Playing George Clooney‘s daughter in the hit 2011 movie The Descendants is Woodley‘s most recent and arguably most memorable role to date, although her list of impressive film and TV credits is pushing 30, with three projects in the works. The 22-year-old actress is somewhat atypical in her views and ideas, which sound more like a love child of the 60s than a young Hollywood ingenue. Wherever she got her ideas – a mixture of old school practices, new age fads and a touch of vagabond freedom – Woodley comes off as charming and down-to-earth.
Woodley claims she forages the hills of Southern California for wild food that makes up 35% of her diet; she visits local farms for fruits and vegetables to take up the slack. She also makes her own cheese (no word on where she gets the milk) and instead of drinking tap or bottled water, Woodley gathers fresh spring water from the surrounding mountains every month and takes it home to keep her hydrated. On her relationship with nature, Woodley told Coco Eco, “I’ve always had a thing for trees; I think they are just so profound, so when I was 15 and in high school, I was watching the trees and the leaves blowing in the wind. The juxtaposition of the wind blowing, and the leaves and the trash from the school lunch in the air, made me so mad. Ever since then I have just had this really intense passion for educating myself and other people, on the environment and what we’re doing to the planet.” That fresh-faced look is not fake; a natural diet, roaming the woods and mountains, and youth are a winning combination for health and beauty.
No high-fives or formal handshakes for Woodley; she prefers the intimacy of hugs. Or maybe she’s a little germophobic since she also commented, “Hmm, I don’t know where that hand’s been.” Woodley said she thinks hugging gives people heart to heart contact instead of the traditional and comparatively cold righthand-to-righthand handshake. Woodle commented, “Maybe it says something about our society that we go to the right and not to the heart.” Peace, sister.
A cab driver allegedly told Woodley that in his native Africa, pregnant women eat clay when they’re pregnant. Hate to burst the exotic bubble, but pregnant women all over earth sometimes eat clay and dirt allegedly due to a mineral deficiency (called pica) in their diet. Nonetheless, Woodley wisely advises, ” Seriously—ask your taxi drivers where they are from and about their customs. You will learn a lot.” Just be sure the meter doesn’t keep running while they tell their stories.
While wrapping her last movie Divergent, Woodly told Seth Myers on his late night show that she got rid of everything she owned, including her cell phone, fit all of her belongings into a carry-on bag, and slept on the couches of Los Angeles friends and family for a couple of months. No word on whether she packed wild food in her satchel or just ate what her hosts had on hand. Seems a little drastic but the $250K to $500K she’ll reportedly make from that movie will help her buy new things and find her own place to live when the sojourn ends.
None of those miracle pharmaceuticals for Woodley; she’s chosen the herbalist route to stay healthy. “I make my own medicines; I don’t get those from doctors…I make everything from my own toothpaste to my own body lotions and face oils, “Woodley said. She’s also fond of an herb called mugwort. The weed grows all over the country and is used for tea, as a topical treatment for itchy skin, or as Woodley uses it. She said, “(Mugwort) is supposed to help enhance dreams. You can burn a little before bed or sleep on a mugwort pillow.” But check with the people’s whose couch you’re sleeping on before you fire up a bundle of dried mugwort at bedtime as it produces a heavy, irritating smoke.
Woodley is forced to wear makeup while acting but shuns it offscreen after seeing what a magazine did to her image. “… I had big red lips that definitely did not belong on my face. I had boobs about three times the size they are in real life. My stomach was completely flat. My skin was also flawless,” she told Interview magazine. Woodley said she didn’t want to be falsely represented or have young female fans think people actually looked that perfect. Woodley also claims her wardrobe mainly consists of second-hand or vintage clothing and adds, “I’m not a girlie girl at all. I never wear dresses. I’m always in either long, baggy skirts that I can still do ‘crisscross applesauce’ in, or blue jeans.”
Seizing the Day
Although Woodley makes a lot of low-key choices in her life, don’t mistake her lust for life. Woodley revealed in her Interview discussion, “The second I wake up, I scream very loudly ‘Good morning! Good morning!’ And then I scream out, ‘Exciting day! Exciting day!’ I feel like it completely sets the mood for the whole day.” That’s fine if you’re sleeping in your own bed – alone – but belting out that morning greeting while crashing on friend’s couches will likely get you a bum rush out the door and back into the wild.
Alternate Career Choices
Woodley is not resting on her acting laurels gathered thus far; she realizes the fragility of acting careers. The options she’s considered are interesting. She told Marie Claire magazine, “If I didn’t have acting, I would be just as happy. I would probably be an herbalist, or maybe I would open a fruit stand on a Hawaiian island.” On a day when she felt a little bit less ambitious, Woodley told Elle magazine, “I just want to drift. I’m just going to be a drifter… Maybe I’ll work in a tea shop. Or live in Amsterdam. Or be a nanny. Life experience only helps us as actors. I need new experiences to draw upon.” And during another interview, Woodley mused, “But right now I feel like I’m taking my life lessons backpacking and gardening and learning how to make tables. I’m really interested in woodworking.” How it all turns out will be interesting.