Elle It's not enough for Dakota Fanning to be advanced for her age. The 19-year-old actress and fashion muse also has to be early—so early, in fact, that a panicked publicist calls 15 minutes before the starlet is scheduled to arrive at the National Arts Awards in NYC. "Are you close to the party?" she asks. "Dakota's ready!"
Of course she is. This is the girl who nabbed a SAG nomination (for I Am Sam) at 7, a Steven Spielberg lead role (in War of the Worlds, opposite Tom Cruise) at 10, and her first Marc Jacobs ad at 12. (A second campaign, for the brand's perfume Oh Lola, came at 17.)
Now Fanning is the youngest-ever recipient of an Americans for the Arts award, joining past winners like Andy Warhol, Julie Andrews, and Mikhail Baryshnikov. And before she accepted the honor at Cipriani in NYC last night, we spoke with her behind the podium—because we like to be a little bit early, too…
We did some research...
[Laughs] Oh no! What did you find out?
No, it's good! You're the youngest person ever to receive the Bell Family Foundation Young Artist Award.
Oh, really? I didn't know that. That's cool!
Natalie Portman got hers when she was 21, so you've got two years on her. But please tell us, there must be some milestones you achieved after everyone else. Maybe you still have training wheels on your bike?
Yes, exactly! No, there are plenty of things I've done on time or late, I promise. But with the Young Artist Award, it's super exciting to be here and I'm really honored they're recognizing me.
You've given many phenomenal performances...
But of course, we want to know about that time you were on 'Friends.' Do you remember taping it?
Oh yeah, of course! I was on the last season ever of Friends, and I remember when I got the job, I was super excited. I was 9 at the time, but I remember knowing how cool it was then, and also knowing, somehow, that having been on the show was only going to get cooler.
What was the best part about it? Please say Jennifer Aniston gave you hair advice.
Actually, it's something fun to talk about now, because it's not really that known—that I was on Friends, you know? So I like surprising people with it, because people will always say, "Oh I love that show," and I can say, "Oh, yeah? I was on it!"
Do you have a vice or a guilty pleasure?
Maybe Bravo reality shows…well, definitely Bravo reality shows [laughs].
For a big event like this, or a premiere, how long does it take to pick out a look for the red carpet?
This dress is Vionnet. Actually, I picked it out quickly—I had to—because I just had my wisdom teeth out. I was in pain, I was swollen, I looked terrible, and I picked out this dress. So I'm glad it worked out okay.
I sympathize. I got my wisdom teeth out when I was 19, too.
Yeah, see? Exactly! There are plenty of things I do on time!
Nylon We found out even more about Miss Fanning last night at the American for the Arts 2013 reception, where we quizzed her on her favorite guilty pleasure bands, movies, and why the elephant is her spirit animal.
How many dresses did you have to go through to find this one tonight?
I actually didn't have that many; I picked this dress out a while ago, so I've just known that this was it for a little bit.
I see. Random throwback question: when you were a little kid, which bands were you obsessed with?
It was definitely Britney Spears and those big pop stars for me. That was what I loved. ' N Sync, Backstreet Boys...that whole thing. That's what I was into, for sure.
What is your spirit animal?
[Laughts] That's so funny, I was just talking about that with my friend! Yes, I do have one. My spirit animal is an elephant, because elephants have really good memories and so do I. We have a lot in common!
What three movies make up the best movie night?
Hm...it depends, because I have very varied tastes. I think if you're wanting something really fun, I just recorded My Best Friend's Wedding, which is one of my favorite movies. My favorite movie of all time is What's Eating Gilbert Grape, which is a little more serious. And then if you want something a little more action-y then I would go with Iron Man.
Full Coverage Here