“Divergent” Star Shailene Woodley Is A Queerish Hippie Who Believes In Trees

feature image via The Hollywood Reporter

Here are some things you already know about Shailene Woodley: for years, she was the fresh-faced star of ABC Family’s first flagship show, Secret Life of the American Teenagera program that initially received conservative accolades for its portrayal of a pregnant sixteen-year-old who eschewed abortion in favor of motherhood. (Interestingly, Secret Life later went on to showcase some relatively groundbreaking queer characters, including two queer Moms.) She played George Clooney‘s character’s daughter in the 2011 hit The Descendants and starred in the critically acclaimed 2013 drama The Spectacular Now. Now, she’s poised to become a huge star as the lead in the much-anticipated film adaptation of Veronica Roth‘s best-selling YA series Divergent and she’s also starring in the much-anticipated film adaptation of John Green‘s best-selling YA novel The Fault in Our Stars. Her film White Bird in a Blizzard, directed by Gregg Araki and co-starring Gabourey Sidibe and Angela Basset, premiered at Sundance in January. In other words: Shailene Woodley is officially A Thing.

She’s also not straight. Although she’s skeptical of labels in general (when speaking about her feminist beliefs to BUST Magazine, she noted that “anytime a label comes up, it immediately creates some sort of image in someone’s mind”), she told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published today that, “I fall in love with human beings based on who they are, not based on what they do or what sex they are.”

This revelation of her sexual fluidity might shock anybody who associates Woodley with her Secret Life character, but fits right in with just about everything else we know about Woodley’s personality, like that the only label she seems to be 100% comfortable with is “hippie-dippie.” Because Woodley is a total weirdo, and we mean that in the best way possible.

10 Special Weirdo Hippie Things About Shailene Woodley

These things will either make you fall in love with Shailene Woodley or find Shailene Woodley insufferable. All information contained wherein is from The Hollywood Reporter interview unless otherwise noted.


1. She loves organic leggings and Vibram FiveFinger Shoes and prefers used clothing.

Woodley told THR that she would prefer to attend red carpet events in her “five-toe shoes, Melodia organic leggings and some hippie top,” but recognizes that she must glam it up in order to be “taken seriously” because “when I go on a red carpet, I’m Shailene, but I’m also Shailene representing a movie. I’m there for my boss, for my employer, so part of that comes with wearing the uniform.” She did wear her five-toed shoes (a style of footwear that enables the wearer to feel as barefoot as possible) to a Golden Globes after-party in 2012 and was subsequently mocked by Gawker for it. She also prefers to go without makeup on the red carpet, but when she does wear makeup, it’s organic.

She’s also not a fan of new clothing in general, saying, “I exclusively buy used clothes. I’m going to be a citizen of this planet, and I’m going to do my responsibility and live in stride with nature instead of constantly fighting against her.” (I’ve personally found buying used clothing to be a good way to live in stride with my bank account balance, but The Earth sounds great too.)


2. Her religion is “the earth.”

“My religion is the Earth, man. I believe in trees.”

In a 2013 interview with Interview Magazine, she spoke about her passion for herbalism, insisting that people should learn about organic farming and how to heal our bodies naturally because, “It’s so important and essential to the Earth, to Gaia. We want to continue to live on this planet, and I think we need to break down the associations that we have that we’re different from nature—that we need to protect the Earth and save the Earth—when we are, in fact, part of the Earth. So it all starts with us. If we want to save the planet, then I think we need to start saving ourselves in order to do that. I believe that organic farming, among many other practices, can really start that shift.” She added, “I’ve found that self-love and self-expression for me can just come in the form of trees and come in the form of connecting back to the soil.”


3. She hugs everybody

“We’ve got a set amount of time in our lives, you know. You might as well make every conversation count. So that’s like the hug. It’s kind of like, ‘Hey, I’m real. You’re real. Let’s connect.’ ”

– Woodley on hugging her Hollywood Reporter interviewer


5. She drinks Mugwort Tea to enable lucid dreaming and cures cramps with bark

She told Interview Magazine that she loves herbs for lucid dreaming as well as a weed called mugwort which is “what the Native Americans used to do to bring on helpful dreams to encourage visions for the coming days.”

