Who is actress Rooney Mara? She is a question mark wrapped in an enigma. There are a multitude of adjectives to describe her cool demeanor: icy, aloof, standoffish, unreadable; but I believe that there is much more beneath the surface. Think of her as an iceberg of sorts, and I mean that in the most flattering way, because only about ten percent of who she is shown to the media and the public, and the other ninety percent lies just below the surface. Yet surprisingly she landed the lead role in David Fincher’s adaptation of Girl With a Dragon Tattoo, which earned her a Best Actress Oscar nomination, starred alongside Channing Tatum in last year’s Side Effects, and she landed a Downtown Calvin Klein fragrance campaign. So what is the big deal with Rooney Mara? Well gather round, one and all, as I shed some light on what makes the famously broody actress so great.
Now I may be a little bit biased because I too am incredibly shy, but I find Mara incredibly relatable. Sure, she may not have the likeability of Jennifer Lawrence, or the ability to garner media attention like a Kardashian, but I think that is a part of her unique charm. You see, she may come off as guarded or remote, but in reality she is just shy! And she shared with T, The New York Times Magazine that this reputation has been following her around long before she was famous: “In high school, people thought I was stuck-up because I didn’t talk to anyone…It was just because I was shy and scared, but I think because I’m super-self-possessed that it doesn’t come across as scared so much as stuck-up. I would hear what people thought and be like, ‘No! I’m actually nice!’ ” I too have a difficult time opening up to people, and had an even harder time when I was in high school, so I find it comforting to know that even a successful actress under the microscope of the public eye has gone through the same thing.
While she may not be the shining example a sports fan, few people may know that she actually comes from a football family! There is a clan of people on both sides of her family who are the founding and current owners of two prominent football teams. Mara is the great-granddaughter of Art Rooney Sr., founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Tim Mara, founder of the New York Giants. However, this is not something that Mara personally likes to talk about since it has nothing to do with acting. Acting must run in the family, because Rooney happens to be the younger sister of actress Kate Mara. Seeing your older sister becoming successful and making her way to the top of the A-list could serve as inspiration and perhaps become a source of jealousy for an impressionable young Mara, but Rooney clearly knew the path she wanted to take in life, telling T: “I just knew I didn’t want to be a child actor. I knew I wanted to go to school and wanted to start when I was older, so I would be taken seriously.” So far, she is off to a good start!
One thing Mara is not afraid to do is take a risk. Whether that be comfortably filming nude scenes in movies, or rocking blunt bangs and otherworldly beautiful dresses on the red carpet; but few celebs consider taking as great a risk as taking a break from acting when they are the name on everyone’s lips. Usually, when a celeb’s star is on the rise, the thing to do is to keep people talking about you, even if that means sticking around long after your 15 minutes of fame are up! But Mara told T, The New York Times Magazine that she has considered taking a hiatus from acting for a bit: “…I have no plans on working anytime soon. After a movie I always feel a little lost. While you’re doing it you feel like you’re having some sort of revelation, like it’s real, and then its over and you’re like, ‘That was not real.’ ” Most people would be fearful of losing the spotlight and subsequently ending their career, but Mara seems to be looking at the whole picture and figuring out what she truly wants out of life. She is able to stay present and aware in the moment, which I think is one way to stay grounded and humble, two more traits that can be rare to find in Hollywood.
In the age of reality television shows, with celebrities and regular people alike sharing intimate details of their life on social media, and tabloids using celeb’s lives as fodder for our entertainment, I find it refreshing that Rooney Mara makes the choice to rise above the fray and keep her private life private. Maybe this could all be a part of what keeps us intrigued, at least this is what Mara believes, asking T: “Isn’t mystique and the unknown part of what keeps you drawn to someone?”
So, while Rooney Mara may come off as enigmatic, or aloof, know that there is much more beneath the surface, and when she does finally shed that resilient shell, the world better pay attention. After all, it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for!