Unlike most actresses I interview, Elle Fanning is someone I’ve met before. During my time working at Rodarte, I spent time with the young teen on the set of photo shoots (like one lensed by Bill Owens), short videos, and fittings for red carpet appearances as she was carving out a path to become A-list star. On set, I would chat with Elle, and with her mother or grandmother, who always accompanied her to the projects she was filming. You could immediately sense how grounded, and very outside the Hollywood norm, they all were. This was perhaps best summed up when one day I received a box filled with a vintage vanity set (an elegant mirror, soapbox, and comb in retro pastel shades) and a handwritten note from Fanning—a rare and thoughtful gesture, especially from someone who didn’t yet have her driver’s license.
Fast-forward to 2019. It’s been at least five years since I’ve worked with Fanning, and her fame has only catapulted. She’s played Princess Aurora opposite Angelina Joie in Maleficent (with an upcoming sequel scheduled for release in October), starred in her second film directed by Sofia Coppola, and has been signed as the face of Miu Miu and L’Oréal.
As I arrive to meet with Fanning, I don’t expect the actress to recall our time working together years earlier, but as she walked in, she turned to give me a hug and one thing is immediately clear—she’s unlike most celebrities I’ve met.