In a new interview with her Happiest Season writer/director Clea Duvall, InStyle’s November cover star Kristen Stewart opened up about the intense pressure she felt when she first was coming out and how she relates to the characters in the upcoming queer holiday movie.
Happiest Season, which was cowritten by Mary Holland, stars Mackenzie Davis as Harper, a queer woman who hasn’t come out to her family but decides to bring her girlfriend Abby (Stewart) home for Christmas. It’s a story that will resonate with a lot of LGBTQ+ people, and did with Stewart.
When she read the script, the actress immediately loved the couple. “They’re both people I really felt protective of in different ways,” she said, “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.”
Stewart went on to call the work "poignant" and even "triggering," so much so that she was surprised a studio wanted to tell the story. “Living in this world, being a queer person, there are things that hurt constantly,” she said. But she doesn't want to shy away from those things. To wit, she shared a moment in her own experience that proved daunting.
“The first time I ever dated a girl, I was immediately being asked if I was a lesbian,” Stewart says, “and it’s like, ‘God, I’m 21 years old.’” The questions and speculation brought with it questions of representation, which "wasn't something I understood then."
When Duvall asked if Stewart has felt pressure to be a spokesperson for the queer community now that she spoken about her sexuality, Stewart was thoughtful. “I did more when I was younger,” she responded, “when I was being hounded about labeling myself. I had no reticence about displaying who I was.” She added that she “did feel an enormous pressure, but it wasn’t put on me by the LGBTQ community.” But now she relishes in knowing she can inspire others to be themselves.
“I love the idea that anything I do with ease rubs off on someone who is struggling, that shit’s dope!” Stewart said, “When I see a little kid clearly feeling themselves in a way that they wouldn’t have when I grew up, it makes me skip.”
Happiest Season is slated for a November 25, 2020 release.