In a new interview for InStyle, the star spoke to director/writer Clea DuVall about their new film Happiest Season, in which Stewart's character visits her girlfriend's family for the holidays, only to find out that she isn't out to her conservative parents yet. That said, according to Stewart — who identifies as bisexual — the main reason she was drawn to the story was because it felt similar to her own coming out experience in the public eye.
"The first time I ever dated a girl, I was immediately being asked if I was a lesbian. And it's like, 'God, I'm 21 years old.'" Stewart said. "I felt like maybe there were things that have hurt people I've been with. Not because I felt ashamed of being openly gay but because I didn't like giving myself to the public, in a way."
After all, as Stewart explained, while she's never had any "reticence about displaying who I was," she always tried to keep her personal relationships under wraps — especially when she was younger and "being hounded about labeling myself."
"Even in my previous relationships, which were straight, we did everything we could to not be photographed doing things—things that would become not ours," Stewart said. "So I think the added pressure of representing a group of people, of representing queerness, wasn't something I understood then."
"I did feel an enormous pressure," she added, "But it wasn't put on me by the [LGBTQIA+] community. People were seeing those pictures and reading these articles and going, 'Oh, well, I need to be shown.'"
Granted, Stewart is now happy to serve as an inspiration to others who may be struggling with their identity, alluding to the idea that representation and visibility really does matter.
"I was a kid, and I felt personally affronted. Now I relish it," she went on to say. "I love the idea that anything I do with ease rubs off on somebody who is struggling. That shit's dope! When I see a little kid clearly feeling themselves in a way that they wouldn't have when I grew up, it makes me skip."