Actor Spotlight: Shailene Woodley

By Samantha Taft

   Though some knew her as Amy Juergens in the ABC Family drama The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Shailene Woodley was relatively unknown in the film industry until she made her debut alongside George Clooney in The Descendants (2011). Since The Descendants, the actress has landed some rather iconic roles, a couple of which will be hitting the silver screen within the next year.

Woodley was born on November 15, 1991 in Simi Valley, California. Her parents both worked in education and she has a younger brother named Tanner. At age four, she began commercial modeling. Her acting debut came in 1999 when she appeared in the TV movie Replacing Dad. She continued to have minor roles on television shows and starred in the TV film Felicity: An American Girl Adventure, based on the children’s books.

At age 15, her parents divorced and Woodley was diagnosed with Idiopathic Scoliosis (a spinal deformity). For two years, she wore a brace for two years and it proved to be a successful treatment.

While working on the Secret Life of the American Teenager, she studied hard in order to graduate on time. She worked closely with her principal and teachers, often working on homework on set between takes. She stated that if she had not started acting, she would have likely studied interior design.   Woodley’s film career took off after her breakout film role as “Alexandra King” in The Descendants. It was announced in 2012 that she was to play Mary-Jane Watson in the upcoming sequel to the Amazing Spider-Man, however the part of Mary-Jane was cut from the movie. She also starred in The Spectacular Now, a film adaption of Tim Tharp’s novel of the same name, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. She also starred in another indie film titled White Bird in a Blizzard.

In the upcoming year, Shailene Woodley has two major films hitting the silver screen. She’s starring in the film adaption of Divergent, which is set to premier on March 21 of this year. She is also starring in the film adaption of John Green’s the Fault in Our Stars, coming to theaters on June 6.