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Wearing a cornflower-blue minidress that makes her pale, polished-marble skin appear incomprehensibly luminous, she telegraphs a serene self-confidence, offset by occasional bursts of teenage gawkiness.When she stands still and gazes into the camera, she has an unearthly, doll-like beauty – huge, wide-set blue eyes and a slightly exaggerated forehead – but then she bursts into a goofy laugh, or twists her ankles into an awkward angle, and she's once again just an 18-year-old girl playing dressing-up.Although she was home-schooled until her early teens, she went on to an ordinary high school (albeit one whose alumnae include Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) in Hollywood, where she was a cheerleader.'I wanted the social part of it and the classroom experience,’ she says.'When I go to the premières I see the people who have camped out for weeks, and it’s all really exciting,’ she says, 'but I think if I were in the middle of it, it would be very intense.’ Her next two films will certainly broaden audiences’ perception of her talents.
Fanning is so committed to acting that she’s stayed in the sweltering city during her holidays to film Very Good Girls – about two teens vying to lose their virginity – alongside Elizabeth Olsen.'And that can be difficult, because sometimes who you are and the characters you play don’t match up.Like, I found that when I was 12 the characters I responded to were emotional and sometimes dark, and I had to be true to that…The experience is somewhat bittersweet, as it would be for any 18-year-old. It's good never to take anything for granted.’ Fanning was born in Conyers, a small city near Atlanta.'I was saying to my mom the other day, it’s so weird not to have anyone around to run things by. Precocious from the beginning, she learnt to read at two and started primary school two years early; she caught the acting bug doing drama at summer camp, and by five was starring in so many advertisements that her family upped sticks and moved to Los Angeles.