Dakota Johnson is revealing more than just skin in her latest magazine spread.
The 25-year-old actress left off a lot of clothing (and makeup) for the autumn/winter cover of AnOther Magazine, showing off some major cleavage, freckles, and blond locks.
But the Fifty Shades of Grey actress also gets candid about being a child in a famous family, her rocky road to stardom, and her sexy new role in A Bigger Splash.
“I feel like I grew up in the circus,” she tells the magazine. “I know planes, trains and automobiles. And really talented, weird people.”
Her parents – who were famously married and divorced, and then remarried and divorced again – split custody of Johnson, and had her tag along on film projects so they could spend time with her.
“I’d go absolutely everywhere with them,” she remembers. “It was the only way that I could be with them. And since they were divorced I would spend two weeks with one and two weeks with the other, traveling with a tutor.”
While her nomadic lifestyle was never boring, it kept her isolated from the kids she went to school with when she wasn’t traveling or taking lessons from her tutors.
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“I hated school,” Johnson admits. “I traveled so much in my early years that I didn’t understand the process. I felt suffocated – not like I was some grandiose artist, I just felt like an alien.”
After getting kicked out of an all-girls Catholic school as a teen, she transferred to a private school in Santa Monica, California, where, she says, “There were a lot of children in a similar situation.”
But even being among kids with a similar background didn’t help Johnson feel at home. “I was with my family a lot and I had a very serious boyfriend,” Johnson notes. “I was into a lot of music. I got in trouble for smoking pot I was more interested in spray painting things and hanging out with my friends than I was in school.”
Hoping take up the family business (despite he parents’ objections), she decided to try out for the famed Juilliard School in New York City. Her audition did not go well: “I went in so nervous and my comedic monologue was one that Steve Martin wrote. They didn t think it was funny. At all.” She wasn’t asked to return.
Despite all her recent success, landing major roles like Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey, and joining Johnny Depp and the all-star cast of Black Mass, Johnson says she’s still terrified by auditions.
“Sometimes I panic to the point where I don’t know what I’m thinking or doing. I have a full anxiety attack,” she reveals. “I have them all the time anyway, but with auditioning it’s bad.” But she adds, “The things I’m the most afraid of, I run towards.”
Fortunately, directors have been patient with her nerves, realizing her vulnerability is one of the keys to her scene-stealing presence. For instance, Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino wasn’t phased when Johnson’s recent audition for A Bigger Splash nearly ended in disaster.
“I had a panic attack at the table read, and said, ‘I’m so sorry for wasting your time, but I’m not capable of doing this,’ ” she recalls. “They said, ‘Go back to New York, sort yourself out, and come back and make this movie.’ ”
Johnson ended up landing the role, and fell in love with the part: a sexy, sociopathic, daughter of a rockstar.
“I wanted to use my body and my body language to make her the darkest person she could be, as well as making her desirable. It’s such an interesting thing, when young women are hyper-aware of their sexuality,” says Johnson. “That’s something that struck home with me. I feel like those women really provoke other women, too. If I see young girls flaunting their bodies around, I’m annoyed if I don’t think they know what they’re doing. It was so much fun to create a character that makes people really uncomfortable.”