The Resurrection of Kristen Stewart

Maggie Turner, Features Editor

Kristen Stewart isn’t the timid and awkward Bella Swan we first saw in Twilight in 2008. In this 14 year span, the world has seen her evolve and change, but she has never been as transcendent as she is now, coming off her critically-acclaimed performance as Princess Diana Spencer in the 2021film Spencer. When the immensely popular Twilight Saga took off, Stewart’s image came into the critical view quicker than expected. 

While in a relationship with her co-star Robert Pattinson, the two became commodified, acting as ploys to draw attention to the franchise. This media fixation grew so encompassing that Stewart was repeatedly shamed after pictures leaked of her embracing a much older director in 2012. Afterwards, it seemed as if she became an enemy of the media, and was tossed to the side after being so beloved in prior years. 

Later in 2016, she looked back on the relationship, saying “People wanted me and Rob to be together so badly that our relationship was made into a product… It wasn’t real life anymore… I don’t want to become a part of a story for entertainment value.”  and that Women are always saying they are sorry. I do it all the time. We have that innate desire to please.” After the huge success of Twilight, Stewart stepped back from the ever present stress of Hollywood. She appeared in a handful of films each year, but nothing seemed truly meaningful to her, and she found herself questioning her role in the industry. But in more recent years after time spent away from the public eye, it seems Stewart is more fleshed out than ever. 

“The public kind of burned me at the stake, But that’s OK, I can take it. I’m not dead.”

As of January 2022, Stewart has garnered 18 different critics associations wins for her portrayal of the beloved Lady Di, and is a frontrunner for the coveted Best Actress Oscar award. In what seems like just a matter of months, she has burst on the scene once again, proving her ability to deliver one of the best performances of the year. But this came at no easy feat. Stewart studied with a dialect coach for four months, perfecting the well known Diana accent, even developing lockjaw as a result.

 In an interview with The New York Times, she discussed the parallels between her and Diana’s experience with the public, saying “​​Every way that we reach out toward each other has to be designed from an interior place. Therefore, it’s a form of manipulation. You want someone to understand you; you want to make someone feel the way that you feel,” As she was similarly criticized by the media like Diana, a clear relationship is formed between the two women. However, Stewart then added, “The reason I’m sort of reluctant to acknowledge the comparison is because I’ve just never been told to sit and stay in the way that was so damaging and dishonest as it was from her perspective.” Knowing both experiences, Stewart comes to terms with herself and who Diana was, two strikingly different yet influential figures.

In the climax of Spencer, a montage of Diana dancing traipses across the screen, where she wordlessly conveys different stages of her life and her experiences. Diana, a woman who was never able to express who she really was, finally lets go and accepts herself It almost symbolizes a sense of freedom for the princess, where she could truly embrace her own identity, one the royal family tried to hide from the world. For Stewart, filming it was somewhat of the same experience, expressing that “It was so unbridling and so shocking at times, and so emotional.” 

In a true rebirth, Kristen Stewart has been able to reassert herself to those who doubted her. While Diana was unable to escape this ever-present fixation, Stewart focuses on her journey ahead. She is set to direct her first film, The Chronology of Water, and just recently got engaged to her long-time partner. Although we love saying “Bella, where the hell have you been loca?” Kristen Stewart has risen above Twilight beginnings, and is on the path to even more good.

Stewart as Diana in Spencer