I love this cover, very nearly unreservedly. Leaving the jacket open creates a bit of a weird visual effect, but I can also see how it being closed would have done the same, but that’s a small thing. The pink is such a striking, smashing color, both in the background and on her body, and I love that she’s dressed like a brooding French poet from a bygone era. Her eyes really connect. Her face is soft but strong (Jillian Dempsey, who is married to Patrick, did the makeup). The whole thing plays into the masculine/feminine dynamic she inhabits in a really sophisticated way.

The profile is typical Vanity Fair — it’s fancy and overwritten, and attempts to conclude with a tortured swimming metaphor. This description, I get: “I’ve never met anyone so synchronously chill and switched on, shaking her leg repeatedly but speaking in rapt chains of thought.” But then there’s this one:

Stewart moves like a writer’s actor, speaking in gestural Morse. She signals with her forehead or a messy flip of her hair, conveys apprehension through the stiff energy stored in her shoulders or the round attitude of her chin. Her green eyes are searching—their undertow puffy—her sonic delivery is low-key and annotative.

That is all word salad, as we like to say. “Moves like a writer’s actor” means nothing. The most evocative bit was the ways she “conveys apprehension,” which I can picture, but mostly because I’ve seen her in action for years on red carpets. And so it goes — the story seeks to inform, but also gets off on trying to explain things in inscrutable terms, so that you feel slightly embarrassed for not, say, understanding instantly what this means: “She speaks about movies not romantically, but as the most disclosing format for arranging what’s unfinished.” I was with it until I wasn’t.

This is an anecdote that speaks well of Kristen, and VERY POORLY of this director. From Olivier Assayas, who cast her in Clouds of Sils Maria and Personal Shopper:

“It really struck me one day. I had a problem: The film was too long. At some point I said, ‘Why don’t we just simplify the credits. The credits are so full of people. No one ever reads those credits,’” recalls Assayas. “And instantly, Kristen was angry with me. She said, ‘What do you mean? It means the world to those guys. It’s so important for them. For you, it’s a tiny second. For them, it’s vital.’”

Finally, there’s this bit about her Twilight fame, which resonated with me:

“I think I’ve grown out of this, but I used to be really frustrated that because I didn’t leap willingly into being at the center of a certain amount of attention, that it seemed like I was an asshole. I am in no way rebellious. I am in no way contrarian. I just want people to like me.”

I think she expresses that very well. She could not have known the breadth of the frenzy that would come when she took that part, and it’s not a character flaw that she didn’t crave that spotlight. I would never have imagined that last three sentence as being true of her — she projects very well the notion that she’s not hung up on people’s perception of her, and that’s a compliment — but, hey, what’s a profile for if not to draw out something you didn’t already know.

[Photo: Vanity Fair]