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Why Rooney Mara Considers the Red Carpet a 'Nightmare'

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VOGUE/David Sims

On her dark and dramatic Girl with the Dragon Tattoo press tour last year, Rooney Mara cemented her place as one to watch in the fashion world. But it turns out that’s not an accolade the actress enjoys.

“The thing is, it’s kind of an annoying part of the job — because I’m not a model, and I don’t want to be,” Mara laments in the February issue of Vogue. “I didn’t try to be a style icon. I’m just not that interested in that world. But [fashion] does matter, and either I can fight that or I just have to accept that it is a part of my job, and I may as well wear things that I like and that represent me.”

Mara has continually stunned on the red carpet, in avant-garde looks from the likes of Givenchy, Nina Ricci and Prabal Gurung. And while she doesn’t mind slipping into the haute designs, she’d rather not pose for the camera while wearing them.

“[The red carpet experience] is a nightmare,” she admits. “It’s a panic attack waiting to happen. I don’t even like people to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me … And then I have to walk out onto the middle of this carpet and there are all these photographers, and they’re all screaming at you.”

But the anxiety doesn’t stop there: “Usually there’s a party at the other end of it, so it’s not even like I have solace at the end of the carpet! It’s like then I have to walk into my other nightmare.” Funny — that sounds like a pretty good time to us!

For more with Mara, click over to, and pick up the February issue of Vogue, on newsstands Jan. 22. Tell us: Do you consider Mara a style icon? 

–Jennifer Cress