She told Bust Magazine that “I have to find a way to integrate my cramp bark and washable Moontime pads into the mainstream world.”

young shailene via shailene woodley dot org

young shailene via shailene woodley dot org

6. She once sent Dakota Fanning “love and light.”

After the crushing disappointment at age 9 of losing out to Dakota Fanning for a coveted role in I Am Sam, Woodley’s father instructed her to stop carrying anger around and instead suggested, “close your eyes right now and picture this Dakota girl, and I want you to send her so much love and so much light because one day you’re going to book something that you really want, and you’re not going to want all of the girls around you that you competed against to feel anger against you. You’re going to want them to support you on your journey. And so it’s your turn right now to support Dakota on her journey.”

Woodley followed his advice and it seems to have worked out pretty well.

The actress with mason jar

The actress with mason jar

7. She drinks out of a Mason jar and harvests her own drinking water.

Woodley carries the glass jar with her everywhere to avoid “exposing herself or the planet to the estrogen-like chemicals used in plastics.” When she’s in Los Angeles, Woodley “lugs 5-gallon carboys up in the mountains to capture her own drinking water.”


8. “Foraging for fruit” is a favorite social activity

Woodley engages in “strange fruit” foraging with her two best friends, “a long-haired brunette and a young man who looks like he just stumbled out of a Phish concert.” She told Rachel Ray “I try to do like 35% of my diet wild foods…. I’ll go an hour away into the mountains and I’ll find stinging nettle and mugwort and a bunch of other herbs that you can use medicinally.”


9. She is a Portlandia skit

While dining outside of Pittsburgh with Fault in our Stars co-star Laura Dern, Woodley asked the server what kind of oil they cooked in, if they used beef fat from sustainable farms with grass-fed animals — and then asked for a tour of their kitchen. While touring the meat locker in the basement, Woodley told her tour guide “how to cut the cattle in the most honorable way and how to use every part of the animal.”

10. She began her speech at an ELLE Women in Hollywood Event by leading the group in guided meditation

Woodley told Bust Magazine, “Afterwards I was like, God, maybe I shouldn’t have done that. But then I was like, Fuck It, we have to make a change, we gotta do it now, and that’s the only way.”

It seems unlikely Woodley’s ever gonna ascribe to one of the many labels offered to describe one’s sexual orientation, but that’s okay with us — the fact that she’s open to falling in love with a lady (and okay with saying so) is pretty fucking awesome.  In the meantime, I’m sure she’s got lots of cities to visit and trees she’s yet to live in.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3200 articles for us.


  1. Oh my :::George Takei voice:::

    Been crushin on her since The Descendents. Chalk one up on the board for our team!

  2. “These things will either make you fall in love with Shailene Woodley or find Shailene Woodley insufferable.” For real. Don’t know where I stand. Leaning toward falling in love with her since she’s cute and mega-talented.

  3. She forages her own SPRING WATER? I think we should be friends so she can teach me her sage hippie ways and queer hug me 24/7. She really is straight out of a Portlandia skit, in all of the best ways!

  4. When I had my wisdom teeth removed, I was lying in bed with puffy cheeks trying to figure out what to watch and there was nothing on besides a marathon of Secret Life. I attempted to watch it but immediately wanted to poke my eyes out. I really hated Shailene’s character and basically everyone on the show.

    Later on in life, I watched The Descendants and homegirl redeemed herself. I cried so much while watching that movie. Anyways. I loved her pretty long hair but I’m totally digging her adorable short hairstyle.

  5. Wow, who knew that insufferable little goody goody from that awful show was so cool? I’m pleasantly surprised

  6. She’s adorable! I don’t know how she manages, but I somehow fail to view her as a hippie-dippy prat. I actually really enjoyed her profile in “Bust.”

    (I still hate those awful toe shoes, but I would bet her feet are more comfortable than mine…)

  7. As I read this article I am actually wearing my Vibrams. Before this article I only associated her with her Secret Life character, and now I totally see her different and I like her!

