Shailene Woodley: "Celebrity" Is a Dirty Word to Me

The star of The Descendants tells iVillage why she hates being called "the C-word" and shares her true opinions on George Clooney

Even though she starred in an Oscar-nominated film (opposite George Clooney, no less!) and was nominated for a Golden Globe, Shailene Woodley doesn't consider herself a celebrity. In fact, the Hollywood newcomer thinks the term is downright offensive. "To me the C-word is 'celebrity,' the F-word is 'famous" and the S-word is 'star,'" the 20-year-old actress tells iVillage. "I despise those words. Unless you’re Tom Hanks or anyone of that caliber, I don’t think that those words should be used and applied to you."

Unfortunately, if Woodley's career stays on track, those words are going to pretty unavoidable. When iVillage sat down with the star of The Descendants (which is now available on DVD) she dished about her first Oscars experience, her true feelings about Clooney and what she thought of The Hunger Games movie. (Yep, she saw it early!)

Congrats on the success of The Descendants, first of all.
Thank you, it’s so crazy!

This was a pretty huge role for your first big movie. What was your reaction when you first found out you got the part?
Obviously I was just so ecstatic and so grateful! Grateful is the best word to describe it. The first time that I read the script I responded so intensely to the humanness and the rawness and the emotion that the script and the screenplay evoked. I was always incredibly passionate from the very first time I read it. So when I had to opportunity to actually do the film, I felt like I was the luckiest girl alive. 

Did you expect the film to be as big as it turned out to be?
No, I always I liken it to artists who are painting on a canvas: You’re never thinking of what gallery that canvas will end up in, you’re thinking about the canvas and the moment, and that’s how this film went. I didn’t think about who would see it or what awards show it would make. It was just about the creativity and the passion and the art.

You've talked a lot about how great it was to work with George Clooney. How would you describe him in three words?
Grateful, witty and intelligent.

Have you gotten any advice from him about making it in Hollywood?
No, he’s never given me any advice on that part. But he has given me lots of advice on how I can empower the world with what I’ve been given. You know, to pay it forward. I’ve been given so many beautiful gifts, so he’s inspired me and advised me to use the platform that I have now to inspire and change things around the world.

You earned a Golden Globe nomination for the role. How did that change your life?
It hasn’t really changed my life at all, actually. I’ve been extremely busy, but apart from that, nothing has changed.

Have there been any perks of fame that you've enjoyed?
No, I hate those words. To me the C-word is "celebrity," the F-word is "famous" and the S-word is "star." I despise those words. Unless you’re Tom Hanks or anyone of that caliber who can’t leave their house without being mobbed, I don’t think that those words should be used and applied to you. As far as the perks go, you know, it’s kind of one of the disgusting things about this industry. The more money you make, the more free stuff you get. I think that that’s weird, and I’m not a huge fan of it.

A lot of actresses who start out young get wrapped up in the party lifestyle. Have you gotten any advice on how to avoid that?
No, I don’t think that has anything to do with being an actor. I think that regardless of whether you're in this industry or whether you go to college or whether you do something else with your life, there’s always the party atmosphere. There’s always the opportunity to get in that, but it’s just something that's never really fallen into my lap. I simply love trees, and I’m an advocate for the environment. So frankly, I’ve never really gone down that route just because I have other passions in my life.

What was your first Oscars experience like?
It was incredible!

Who were you most excited to meet?
I ended up meeting the director of Pocahontas during the Oscars. I thought that was pretty rad. I grew up with that movie, so I thought it was pretty cool. I would say I was the most starstruck by the director of Pocahontas.

You were at the premiere of The Hunger Games this week. What did you think of the movie?
I thought it was great! I think the acting was amazing. I thought Jennifer Lawrence did an incredible job, and Josh Hutcherson is just such a great actor. I was blown away by him.

Are you Team Peeta or Team Gale?
I’m Team Katniss! She’s badass.

Ali Gray is iVillage's Senior Associate Entertainment Editor. Follow her on Twitter: @thealigray

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