Remember the hyperactive exhibitionist kid in elementary school who acted out in ways too inexplicable and unfunny to pass as the class clown? Just, like, the class weirdo? Somewhere in Kentucky in the nineties, that kid was Jennifer Lawrence. In her big September Vogue profile, Lawrence tells Jonathan Van Meter — over the course of a suspiciously tame “seven-hour bender” at the Odeon — that she was unhappy and anxious and in therapy as a child. She wasn’t picked on, she wasn’t too smart — she just hated social activity and “had a very different sense of humor.”
“I ask Lawrence how that manifested itself in, say, junior high. She launches into several tales as examples. Like the time she decided it would be funny to jump out of the emergency exit of a moving school bus; or the time she thought it would be really funny to announce to the entire seventh grade that she wet the bed; or this: “My family went on a cruise, and I got a terrible haircut. FYI: Never get your hair cut on a cruise. And I had, like, this blonde curly ‘fro, and I walked into the gym the first day back in seventh grade and everyone was staring at me, and for some reason I thought, I know what I need to do! And I just started sprinting from one end of the gym to the other, and I thought it was hilarious. But nobody else at that age really did. It was genuinely weird.”
That confession is sadly about as wild at things got during Lawrence and Van Meter’s bender, but his profile includes some more-interesting-than-usual hand-wringing about Lawrence’s quick rise to fame. It’s as if everyone interviewed — Lawrence, her BFF/assistant Justine, the directors she’s worked with — are anticipating some breakdown and/or backlash in the beloved, unfiltered actress’s near future. You get the sense everyone in Hollywood thinks she’s too real for their world. In two different places, Catching Fire director Francis Lawrence (no relation) begs the actress to take some time off, avoid overexposure, and preserve her anonymity. I’m glad he waited until after the tweed-heavy Mario Testino photo shoot to file that request.