Shailene Woodley is an American actor and activist. She became popular with her role ‘Alexandra 'Alex' King,’ a teenager suffering from drug addiction, in ‘The Descendants.’ After her praiseworthy performance in ‘The Descendants,’ she came up with several other performances that displayed her ability to portray challenging roles effortlessly. Shailene went on to secure a prominent place in the film industry early in her career which is an achievement in itself. Starting her career by appearing in commercials and television series, she went on to play prominent roles in Hollywood films. Thanks to her acting skills, she has won many awards, including ‘MTV Movie Awards,’ ‘People's Choice Awards,’ and ‘Teen Choice Awards.’ She has also been nominated for prestigious awards, such as ‘BAFTA Awards,’ ‘Golden Globe Awards,’ and ‘Primetime Emmy Awards.’ Apart from being a successful actor, Shailene Woodley is also an environmentalist and activist. In 2010, she co-founded the 'All it Takes' non-profit organization along with her mother. In 2016, she was honored with the ‘Entertainment Industry Environmental Leadership Award’ at the 20th ‘Anniversary Global Green Environmental Awards’ for co-founding the ‘All it Takes’ organization.
Childhood & Early Life
Shailene Diann Woodley was born on 15 November 1991, in San Bernardino, California, USA, to Lori Victor and Lonnie Woodley. Her mother Lori is a middle school counselor, while her father Lonnie is a school principal.
She grew up with her younger brother Tanner in Simi Valley, California. While attending regular school, she was also part of commercials and modeling from the age of four.
When she was five years old, she began taking acting lessons from Anthony Meindl. After completing elementary education, she joined ‘Simi Valley High School.’
Shailene had a difficult time during high school as she got into wrong company and began consuming alcohol. She later managed to control her alcohol consumption with the assistance of her parents.
At the age of 15, she started suffering from Scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine, for which she had to wear a plastic brace from her chest to hip. Fortunately, it was detected early and there weren’t any repercussions.
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At the age of eight, she made her television debut with the show ‘Replacing Dad.’ After a couple of years, she appeared in minor roles in television shows like ‘The District’ and ‘Crossing Jordan.’
Her performance was noted, and in 2004 she landed the lead role in a television film titled ‘A Place Called Home.’
Her popularity as a child artist increased when she played ‘Kaitlin Cooper’ in ‘The O.C.’ Subsequently, she was offered the titular television role in ‘Felicity: An American Girl Adventure.’
From 2004 to 2008, she appeared in guest roles in several shows. Her roles in ‘Everybody Loves Raymond,’ ‘My Name is Earl,’ ‘CSI: NY,’ and ‘Close to Home’ helped her better her skills as an actor and provided more exposure.
In 2008, she was signed to play the part of ‘Amy Juergens,’ the protagonist of ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager.’ The series had a positive impact on her career. In the series, Shailene played the role of a pregnant teenager. The ordeals faced by the character were brilliantly executed by the actor.
A Young Film Star
‘The Descendants’ was a turning point in her career. In 2011, she played the spoiled daughter of ‘Matt King,’ played by George Clooney. She gained experience on the sets of the film and was applauded for her portrayal of the character.
After appearing in ‘The Descendants,’ she was featured on the front pages of many magazines. The ‘People’ magazine named her in the list of ‘Most Beautiful at Every Age’ in 2012, and ‘Nylon’ magazine called her ‘The Future of Hollywood.’
In 2013, she played the role of ‘Aimee Finecky,’ a nerd in relationship with a high school senior, played by Miles Teller, in the movie ‘The Spectacular Now.’ According to ‘Los Angeles Times’ and ‘The Guardian,’ her performance in the film was strong and mature.
Meanwhile, in 2012, she signed the film ‘White Bird in a Blizzard.’ Though the film received mixed reviews, her performance in the movie was appreciated. Critics felt that her acting in the movie was natural.
