At a time where nothing is certain and most of us are unsure what exactly there is to look forward to, Kristen Stewart starring in queer Christmas romantic comedy Happiest Season is one of the only things keeping us going. She famously said she is "like, so gay dude" in 2017, has since spoken openly about the immense pressure she felt to define and label her sexuality, and revealed she was told not to hold her girlfriend's hand in public.
In a new interview for InStyle, in which she is in conversation with Happiest Season director and queer icon Clea DuVall, Kristen spoke about coming out later, and the first time she dated a woman. The film follows Abby (Kristen) and her girlfriend Harper (Mackenzie Davis of San Junipero fame) as they go to Harper's family home for Christmas and Abby soon realises her girlfriend isn't actually out to her conservative parents.
Speaking about what she thought of the script when she first read it, Kristen said, "It deals with very poignant things that, for me, are extremely affecting and triggering."
She continued, "I loved the couple. They're both people I really felt protective of in different ways, because I've been on both sides of that dynamic where someone is having a hard time acknowledging who they are and the other person is more self-accepting. I [personally] came into the more complex aspects of myself a little bit later. I never felt an immense shame, but I also don't feel far away from that story, so I must have it in a latent sense."
Discussing her first relationship with a woman, Kristen said she "was immediately being asked if I was a lesbian". She added, "And it's like, 'God, I'm 21 years old.' I felt like maybe there were things that have hurt people I've been with. Not because I felt ashamed of being openly gay but because I didn't like giving myself to the public, in a way. It felt like such thievery. This was a period of time when I was sort of cagey."
She went on to explain that even in her previous relationships with men, she'd tried to avoid the public eye as much as possible. But with a woman, it was even more tricky. "I think the added pressure of representing a group of people, of representing queerness, wasn't something I understood then," she said. "Only now can I see it. Retrospectively, I can tell you I have experience with this story. But back then I would have been like, 'No, I'm fine. My parents are fine with it. Everything's fine'. That's bullshit. It's been hard. It's been weird. It's that way for everyone."
The pair also went on to discuss how this story is something that hasn't really been shown in a Hollywood film before, and especially because it's being made me a queer female director.
Kristen also added, "I don't want to aggrandise my own pain, because I know that others' pain has been so great. Living in this world, being a queer person, there are things that hurt constantly."
Happiest Season is due in UK cinemas on 27 November 2020.
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