  8. “a weed called mugwort which is “what the Native Americans used to do to bring on helpful dreams to encourage visions for the coming days.” ”

    Sigh. As long as she doesn’t feed her hippie-dippie self with misguided cultural misappropriation, let her sow her granola oats in Gaia or whatever. At least her habits are more ethical than most of ours, so kudos to her for that (and being queer, of course).

    • She is charming (and very young), and I’m not going to accuse her of misappropriation over drinking tea, but it might be good if someone were to point out to her that a) most species of mugwort are not native to the Americas, but came from Europe and the Far East, with only one being native to western United States so it’s mostly California nations who had access to it, which brings me to, b) “Native Americans” actually are comprised of hundreds of completely different tribes, nations, and groups, and that we’re not all the same, didn’t (and don’t) eat, drink, or do anything as a bloc.

      That said, mugwort is good for many things including dreaming, as it’s an hallucinogenic herb. I certainly wish her good and fruitful sleep.

      • Yes, #2 is what made me roll my eyes because it sounds no less informed than “Omigod, I eat rice for breakfast because that’s what Asians do and they’re so skinny and I wanna be skinny!!”

        I mean, if she’s interested in exploring her dreams or whatever, then she should at least acknowledge the particular culture that she’s borrowing from.

      • I just wanted to clarify that I’m also not accusing her of misappropriation because she’s drinking tea – but that kind of ignorance about other cultures is a slippery-slope to the example Andreea gives below with the Navajo pendant.

    • In the Hollywood Reporter interview she also talks about how she wears a Navajo pendant because it’s her ‘way of just recognizing spirit in an industry where sometimes materialism is the main focus’ so I think she has a pretty clear tendency towards cultural appropriation – which is gross and disappointing.

      • Goddamn it. Although I will say that I think if it’s brought to her attention, she won’t pull a Johnny Depp or Florence Welch and say that she’s “appreciating the culture” and she’ll take steps to avoid it. That’s just what I think, personally because she just seems like the type of person who would understand the harm. That may be wishful thinking.

        • In response to the latest absurdity from Slate (about who should and should not belly dance) someone pointed out that there is a difference between appropriation and MISappropriation, and confusing the two is not helpful, especially when the one calling foul is a white person, trying to be politically correct, so everyone needs to cool out a little bit here.

          Wearing a necklace and drinking tea really do not fall into the misappropriation category. We all borrow. Anyone who has ever said, “Namaste” and doesn’t come from southern Asia has appropriated this greeting, just as someone who says, “Bonjour” has done. That isn’t misappropriation. Misappropriation occurs when one tries to pass oneself off as an authority on, or a part of, a culture to which they do not belong and have not received any kind of authorization or permission to do. A white child adopted by a Cherokee family is as Cherokee as anyone else in that group–a white person who just dreams up what she thinks is Cherokee and passes it off as her religion or passes herself off a traditional leader or healer or whatever, has misappropriated our culture. The critical thing is intention, not just doing something. I am of European and Cherokee descent and honor both those traditions. It’s not my problem if someone (usually white) thinks I am all white because of my looks, which happens a lot. Anyway, this young woman sounds a bit ditsy and trendy and New Age-y when she says this stuff, but none of it is even remotely egregious.

          Links to the articles I mentioned above:



      • But we want her (and you) to buy our jewelry! That’s just silly. She isn’t going around saying she’s a Navajo woman because she put the thing on, nor that she’s imbued with Navajo wisdom, or anything like. She’s just saying she recognizes it as a spiritual thing around her neck, which it is. I would argue that a European-descended artist’s necklace is also a spiritual thing. Maybe she needs a nudge to recognize the latter, but really, all these comments are expressing concerns that simply don’t exist. We have real problems, like hunger and poverty. The people who engage in serious cultural MISappropriation are the guys who set up sweat lodges without knowing a thing about what a sweat lodge is, charge tons of money for it, then, sometimes, kill someone in the process. The girl can wear any necklace she wants. Really.

