Born Kristen Jaymes Stewart on April 9, 1990, in Los Angeles, California, she made her first television appearance at the age of eight after her performance in a grade school Christmas play caught the eye of a talent scout. Her father John Stewart is a stage manager and television producer who has worked for Fox.
Her mother Jules Mann-Stewart is originally from Maroochydore, Queensland, Australia. She is a script supervisor and has also directed a film. Stewart landed a more substantial in the independent film The Safety of Objects (2001).
But the actress’s big break didn’t come until 2002, when she was cast as the lead in the blockbuster drama Panic Room, starring with film veterans Jodie Foster, Forest Whitaker and Jared Leto. Stewart’s role as the diabetic, troubled teen caught the attention of critics, who praised her understated and solid performance.
Stewart appeared in the fantasy-adventure film Zathura (2005), playing the role of Lisa, the irresponsible older sister of two little boys. During their playing a board game, they turn their house into a spacecraft hurtling uncontrollably in outer space.
The film was praised by critics, but Stewart’s performance did not garner much media attention. Her character is immobilized during most of the film. The next year, she played the character Maya in Fierce People (2006), directed by Griffin Dunne.
After that film, she received the lead role of Jess Solomon in the supernatural thriller film The Messengers. She co-starred in The Cake Eaters, an independent film that has been screened only at film festivals. Both the film and Stewart’s performance received many positive reviews.
On November 16, 2007, Summit Entertainment announced that Stewart would play main character Isabella “Bella” Swan in the film Twilight, based on Stephanie Meyer’s bestselling vampire romance novel of the same name.
Stewart was on the set of Adventure land when director Catherine Hardwicke visited her for an informal screen test, which “captivated” the director. She starred alongside Robert Pattinson, who plays Edward Cullen, her vampire boyfriend.Twilight was released domestically on November 21, 2008.
In 2009, Stewart starred in The Yellow Handkerchief, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and was released into theatres in 2010 by Samuel Goldwyn Films.
She also starred alongside James Gandolfini in Welcome to the Rileys, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2010. On December 6, 2011, Stewart was named number one on Forbes magazine’s list of “Hollywood’s Best Actors for the Buck.”
On January 13, 2012, she became the face of a new unnamed Balenciaga perfume; in June, its name was promoted as “Florabotanica”. Stewart next appeared alongside Juliette Binoche and Chloë Grace Moretz in Clouds of Sils Maria.
The film had its premiere at 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Her performance in the film earned her critical acclaim. Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter said that “Stewart’s habitual low-keyed style, which can border on the monotone, functions as effectively underplayed contrast.
“Peter Debruge of Variety praised her, saying that “Stewart is the one who actually embodies what Binoche’s character most fears, countering the older actress’ more studied technique with the same spontaneous, agitated energy that makes her the most compellingly watchable American actress of her generation.”