Chloë Grace Moretz has grown to be a staple in Hollywood since having her breakthrough moment in 2010 at just 12 years old and booking big gigs consistently in the decade since. However, her journey hasn’t been without difficulty as the now 25-year-old reflects on the intense scrutiny that she’s dealt with as a public figure.
In an interview for hunger magazine, Moretz said that she remembers the day that she became aware of her fame when she was still just a teen. “It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was 18 and doing a red carpet. I walked off of it and I felt so much self-loathing and was really confused about the experience that just went down. I was really unwell after that ,” she said. “There was this complete jarring shift in my consciousness, I questioned who I was. What am I doing? Who am I? Why am I doing this? Like, what does this mean?”
It was years prior that Moretz had her first encounter with the paparazzi after she starred in the film Kick-Ass. Now, she calls it a distant memory although it was unfortunately unforgettable.
“I was a kid and 90 percent of the time no one would really bother me. But after Kick-Ass, the first time I experienced paparazzi, it was 10 to 15 adult guys surrounding a 12-year-old girl,” she recalled. “They pushed my mom and she ended up falling into traffic — she didn’t get hurt, but the situation was really chaotic. It’s an assault on all the senses, with screaming and flashes. I got into the car afterwards and I just burst into tears. I think that’s my marker of before and after.”
Still, it wasn’t until she was older that she truly experienced “the darkness that comes with fame,” as she grappled with the way that she was represented in the public sphere and how little control she seemed to have over that.
“For a long time I was able to be the Chloë that people see and the Chloë that I am in private. Then those two worlds collided and I felt really raw and vulnerable and open,” she said. “And then came the onslaught of horrific memes that started getting sent to me about my body.”
While social media has played a role in the way that celebrities interact with their fans in an authentic way, it also provides an opportunity for people to engage with public figures on their own terms. For Moretz, there’s a standout incident in which a photo that circulated took a hit on her confidence.
“There was one meme that really affected me, of me walking into a hotel with a pizza box in my hand. And this photo got manipulated into a character from Family Guy with the long legs and the short torso, and it was one of the most widespread memes at the time,” she said. “Everyone was making fun of my body and I brought it up with someone and they were like, ‘Oh, shut the f*** up, it’s funny.’ And I just remember sitting there and thinking, my body is being used as a joke and it’s something that I can’t change about who I am, and it is being posted all over Instagram. It was something so benign as walking into a hotel with leftovers. And to this day, when I see that meme, it’s something very hard for me to overcome.”
Moretz said that she’s turned to therapy to “work through” all that comes with her celebrity. After the meme incident, it even became the more exciting parts of her job that felt compromised.
“It took a layer of something that I used to enjoy, which was getting dressed up and going to a carpet and taking a photo, and made me super self-conscious. And I think that body dysmorphia — which we all deal with in this world — is extrapolated by the issues of social media,” she explained. “It’s a headf***.”
As a result, the actress said she “basically became a recluse” to take some much needed time out of the spotlight so that she could ground herself in a private setting. That came with pros and cons.
“It was great because I got away from the photographers and I was able to be myself, and to have so many experiences that people didn’t photograph, but at the same time it made me severely anxious when I was photographed,” she said . “My heart rate would rise and I would hyperventilate.”
Moretz admitted that she was appreciative of getting a break from the public eye during the pandemic, especially as people became more incognito as a result of mask wearing.
“I just put a hat on, put a mask on and then put my hood up and would be able to get away with a lot more, like go to a concert or bite my lip or have undocumented pimples,” she said. “For me it was a time of introspection. I lost my father during the pandemic, not due to COVID-related issues, but there was a big amount of change in a really transformative time period. After that happened I had to go to London to start filming [The Peripheral]. And I think that working again came at the perfect time in a lot of ways.”
And even as work and life continue to evolve back to business as usual, she is set on incorporating more time off into her schedule.
“It’s a new thing I’m doing,” she said. “Taking time to refill my cup. It’s all about boundaries and using your voice.”
Wellness, parenting, body image and more: Get to know the who behind the hi with Yahoo Life’s newsletter. Sign up here.