Zoë Kravitz huh? With a pedigree like hers, we’d forgive her for having her head in the clouds, but somehow she’s stayed firmly grounded, the real girl we can all look up to.
I mean, you’ve gotta feel for the kids of celebrities. Growing up is hard, messy and scary enough, without having to do it under the glaring spotlight of fame and in the shadow of the famous, beautiful megastars who created you. Access to exclusive clubs, holidays on private islands and the accrual of millions of Instagram followers solely by virtue of your parentage are paid for in a total lack of privacy and a permanently distorted view of reality. Many young people — famous or otherwise — don’t make it out alive.
As the only daughter of actress and legendary beauty Lisa Bonet and rock star Lenny Kravitz, Zoë Kravitz has had more to handle than many celebrity kids. When your mother is generally considered to be one of the most gorgeous people in the world and your father is dating a slew of supermodels? That’s got to mess with your head.
Back to that in a bit. Now aged 29, Zoë’s in a league of her own. With a stellar 2017 behind her, the actress, singer and model has more than emerged from under the halo of her parents’ success and is becoming an inspiration for women everywhere. Her androgynous beauty, outspokenness on issues such as feminism and eating disorders, fascinating choice of acting roles and appearances in the most exclusive frows in New York and Paris have seen her become a style icon and exciting artist in her own right. Now adorning Saint Laurent billboards all over the world, filming her part as Leta Lestrange in the next instalment of the blockbuster Fantastic Beasts series and campaigning for schools in Sierra Leone, is there anything she can’t do?
Rewind to 2013, and things were very different. Despite her parents splitting up when she was five, Zoë managed to enjoy a relatively normal childhood, living outside the Hollywood bubble in Miami with her father from age 11. She was close to both her parents, whom she describes as down to earth, despite their reputation as impossibly mysterious bohemians.
“I don’t think anyone knows how funny we are,” she told Complex magazine.
“It’s like this whole thing where people think we’re so cool and hippie and wear velvet… but we’re the f**king nerdiest people.”
Despite her parents’ best efforts, life lived adjacent to fame and wealth did take a toll. Zoë slipped into anorexia and bulimia in her late teens and the “awful diseases” stayed with her into adulthood. In 2013 she filmed The Road Within, a road movie about a boy with Tourette’s syndrome, played by Dev Patel, and a young anorexic, played by Zoë. Her efforts to lose more and more weight for the part saw her dance dangerously close to oblivion.
WATCH: What’s in her handbag with Zoë Kravitz
But out of darkness sometimes comes light or, at least, art. Through making music with friends during her downtime on set, Zoë found a path back to health and happiness. Her band, Lolawolf, was formed during these late-night jam sessions and subsequently released an album and two EPs. From that point on, Zoë has been in the ascendant, filming roles in the Divergent series, appearing in smash-hit indie movie Dope as the beautiful girl on the block, and being cast in glamorous company alongside Abbey Lee and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as the imprisoned wives of a post-apocalyptic despot in Mad Max: Fury Road.
The past year brought Zoë’s highest-profile success to date, with a starring role in ensemble series Big Little Lies. If you haven’t watched it yet, turn off Stranger Things, put on your headphones and FFS watch it — right now. It’s completely binge-worthy and has proved to be portentous for its sensitive depiction of domestic violence and sexual abuse, which feels so relevant at this moment in time. Zoë’s role as Bonnie, the younger second wife of Reese Witherspoon’s ex, was a breakout one. (Fun fact: Another of Zoë’s Big Little Lies co-stars, Nicole Kidman, once dated Lenny.)
This year has also seen Zoë blossom into a fully fledged fashion icon. Back in March, Vogue UK called it early and published a story titled ‘Could Zoë Kravitz be the Best-Dressed Girl of 2017?’
That was before she debuted a shaved head in April, then pulled off a head-turning moment at the Met Gala, where she was one of the big winners on a night notorious for world-class attention-seeking behaviour. Bella Hadid’s see-through body stocking faded into insignificance next to Zoë’s pink satin Oscar de la Renta gown with real black roses clustered on the bodice and cape.
Zoë’s friendship with New York-based designer Alexander Wang has aligned her with the androgynous street style of his label, though she also shows more than occasional flashes of the quirkier aesthetic so often associated with her parents. A close relationship with stylist Andrew Mukamal has seen her level of red-carpet readiness reach new heights in recent years, with Vogue using the term ‘grungy glam’ to describe her personal style, which consists of heavy metal jewellery, lots of denim, clompy shoes and oversized coats, broken up by feminine slips and sparkles, delicate tattoos (nearly 40 of them) and glowing makeup that errs on the side of natural and pretty, with a slick of black eyeliner thrown in for good measure. That incredible face does all the heavy lifting when it comes to beauty, but Zoë’s full brows keep it real, as does the fun she clearly has with changing her look from one day to the next.
This diversity in Zoë’s personal style and artistry extends to her embrace of social issues. She has worked with Shine On Sierra Leone, a charity that aims to build more schools in the poor African country, and Lumos, which advocates for children in orphanages worldwide. A scroll through her Instagram yields recent posts on the plight of African elephants, anti-bullying week, gun control and the #takeaknee movement. Despite speaking out against trolls in the past, she’ll often wade into the comments and clap-back at those with views she disagrees with, particularly when it comes to President Donald Trump, whom she calls “racist” and “an ignorant douchebag”.
This honesty is so refreshing in a time when celebs seem to carefully measure every message and outfit for fear of causing offence. And that’s why we love Zoë: for someone with such an extraordinary family, face and life, she just seems real.
Not only is Zoë cool, stylish, gorgeous, talented and riding a wave of success, dammit if she doesn’t also have A+ taste in company — Tessa Thompson, Janelle Monáe and Ilana Glazer all recur on her Insta. Past beaus have included Twin Shadow, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Penn Badgley, Ezra Miller and Drake, but she’s currently ensconced in what looks like a very happy relationship with Karl Glusman (above), an actor and certified hottie.