Apparently it is possible to bring up a child star in Hollywood and not have them end up like Lindsay, Ali or Miley. Just ask the parents of Dakota Fanning.
Currently being lauded for her portrayal of the evil Volturi member Jane in New Moon, the teen was also just named homecoming queen at her high school, where she’s also a cheerleader. And no, it’s not a stage school!
So, how and why is 15-year-old Dakota such a cool teen, when the likes of Ali Lohan and Frances Bean Cobain come across as grabbing and spoilt little nightmares?
Starting her career aged four, voicing a Disney animation, Dakota’s first foray onto the small screen was in Ally McBeal when she was six. But she really came to prominence winning rave reviews for her role as mentally disabled Sean Penn’s daughter Lucy in 2001’s I Am Sam.
But as the movie roles grew bigger, her head didn’t – and her parents, Steve and Joy, insisted on keeping her as grounded as poss.
“I’ve never gotten [an allowance],” revealed Dakota, who earns around Dhs14 million-a-movie. “I don’t even think about that ever. It’s put aside for later.” Adding, “My mum said, ‘I’m not going to pay you to make your bed. You’ll make your bed when I tell you to.’ Whatever my parents ask me to do, I do.”
Dakota swapped home-schooling for high school, revealing, “I really wanted a home base, because I feel like no matter how old people are, they remember homecoming. They remember their senior prom. And I really wanted that.”
And joining the cheerleading squad as soon as she started high school, Dakota was recently named as homecoming queen.
“I get my rebellion out through movies,” insisted the teen.
“I enjoy having a normal life.”
Mature beyond her years
Almost supernaturally mature for her age, Dakota has revealed how career decisions are always left up to her.
“When I go for meetings, I always go by myself and I have since I was six,” she spilled. “Of course I have my parents and an agent – I’m not like alone in this – but I think when it comes to choosing the movies you want to do, I’m the one who has to put so much of my time and energy into it.”
Don’t ever change, Ms F!
Dakota’s star fans
Kristen Stewart: “Dakota is one of the most consistent actors I’ve ever worked with. I’m always better with her.”
Kurt Russell:“I’ve worked with them all. I’ve worked with Meryl Streep! I guarantee you, Dakota Fanning is the best actress I will work with in my entire career.”
Steven Spielberg:“Dakota Fanning has a gift. She has an extraordinary gift.”
Tom Cruise:“She’s a very unique talent and a really terrific person. She has impeccable manners, too. She writes thank you letters.”