        • “someone pointed out that there is a difference between appropriation and MISappropriation, and confusing the two is not helpful, especially when the one calling foul is a white person, trying to be politically correct, so everyone needs to cool out a little bit here.”

          Is this referring to me? If so, I tried to clarify my initial post in that it made me roll my eyes because she’s trying to sound so savvy about using indigenous medicine or rituals but instead just reveals her ignorance. I don’t think it’s misappropriation, but I find that kind of faux-worldliness to be obnoxious. Ultimately, though, her mugwort habit is benign.

          And I’m sorry that you felt my comment was motivated because I’m a white person trying to be “politically correct”. I have made some pretty ignorant (and racist?) comments in the past on Autostraddle, and I have learned a lot about being aware the ways that white privilege manifests, so when I see something that makes me cringe, I point it out because it makes me feel uncomfortable or awkward, as a fellow white person who has learned better. The fact that Shailene lumped all Native American groups as one monolithic cultures bothered me. I’m not trying to win PC Points or trying to dazzle POCs here with my “awesome ally” behaviour, so I’m not really sure how I should react to your comment **assuming it’s directed at me**.

  9. I’m pretty sure I’ve only seen her in her superstar role as little Kaitlin Cooper on season 1 of The OC (remember that) but she sounds like an awesome weirdo and I’m really excited for TFIOS.

    Also, “in the meantime, I’m sure she’s got lots of cities to visit and trees she’s yet to live in.” YES.

    • Oh wow, I never realized that she was the original Kaitlin Cooper. Probably because she was overshadowed by her bald horse.
      But, yeah, thanks for pointing that out. I’m going to go rewatch season one now.

  10. Honestly I don’t know whether I want to hug her or strangle her…I definitely need the name and number of her hairstylist because her alternative lifestyle haircut takes wash and wear to a very cute place!

  11. I’ve had a crush on her since her Secret Life days because we’re the same age (I’m not proud of the decisions I made in my teen years, I also worshipped HIMYM) and reading that article in THR made me so excited. I think I may binge watch all of her stuff because she’s got quite the skill and range.

  12. Cute profile, +1 for the Tegan and Sara reference. She sounds like me when I was 22. A little insufferable hippie dippie girl. She’ll grow out of it.

    • I don’t know if this is on purpose, but if it’s on accident it’s hilariously fitting for divergent

  13. PaperOfFlowers: No, I wasn’t referring to you. Your comments were mild and non-accusatory. I was mostly talking generally and I don’t want to start trouble, but it’s impossible to not get annoyed, sometimes, by over-zealous, very earnest white folk who are too quick to point fingers at one another over trifles.

    And for some reason, I can’t comment in direct reply to your post–it won’t let me.

    • Okay, thanks for your response. I hope you didn’t find my rebuttal too defensive (I’m just trying to be a better person! *sob*), but I completely understand your frustration.

  14. God, this all sounds very insufferable. I would not spend five minutes… But good deal on being queer.

  15. I kind of resent people who claim to be all about the earth and peacefulness yet still eat meat when they’re definitely in a position to make the choice not to – makes it all seem not very well thought out and disingenuous. But I’m big on hugging an mason jars.


    • I have a little bit of a problem with this statement. I want to say, that since it’s the internet, tone is hard to tell, BUT I am channeling a neutral tone.

      I don’t know how you can say that just because someone eats meat, all of their other sustainable choices aren’t well thought out or disingenuous. I understand that CAFO’s are one of (if not the) leading cause of gas emissions, but there are sustainable ways to eat meat. Say, when you raise it yourself.

      I took this comment a little personal, which may be my own fault, but I am someone who is “all about the earth and peacefulness” AND eats meat. I live in a ‘tiny house’ where I supply my own water, grow my own food, purchase locally, harvest my own energy (solar panels), and eat meat minimally. I have taken as many steps as I physically can at the moment to lower my impact… but since I choose to consume meat, all of my other actions are not thought out and disingenuous?

      You can be vegan and also be unsustainable.
      Why can’t we appreciate people for their efforts?
      I guess, maybe I would just like a clearer understanding of where you are coming from?