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In 2012, she also played the role of ‘Mary Jane Watson’ in ‘The Amazing Spiderman 2.’ However, her character was removed from the movie as the production team thought that the inclusion of her character would cause a distraction in the main plot.
In 2014, ‘Orlando Weekly’ claimed that her performance as ‘Beatrice Prior’ in ‘The Divergent’ rescued the film from being a box-office dud. It was also claimed that her performance took the film to the top spot in its first week, making it a blockbuster.
A Phenomenal Actress
One of her iconic performances till date is her portrayal of ‘Hazel Grace,’ a cancer patient, in the film ‘The Fault in Our Stars,’ an adaptation of John Green’s novel. The author himself stated that Shailene’s representation of the character was breathtaking.
‘Chicago Sun-Times’ recommended an ‘Oscar’ nomination for Shailene for her performance in ‘The Fault in Our Stars.’ The publication said that her role was the most memorable part of the movie.
She reprised her role as ‘Beatrice Prior’ in ‘The Divergent Series: Insurgent,’ the sequel of ‘The Divergent.’ She was also seen in ‘The Divergent Series: Allegiant,’ the third installment in ‘The Divergent Series.’
The year 2016 saw her playing ‘Lindsay Mills’ opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the biographical thriller film ‘Snowden’ which released in the United States on September 22, 2016.
After establishing herself in the film industry, Shailene started focusing on playing television roles. In 2017, she was cast alongside Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon to play the pivotal role of ‘Jane Chapman’ in the ‘HBO’ series ‘Big Little Lies.’
She became a full-time producer with her 2018 romantic drama movie ‘Adrift’ which was directed by Baltasar Kormákur. The movie received mixed reviews from critics, and her performance was appreciated by many.
In 2019, she played the lead role in the Drake Doremus-directed romantic drama film ‘Endings, Beginnings.’ The same year, she was cast to play ‘Jennifer Stirling’ in the romantic drama film ‘The Last Letter from Your Lover.’ In 2019, she was also cast to play ‘Teri Duncan’ in a drama film titled ‘Prisoner 760.’
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‘Rolling Stone’ praised her performance in ‘The Fault in Our Stars,’ calling her “a sublime actress.” The magazine also claimed that she was “incapable of a false move on camera.” The movie earned more than 307 million dollars at the box office.
Her performance in ‘The Divergent Series’ established her as a bankable star in the American film industry. The film series generated hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide, with the third installment gathering 179.2 million dollars.
Awards & Achievements
She received her first nomination as an actor at the ‘Young Artist Award’ for ‘Best Leading Young Actress in a TV Movie’ for her performance in the 2004 television film ‘A Place Called Home.’
She won at the 2013 ‘Sundance Film Festival’ under ‘Special Jury Award for Acting’ category for her role in ‘The Spectacular Now.’ For her role in the film, she was also nominated at the ‘Independent Spirit Awards’ in 2014.
In 2014, she won the ‘Breakout Performance – Actress’ award for ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ at ‘The Hollywood Film Awards.’
She was nominated at both ‘Golden Globes’ and ‘Primetime Emmy Awards’ for her role in ‘Big Little Lies.’
Personal Life & Legacy
In 2018, she confirmed that she is dating Ben Volavola, an Australian-Fijian rugby union player.
In an interview on the ‘Jimmy Kimmel’ show, she stated that she has given her home to her grandmother as she isn’t around to make much use of it. She stays over with her friends whenever she is in Los Angeles.
She is an environmental activist and opposed the ‘Dakota Access Pipeline’ installation and was also arrested for trespassing in Saint Anthony, North Dakota. However, she stood her ground and continued to revolt, considering it an environmental hazard.
She is also a member of ‘Our Revolution,’ a political organization working towards creating awareness among voters to select progressive candidates as their leaders.
Woodley uses clay to brush her teeth and washes her mouth with sesame oil to keep her teeth fresh and white.