Embroidered tank, $1,490, and ball skirt, $3,990, similar styles at Carolina Herrera.
Poplin strapless top with embroidered raffia floral applique, $1,500, by Delpozo at modaoperandi.com; boy shorts, price upon request, at Fendi.
With the poise of a true leading lady, Chloë Grace Moretz has Hollywood taking notice. Still, the glamorous movie star has yet to leave home and remains decidedly young at heart.
In her latest film, the sci-fi thriller The 5th Wave, she takes on aliens determined to destroy humankind. When we speak, the blond beauty is duking it out with a whole different beast: “I’m battling L.A. traffic!” she says with an exasperated laugh while running errands for her mom, as the sound of blaring horns punctuate our conversation. She could be any almost-19-year-old (her birthday is Feb. 10) were it not for the brand-new Mercedes GLE 450 she’s driving and the fact that she must outwit the paparazzi, who hound her wherever she goes. “I’ve got it down to a science,” she notes. “I can fly under the radar as long as they’re not outside my house.”
The actress has been playing dark, gritty characters since her first taste of fame as the terrorized daughter in the 2005 remake of The Amityville Horror. Her next big roles—including a precocious, potty-mouthed child avenger in 2010’s Kick-Ass; the adventurous heroine in the Martin Scorsese-directed Hugo in 2011; and the titular telekinetic prom queen who unleashes her own bloodbath on high school bullies in the 2013 reboot of Carrie—solidified her reputation for performances both nuanced and high octane.
After appearing in at least two films per year for the past decade, Moretz has developed into an “it” girl. She’ll star as the title character in the Working Title and Universal live-action production of The Little Mermaid, based on the Hans Christian Andersen classic, which begins filming in March. And she has four films due out this year, including the ribald comedy Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and the edgy drama November Criminals, opposite her Carrie co-star Ansel Elgort. (“It was my first romantic adult role,” she notes.) First up is The 5th Wave (opening Jan. 22), in which she plays “a normal, everyday girl... with human perseverance and inner strength,” she says. “A lot of my career, I’ve played specialized women—in Kick-Ass I was a little assassin; in If I Stay I was a premier cellist—but you don’t need a special set of skills to rise above any circumstances. I thought that was something that young women need to see,” says the actress. Later this year, she’ll star in Brain on Fire, the intense true-life story of New York Post reporter Susannah Cahalan, who “completely loses her mind and ends up in a psych ward.” Of all her recent roles, this one is “the most monumental,” Moretz declares. “It’s a dark, intricate movie and an eye-opener for me. It really tested my acting strength and made me go to places I have truly never gone before,” she continues. In the bare-knuckle role, she’s also stripped raw of the usual glam tools of the trade: no hair and makeup, just unfettered emotion. “I’m in a hospital gown, screaming, going crazy. It was career-changing.”
She’s referring to a career that covers almost as many years as she’s been alive. When she was 4 years old, Moretz moved with her single mom, Teri, and four older brothers from Atlanta to New York, so her brother Trevor could attend the Professional Performing Arts High School. Soon, the acting bug bit her too. “I was a pretty shy kid unless I was acting, when I would set myself free,” she recalls. Moretz began auditioning and booked her first feature film at age 6. Since then, the actress has appeared in more than 50 motion pictures and television shows, and wowed critics in her New York theater debut in 2014, in The Library, directed by Steven Soderbergh.
Tales of terrifying stage mothers are rampant in Hollywood, but Moretz’s mom, who is also her co-manager and producing partner, is her role model. “She’s my biggest influence,” she says. “She’s a 10-year cancer survivor. She birthed all five of us and raised us as a single mom. She infuses hope every day that you can overcome your circumstances no matter what’s going on. You don’t have to be a negative broken-down person about it. You can still be a strong woman carrying her own, happily,” she adds. Oldest brother Brandon is her business manager; second-oldest brother Trevor is her co-manager and her producing partner; and her family serves as “a buffer between me and people who don’t have my best interests in mind. They keep me on the right track,” she says.
As Moretz approaches her 20s, she’s aware of changes in the way in which she’s perceived on film sets. “The minute I turned 18, everyone started treating me differently—I was listened to more; there’s a big difference in the way people respect you,” Moretz says. Much to her dismay, her face “started elongating… and I lost a bit of my baby fat,” she continues. “I’m losing part of who I was—being a kid and having no pressure on me. As a young woman, everything I do is looked at very seriously.”
Last year, to mark her 18th birthday, Moretz took a 4,419-mile cross-country road trip with a friend, which “opened my eyes up to the world,” she says. Now she’s looking forward to the next milestone of adulthood: voting in her first presidential election. She would like to cast her first vote for Hillary Clinton, whom she met in early 2015 at an L.A. fundraiser. “I grew up loving her vicariously through my mom. And as I got older, I started looking more into her ideals and her stance on political issues. I’m a big fan of what she stands for,” says Moretz. “I just wanted to shake her hand, but she sat down with us for 30 minutes. It was wild. She knew everything I had been doing in my career and all about what I’ve been saying and standing for as a young woman,” she marvels. Moretz wants to encourage her generation to get out and vote this year. “We can change the world with our voice!”
Still, Moretz is in no rush to leave behind the comforts of her upbringing. On the contrary, she’s most happy in her “safe haven” on the Westside of L.A., where she lives with her mother; one brother and his boyfriend; and five dogs, including Pearl, a miniature pinscher she adopted from the pound. “She’s 4 pounds, 5 ounces; 11 months old; and the light of my life!”
She remains close with all four siblings, who collectively play a paternal role in her life (Moretz’s father has been out of the picture since her parents split when she was very young). “My life centers around my family,” she explains. “Watching my brothers grow up helped me grow up and make the right decisions. My brothers are my best friends, my family and my father.” After our conversation, she’ll drop off the things she’s picked up for her mom, then meet one brother for dinner and join another brother at the movies. “My friends make fun of me a little because 99 percent of the time, I invite my brothers out with me and not them. Not a day goes by that I don’t see at least two or all of my brothers,” she says.
Meanwhile, Moretz is loving entering adulthood. Her taste in fashion leans toward activewear from Nike and Adidas (“I’m always rushing around from workouts to meetings”); for dress-up occasions, she appreciates Hedi Slimane’s “effortlessly cool” aesthetic at Saint Laurent. In addition, she’s not only the face of Coach, she’s also a self-proclaimed “real Coach girl.”
Her favorite pastimes include going to concerts—good friend Kevin Garrett’s music is “emotionally heartbreaking” and GoldLink is “very poetic. The places he goes in his songs are beautiful,” Moretz enthuses. For exercise, she takes Pilates from celebrity fitness trainer Kim Carruthers and goes horseback riding. Dining out in L.A. means hitting Ago with family, but she also favors Pace, a “superromantic, cute little restaurant in the Hollywood Hills, which is more of a date place.” Moretz is not involved with anyone at the moment, although she has been linked to Brooklyn Beckham (son of Victoria and David Beckham). “I’m just going out and meeting people, trying to keep it fun and young and not lock myself down right now,” she insists. “I barely have time for my own life, much less someone else’s!”
“I’m trying to hold my own as a young woman and make the right decisions—but still try to be a kid. I’m just trying to have fun and be young.”
Hair by Ahn with Tracey Mattingly
Makeup by Mai with Starworks Group
Shot on location at the W Los Angeles - West Beverly Hills
Manicurist: Tracy Clemens with Opus Beauty | Styling assistant: Tristan Milanovich