Alphabet Kids

Finding your way through psychiatric labels for kids.

Kristen Stewart's afraid she'll be assassinated; is it the 'Twilight' of her mental health?

Afraid of assassination, is actress Kristen Stewart too shy for fame?

Kristen Stewart doesn't like public places like Red Carpet events. She's afraid someone's going to kill her.

The appeal of Kristen Stewart, 21, who began acting at the age of 8, is her shyness. An introverted, thoughtful, offbeat girl, she found a release in acting, even if it was playing an introverted, thoughtful, offbeat girl. Her character Bella Swan in the wildly popular Twilight series is one whose averted glances and non-conformist ways are not unlike those of the actress who plays her. 

Many a shy, young misfit has found his or her way into show business as a singer, actor or comedian. You will often find that some of the most outrageous comics onstage are actually timid and reserved in person. Performers like Robert DeNiro, Bob Dylan, Brad Pitt, Carly Simon and even Cher are, like 50 percent of the adult population, shy. A study conducted by University of New Mexico in Albuquerque anthropologist Gil Greengross and his colleague Geoffrey Miller, has shown that comedians tend to be shyer than the average person. Author of the book Laughter: A Scientific Investigation, Robert Provine, a developmental neurobiologist at the University of Maryland, also agrees with Greengross' study findings.

It's easy to hide behind a mask on stage, and even with that, many actors fight debilitating fright before walking onto the stage and giving a larger-than-life performance. So many musicians whose bold and powerful performances belie the actual quiet doormouse they are, talk about getting physically ill before performing in front of large groups of people. Hiding behind a role or a song or a stage persona and expressing oneself in a way that's impossible in real life, can be very therapeutic.

Finding great celebrity, as Kristen Stewart has done with the large cultish fanbase for the Twilight film series (No. 3: Eclipse, debuts this week), seems like it would be the perfect lifestyle to many of us outsiders, but the reality is, it's not that easy, especially if you are a retiring soul. Being thrust into the spotlight, especially when you are so reserved, can make you paranoid.

When you watch Stewart in interviews, you can see how painful it is for her to talk about her personal life, or life in general. While coming off estremely grounded, she still squirms and appears incredibly awkward.

But she's also making a zillion dollars per film, so she sticks with it.

There is no way she could have imagined the great international fame she'd achieve in this role as Bella. But here's the twist. She's also the object of hate for troubled fans of her male co-stars who are vying for her attention in the Twilight movies, and one, Robert Pattinson (a shy guy himself, perfect to play a vampire), is her love interest in real life. She now has to contend with the irrational ire of those rabid RPattz fans. 

The pressures of being a star, role model, and girlfriend of an interantional heartthrob, are hard enough, but if you are someone who likes to hide in the shadows, even if its in the shadows of a script, it's a difficult road.

Stewart has told the British magazine Hello!: "I don't feel very comfortable on the red carpet. Sometimes I get really excited for what I'm going to and then try to take good pictures and go inside...I literally have to keep myself from crying sometimes.

"I look out there at a thousand people and I realize they could rush me and assassinate me. No security could protect me. Ostensibly they're fans, but I think about them turning on me."

That's a scary way to live, especially for someone on the edge of social interaction in the first place.

 

Alphabet Kids: A Guide to Developmental, Neurobiological and Psychological Disorders for Parents and Professionals:

http://www.tinyurl.com/alphabet-kids

Robbie Woliver is a journalist and editor. He is the author of the book Alphabet Kids.

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