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Kristen Stewart Defends Gender-Bending Rolling Stone Cover in Berlin

Kristen Stewart Defends Gender-Bending Rolling Stone Cover in Berlin
Kristen Stewart Defends Gender-Bending Rolling Stone Cover in Berlin

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Kristen Stewart has defended her risque’ photo shoot for the March Rolling Stone magazine cover that went viral and divided audiences on social media platforms.

“The existence of a female body thrusting any type of sexuality at you that’s not designed for exclusively straight males is something people are not super comfy with and so I’m really happy with it,” Stewart told a press conference on Sunday at the Berlin Film Festival for her latest movie, Love Lies Bleeding.

The photos feature a mullet-clad Stewart wearing jock straps and basketball shorts. The spread quickly went viral on social media, as fans marveled over the opportunity for a queer celebrity to get a hyper-sexualized photoshoot that isn’t catered toward the male gaze.

Stewart, who is bisexual, said she enjoyed breaking with traditional stereotypes about what it means to be feminine. “It’s okay to take different pictures and mix them up in a way that people aren’t used to and want to go and that’s okay, too,” she added.

Stewart insisted the androgynous images taken by Collier Schorr for Rolling Stone should not be that big of a deal. “In fact, it’s pervasive and it’s everywhere and it’s being denied and it’s crazy that there aren’t more pictures like that. I loved the opportunity,” she added.

Love Lies Bleeding, directed by Rose Glass, follows Lou (Kristen Stewart) as the manager of a gym in middle-of-nowhere America who falls for a bodybuilder Jackie (Katy O’Brian) after she blows into town on her way to a competition in Vegas. The two quickly run into trouble with Lou’s father (Ed Harris), an arms dealer who runs the local crime ring.

Moving from magazines to movies, Stewart talked about making lesbian-themed films like Loves Lies Bleeding for mainstream audiences, rather than in and for an echo chamber. “We can’t keep doing that thing where we tell everyone how to feel, and where we sort of pat each other on the back and receive brownie points for providing space for marginalized voices and only in the capacity that they are allowed to speak about that alone,” Stewart told the Berlinale presser .

“The era of queer films, being so pointedly only that, is over. It’s done. Maybe they’ll happen, but I think things develop and move on. It’s just so inherent to how we’re all moving forward,” she added. Stewart pointed to Happiest Season, her LGBTQ+ Christmas romcom that was entirely commercially-driven, and yet sparked in her an interest in bringing to wider audiences other movies with diverse voices and issues.

“It’s not making (movies) about the reasons that they’re sidelined, but peoples’ actual experiences, what they love, what their desires are, where they come from, where they want to go and, yeah, not feeling like you always have to stand on a fucking soapbox and be everyone’s spokesperson,” Stewart argued.

The Hollywood actress also gave a progress report on her upcoming starring role in a Susan Sontag biopic. “The Sontag thing will be made over such a long span of time. The format is unique. It’s a hybrid documentary, research project, experiment, film-within-a-film type thing. We started last year here at the festival. I don’t know when we’re going to finish it. It’s sort of an open-ended process.”

Love Lies Bleeding, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, received postive reviews from critics, including The Hollywood Reporter‘s David Rooney. He wrote that director Rose Glass had delivered “a lesbian neo-noir drenched in brooding nightscapes, violent crime and more hardcore KStew cool than has ever been packaged in such a potent concentrate.”

A24 will release Love Lies Bleeding in the U.S. on March 8.

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