Everybody Loves Shai

In the style of the famous sitcom on which Shailene guest starred (as Snotty Girl #2, no less), we’ve put together our very own tribute: Everyone Loves Shai. