says kids will come in and want that sort of aesthetic all the time.

  6. Casey says:

    I deleted the Insta. Never go on fb (just have it for messenger) and my life is so much better for it. I only use Snapchat for close friends. My addiction to social media was out of control

  7. HeyKay says:

    Nepotism. She is average in talent IMO like so many celeb kids.
    Bruce Willis/Demi Moore kids, most of the Baldwin family including Ireland and Hailey, the Beckham kids, etc.

    • Noki says:

      Do nepotism kids ever stop being called that? Because they are some people who came from famous parent /parents but are undeniably talented. I mean do we still call Jamie Lee,Michael Douglas a nepotism baby, but I guess it’s what you prove once you get the chance.

      • Barbiem says:

        I think most people use it for the talentless and annoying offspring. The ones who show awareness and talent are left alone. Zoe always comes off….not well

      • Thinking says:

        Once you’ve proved yourself people stop using the label on you. I can’t recall any of the talented offspring of kids being called this.

        If you remain talentless and untrained like David Beckham’s son in every venture from modelling to cooking, the title probably sticks. In his case, this seems fair enough.

        Even someone like Gwyneth Paltrow has escaped the label because we know she’s capable of exhibiting talent when necessary. We think of her as a beneficiary of nepotism, but I don’t think we really call her a nepo baby.

        Maya Hawke is of the generation where this title gets used a lot, but I don’t think she gets referred to as a nepo baby because people seem to like what she has to offer talent-wise. I would say the same for Andie MacDowell’s daughter.

    • teecee says:

      It’s not 100% nepotism. Look at her face. Nepotism + pretty privilege. A lot of nepo kids are okay-looking or even beautiful. But she’s a stunner, and that makes a difference.

      • Thinking says:

        I think she’s stunning NOW. But I don’t remember her starting off this way.

      • Aly says:

        @Teecee I’m sure the fact that Zoe is a lightskin also helps since industry isn’t really fond of dark skinned female leads. Zoe has the charisma of a wet piece of cardboard but she still keeps getting roles that she shouldn’t, take Cat woman for example. Ana de Armas was being considered for that role and she is stunning as well with much better acting skills but of course nepo baby won.

  8. Likeyoucare says:

    Probably she should stop blaming everyone and only talk about herself in an interview.
    They way she explain make her look like she have this difficult life in becoming an actress.
    Girl you are a nepotism actress and i didnt like your acting in batman.

    • Hootenannie says:

      Looking at this cover, I was immediately struck by how much work she’s gotten done. She came on the scene with a much rounder face. She hadn’t hollowed out her cheeks with endless fillers to emulate her mother or gotten the lip injections. “Pretty privilege” will only become more mainstream as it gets cheaper.

      I know women my age in my social circle who are getting routine botox and injections (I’m 30). I feel weird about it- I place no blame or judgment on them, but it does kind of suck that these are my peers, and so by abstaining I will automatically suffer by comparison. But I’m not willing to pay up vs save up.

  9. WiththeAmerican says:

    Like her face isn’t real, either. Having so much surgery to look like her mom made her career. Let’s be real.

    I don’t want to shame her for the work she’s had done, but she did it for a reason – she knew if she looked like her mom, the beauty would get her booked and she could carry herself with the condescending imprimatur of gravitas. She’s not real.

    • Cait C says:

      You beat me too it. She has gotten her face soo carved up and sculpted it’s shaped like a shovel. Look at her from “Beware the Gonzo ” til now. She looks like a slightly tan Lily Colin’s

    • Aly says:

      I was under the impression that her features were real for a long time. Whenever her face popped up somewhere I used to think “wow this girl needs to drop her skin care routine.” I came across old pics of real face earlier this year. There was nothing wrong with her original face. She was kinda cute in a forgettable way, her cosmetic surgeon really made her career lol

      If I were in her place, if I knew all my hype is only for my surgically enhanced features I would definitely be more humble than her like girlie actually thought it was a good idea to take on bonafide movie star like Will Smith because people were stanning for her buccal fat removal. She’s not very bright lol

    • Lux says:

      “The beauty would get her booked and she could carry herself with the condescending imprimatur of gravitas”…talk about the biggest “meaty” word salad there. Does beauty equal gravitas? Does the “imprimatur” come from gravitas or beauty? Now why is the imprimatur qualified as condescending, or is it the gravitas (that grants the imprimatur) that is considered condescending?

      In terms of looks, she’s probably had as much work done as Taylor Swift: enhancements like an eye-lift but nothing that warrants this much derision, as she still looks very much like herself. And clearly, she’s just being herself: insecure, uncertain and candid. Is she the new Scarjo, the best living tree actress out there? No. I think her experience as a biracial woman auditioning in Hollywood is still a little different, connections notwithstanding. Her beef with casting (where she was often turned away for being “urban”) is very different from Scarjo’s argument, which was “if you’re a good enough actress, you should be able to play any race, sex or living thing you want (and take that spot from others, if it calls for it).” Her confusion is in real time and that, I think, is the problem with young actors: they are not well-oiled enough or wise enough to prepare for interviews and rehearse sound bites that are beyond reproach. They think people will love them and high-five them for being real, but when their words come back to bite them, it’s time to backtrack on quotes “taken out of context.”

    • Lux says:

      Also, let’s be REALLY real here: if she’s not “real” because she’s had surgery, then you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone truly “real” in the entertainment industry. Don’t say you’re “not shaming someone for work done” in one breath and then call someone “not real” because of it in the next.

  10. girl_ninja says:

    I never got her appeal and still don’t. She is overrated and boring but hey, let her do her thing I guess.

    • Caitlin C says:

      Zoe has zero charisma and no presence. She is talentless but gets a leg up due to colorism and her parents fame. Her arrogance is unfounded she comes across as out of touch and unlikable in interviews

  11. Aly says:

    Too bad no one is asking her about her creepy comments about Jaden Smith. She’s allegedly friends with Alexander Wang as well. I won’t mind if her career never bounces back from this debacle. But considering the fact that she is a nepo baby it most probably will.

  12. Tina Loman says:

    Oh, do they? Really? Poor cat. Zoe has plenty of problematic past statements and actions it’s so easy to bring up whenever she says something that someone doesn’t like. She was a mess. She’s wants to be the artsy bohemian type so bad. Her parents were considered two of the coolest people of the 90s she’s considered a nepo baby with access to roles that other actresses of color would love to have. She tries so hard to have a personality. I don’t think she does.

  13. Luna17 says:

    I used to like her a lot and thought she was good as Bonnie but the more she talks…. She just comes across as so nepotism and not really getting it. Also she seriously hit the genetic lottery but has been messing with her face for years but recently did some chin/jaw injections and has a triangle jaw now and it’s not good. I don’t get why someone with her looks would do that. I saw some photos a few days ago and barely Recognized her. It was pretty sad looking.

  14. serena says:

    No matter what she always comes across as tone-deaf and snobbish, I can’t stand her anymore.

    The comments about the casting and social media.. really Zoe, really?? Always so ready to play the ‘poor-me everybody is bullying me on social media’ card without EVER questioning her behaviour.

  15. Jais says:

    Idk, it’s just if you post something on SM, it’s possible that some people will like it and possible that a lot of people won’t. A lot of people didn’t like what she said. And? She seems to be calling past criticism something that is not reality bc it’s on SM. But the criticism was actually real lol.

  16. Thinking says:

    I think she has the misfortune to be compared to her mother.

    No one can get to the original because of how enigmatic and elusive she is, so the daughter is kind of a stand-in or substitute. But it’s that elusiveness and cool-without-trying-at-all vibe which kind of makes her mother intriguing. The funny thing is I have no idea what Lisa Bonet is actually like because she rarely gives interviews. She could be total flake for all i know. But the thing that makes Bonet interesting is that I have no idea what she’s actually like.

  17. Heather says:

    What she said about having to be in an uncomfortable place now, makes sense to me. I think everyone is over sensitive and let’s themselves be triggered, because racism or sexism or ableism (pick one) used to be worse. Now we on eggshells (ie the uncomfortable place).
    I’m not a Zoe fan by any means, but I don’t think she was being wishy washy here.

    • Bex says:

      People aren’t “over sensitive”. You just can’t ignore when people speak out about how they’ve been mistreated or disrespected. You’re only on faux eggshells because you (and Zoe) can be assured you will be challenged on your BS.

      It’s the same thing men were saying about #metoo: “Oh no I’m scared to talk to women because they might accuse me of sexual harassment” (when the BASIC requirement is don’t harass women you work for or with. We don’t accept that from men, and we’re certainly not going to accept that BS from you and Zoe.

    • LooseSeal says:

      Yeah, sorry, people aren’t “over-sensitive” these days, we just have access to more voices and perspectives. Being asked to be considerate of more diverse perspectives is actually good for our empathy skills. Also, calling people “over-sensitive” is sort of gaslighting language.

  18. Bex says:

    It is so funny how she’s both sides-ing representation NOW after she got cast as Catwoman in The Batman, but she was ALL in her “I’m not urban, I listen to white music” when she wasn’t cast as a side character in one of those Nolan Batman movies. It’s TRULY something how someone who has gotten what they wanted wants to pretend that it’s a both sides issue. It’s so rich coming from her. So. Rich.

    All the hard work Black American actors did over the years to get a seat at the table, and this dippy chick who benefited GREATLY from that hard work is sitting on the fence. She’s such a disappointment.

    Plus, claiming social media “isn’t real” is a choice, considering she, a real person, chose to make that post about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock. Was the post real? Were her opinions about the slap real?

    • girl_ninja says:

      Amen to all of this. She was/is so ready to abandon her version of urban/black culture to get what she wants. She’s shown she will be “black” when it benefits her. She’s so tired, try hard and boring.

  19. Emily_C says:

    She’s just not very smart. That’s okay — it’s not her job. I wish we’d stop expecting celebrities to also be intellectuals and politicians.

    • Pointillist says:

      Agree with this Emily! She’s an ok actress and can’t articulate herself very well. Next!

  20. Susan says:

    She clearly doesn’t have a publicist. All I’m saying. Ugh.

  21. Aurora says:

    She’s a wooden actress, and sounds like someone who wants to speak ‘relevant’ (understandable, given who who mom dad are) and haven’t found its particular dialect yet. She and Shaylene were the weakest links in BLL. Particularly she was miscast as the ‘super hot’ PTA sensuous vixen. Of course she’s beautiful but more in a sort of 2022 formulaic way. For me, that would be someone naturally voluptuous and engaging (but I’m 8ro, what do i know?). She looked either sulky, either deppressed; not sexy.

  22. Yawn says:

    I don’t know much about Zoe but just commenting this whole attention-economy thing is promoting mental health issues (obvious point, I know) and people need to self-regulate their use. The internet is so amazing and convenient but social media is stupid. Feel so lucky I remember a time before the internet when normal reality was more real. Now it seems like if you don’t have a social profile and an online presence you’re an incomplete person.

    I have no social media except for dummy accounts to follow some public figures I learn a lot from. I feel sad for some of my friends who are amazing people in real life but get aggressive and competitive on social media. It’s not even serving them in any way. If we diverted all the energy we expend on cultivating online profiles (celebrities are a different case; they need it for marketing) into actually living, we’d all be a lot happier.

    But do you actually really need social media to promote yourself? I know of a pretty successful freelance writer and entrepreneur who quit social media years back and still got plenty of jobs and continues to run successful micro businesses (Alexandra Franzen – she wrote an article about this on her website). Maybe social media is not all that necessary for marketing after all; it’s the marketing people and monopolies like Meta and Google insisting you need it as they vacuum up all the ad revenue small to large businesses waste on social media.