At 18, Chloë Grace Moretz was one of the most promising faces of young Hollywood. The actress rose to fame when, at just 12 years old, she landed the role of Hit-Girl in the superhero movie Kick-Ass. That same year she starred in the US version of the Swedish romantic horror film Let Me In, which tells the love story of a misfit boy and a strange girl, who turns out to be a vampire. With two blockbuster movies under her belt, Chloë Grace Moretz had lots of projects coming her way: she starred in the remake of the horror film Carrie and appeared in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows. Between projects, Moretz grew into a teenager, and her personal life started to attract more attention: the actress was dating Brooklyn Beckham, David and Victoria Beckham’s son. The paparazzi wouldn’t stop hounding her.
“I was a kid and 90% of the time no one would really bother me,” the actress shared in an interview with Hunger. “But after Kick-Ass, the first time I experienced paparazzi, it was 10 to 15 adult guys surrounding a 12-year-old girl,” Moretz recalls. “They pushed my mom and she ended up falling into traffic – she didn’t get hurt, but the situation was really chaotic. It’s an assault on all the senses, with screaming and flashes. I got into the car afterwards and I just burst into tears. I think that’s my marker of before and after.”
As she got older, photographers and the media pursued the actress more aggressively. While Moretz was already accustomed to the paparazzi, she wasn’t prepared for the criticism that came with media scrutiny: “I remember the day I became aware of it. And it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was 18 and doing a red carpet. I walked off of it and I felt so much self-loathing and was really confused about the experience that just went down. I was really unwell after that. There was this complete jarring shift in my consciousness, I questioned who I was. What am I doing? Who am I? Why am I doing this? Like, what does this mean?” she explained in the interview.
And then came the meme: one day in 2016, Chloë Grace Moretz was photographed walking into a hotel carrying two pizza boxes. She was dressed in a black top, shorts and heels. The photograph was edited on the internet, so that her legs were lengthened and her torso was short. The retouched image was reminiscent of a scene in the animated television series Family Guy, in which Peter Griffin boasts of having very long legs. That internet joke tormented the actress: “For a long time I was able to be the Chloë that people see and the Chloë that I am in private. Then those two worlds collided, and I felt really raw and vulnerable and open. And then came the onslaught of horrific memes that started getting sent to me about my body. I’ve actually never really talked about this, but there was one meme that really affected me,” explains the actress, referring to the Family Guy meme. Moretz recalls expressing her disgust that everyone was publicly making fun of her body, and that people laughed at her complaints: “They were like, ‘Oh, shut the fuck up, it’s funny.’ And I just remember sitting there and thinking, my body is being used as a joke and it’s something that I can’t change about who I am, and it is being posted all over Instagram. It was something so benign as walking into a hotel with leftovers. And to this day, when I see that meme, it’s something very hard for me to overcome.”
After that, the actress admits that she became a recluse, dedicating herself exclusively to her profession and avoiding the paparazzi by any means necessary. “I was kind of sad… It took a layer of something that I used to enjoy,” she admits, referring to aspects of being an actress, such as getting her hair and makeup done, dressing up and walking the red carpet. “I think that body dysmorphia – which we all deal with in this world – is extrapolated by the issues of social media,” she reflects. Moretz removed herself from the spotlight and felt anxious whenever she saw paparazzi around her: “My heart rate would rise and I would hyperventilate,” she says.
The Covid-19 pandemic gave Moretz a break. Masks, caps and sunglasses are a boon to celebrities, because they make the famous less recognizable to the paparazzi. But she lost her father during the lockdown: “For me, it was a time of introspection. I lost my father during the pandemic, not due to Covid-related issues, but there was a big amount of change in a really transformative time period.”
Now, Moretz has new projects on her plate. Actually, she has never stopped getting parts. In the interview, Moretz confesses that acting is “a form of therapy” for her. She continues to lead a low-profile life, especially after her breakup with Brooklyn Beckham. After more than 20 years of acting, she already knows what it’s like to be in the limelight, and she doesn’t want to be there again. “To say that these past two years have been transformative is an understatement, to say the least. I’m a very different girl than I was. I feel like a woman now.” The actress turned 25 in 2022.