Kristen Stewart has spoken out about navigating her identity in Hollywood and seeking queer representation in the industry. 

In an interview with InStyle magazine, the Charlie’s Angels actress was paired with Happiest Season director Clea Duvall, and the duo talked about their upcoming Christmas romcom and how their own experiences shaped their roles.

Duvall was eager to see a movie that resonated with herself, but also reflected a cinematic experience she was yet to see.

“I wanted something that represented an experience I haven’t seen, which was something close to my own,” Duvall said.

Likewise, Stewart found the uniqueness of the film “poignant” as well as “extremely affecting and triggering”.

The film in question, Happiest Season, follows the relationship between Harper (Mackenzie Davis) and Abby (Kristen Stewart). Harper is yet to come out to her family but brings her girlfriend home for Christmas.

“They’re both people I really felt protective of in different ways, because I’ve been on both sides of that dynamic where someone is having a hard time acknowledging who they are and the other person is more self-accepting,” Stewart said.

“I don’t want to aggrandize my own pain, because I know that others’ pain has been so great. Living in this world, being a queer person, there are things that hurt constantly. Anyway, I read the script, and I couldn’t believe a studio was doing it.”

Duvall continues the conversation asking Stewart if it was her personal experiences that attracted her to the film.

Since coming out, the industry and audiences have latched onto Stewart as a LGBTQ+ icon and the pressure of that ownership is not something that is missed.

“The first time I ever dated a girl, I was immediately being asked if I was a lesbian. And it’s like, ‘God, I’m 21 years old’,” Stewart recalls. “Not because I felt ashamed of being openly gay but because I didn’t like giving myself to the public, in a way. It felt like such thievery.

“I think the added pressure of representing a group of people, of representing queerness, wasn’t something I understood then. Only now can I see it.”

Even when it came to the coming out crux of the film, Stewart admits she found recognition in the plot’s struggle: “Retrospectively, I can tell you I have experience with this story. But back then I would have been like, ‘No, I’m fine. My parents are fine with it. Everything’s fine.’ That’s bullshit. It’s been hard. It’s been weird. It’s that way for everyone.”

Happiest Season is currently scheduled to be released in cinemas from 27 November.

Related: Here’s your first look at Kristen Stewart’s queer holiday rom-com