It's been 14 years since Dakota Fanning stole our hearts in "I Am Sam," but now, she finally has come to terms with her child star past.
The 21-year-old star graces the cover of the May issue of NYLON, where she opens up about how it feels to be seen as a child actor, even though she's an adult.
"I've made my peace with the fact that there will be some people who, for the rest of my life, will believe I'm, like, 9 years old," she tells the mag. "I have this joke that I'm literally going to be 35, married, and pregnant and people are still going to say, 'Oh my god, you grew up so fast! I can't believe it!'"
"And yeah, sometimes when you're 21 years old and people are still saying that, you just want to rip your hair out. But I'm OK with it," she says. "I know who I am."
While some young stars couldn't avoid the pitfalls of fame, the "Effie Gray" star seemed to stay above the fray. "Sure, I handled myself the best that I could and was professional, but I was also a kid. I think that people who knew me then knew I was also exactly how kids are supposed to be," the actress says. "I've found that anybody who takes what they're doing seriously or seems to be a caring person gets called an old soul."
So, would she describe herself as a good girl? "It's not a negative thing to say, but it's also not 100 percent accurate," the blonde beauty explains. "I might not be running around being insane, but I'm also a 21-year-old who likes to be silly. Just because I don't flaunt those parts of my life doesn't mean I don't do some of that privately."
Dakota has proved to be an excellent role model for her younger sister, Elle Fanning, who has followed in her acting footsteps. But, she says, there's no rivalry there. "It started out very naturally," she says of her sister's acting career. "She played a younger me [in films such as I Am Sam], so it was like, 'Oh yeah, it makes sense.'"
Despite the Fanning sisters' similar look, it seems Dakota is often mistaken for another set of child stars .. the Olsen twins!
"There's a man on my corner who thinks I'm an Olsen," she reveals. "He'll yell, 'Hey Olsen!' at me. It's really funny."
In fact, Fanning has another Olsen connection!
When the actress enrolled in a traditional high school in Los Angeles, her campus tour guide was her future "Very Good Girls" costar Elizabeth Olsen. "I met Dakota while showing her around our school when I was a senior," Olsen recalls. "She sent me a thank-you card and that shocked me. Usually when you're in junior high or high school, you're not that thoughtful, but she was."
For more from Fanning, pick up NYLON's Young Hollywood issue.