      • Sure! Thanks for your response.

        I feel like there are a lot of moral complications from eating meat. Sustainability is one of them for sure, and it’s better to eat more sustainable meat than not if you’re going to at all. However, my opposition to animal products doesn’t stem primarily from environmental concerns. I don’t believe that animals are ours to eat, and I think that they have a vested interest in their own lives and in protecting their young (even very local and sustainable dairy farms support the veal industry, as those cows must be kept pregnant, and then the mothers are separated from their calves once they’re born. There is all sorts of proof that this is a traumatic experience for both mother and child).

        I guess what I meant by saying it’s “not thought out” is that I believe that the natural conclusion to caring about the earth and our fellow beings is to not eat animals. Veganism is a social justice concern to me. And of course vegans can be unsustainable – it is extremely difficult to not support any number of messed up industries (for this reason I am all for freeganing animal products, i.e., eating meat or dairy if it is going to go to waste somehow). But again, environmentalism is just one of my concerns when it comes to animal production.

        Sorry if it came off like I was saying all sustainable choices from a meat-eating person are moot – it’s still good for people to do what they can! I just have trouble wrapping my head around a mindset that respects beings and wants the earth to be healthy, yet still defends an industry that produces animals with their own feelings, interests, and relationships just so we can kill and eat them.

        If you want to message me or something I’d be very interested in continuing to talk about this – it’s something I find important as it is not about my personal comfort level but rather about the lives of other creatures we share this earth with.

        • I would definitely like to continue the conversation. Where should I message you at?

          Thanks for your reply ^.^

  16. How is no one mentioning how awesome it is that she played Felicity in the American Girl Movie? Because when Secret Life started, I kept screaming WHY IS FELICITY ON THIS TERRIBLE SHOW???

  17. Shaliene Woodley is so cool! But…. I don’t know if I would call her “fluid”. Isn’t being fluid really where a person kind of went one way, and then later on realized they were actually the other way? BUT, she seems to know EXACTLY who she is. So to me that doesn’t seem like someone who is “fluid” at all. But anyway, she seems like a really cool person! And she’s talented too! I just wish more people would discuss male celebrities who are also coming out all over as being “sexually fluid” too. There are just as many of them. And they consider themselves “fluid” in different definitions.

    • I think fluid means not fixed, just as it means when talking about, well, fluids. For some of us, sexuality moves through space and time just as we do. That’s what it means to me, at least.

    • Sexual fluidity generally is less thinking you’re one way and realizing later that you’re another and more being one way and later being another. But also it means different things to the people who use it to describe themselves.

    • But since she described her orientation as not treating sex (and presumably gender) as a relevant variable, fluid is still a completely inaccurate description of Woodley’s orientation.

  18. Woodley asked the server what kind of oil they cooked in, if they used beef fat from sustainable farms with grass-fed animals — and then asked for a tour of their kitchen. While touring the meat locker in the basement, Woodley told her tour guide “how to cut the cattle in the most honorable way and how to use every part of the animal.”
    As someone who works in the food industry, literally all of that = no and I don’t want to serve you anymore.

    • Yes I have a feeling she only got away with that nonsense because she was famous. I mean, everything about that situation sounds like the height of insufferability, but if Shailene Woodley and Laura Dern wanted to spend private time with me, even if it was in a meat locker, I might go for it, just to have the story to tell everybody for the rest of my life. Except also… a meat locker. :-(

    • Yeah…I found a lot of these facts endearing, but reading that was like NOPE NOPE NOPE

  19. GOD she is definitely my new girl crush!! I remember having lukewarm feelings towards her when I first heard of her (i think bc she was in secret life) but now I basically wanna bang her a lot i mean jesus she’s fucking GORGEOUS and a hippy-type nature lover?? mad respect

  20. I really enjoyed this article! I was familiar with Shailene Woodley’s work as an actress, but I didn’t know much about her personal life. I was surprised to learn that she is open about her sexual fluidity and that she lives an unconventional lifestyle. I think it’s great that she is so outspoken about her beliefs and that she is not afraid to be herself. I’m definitely a fan!

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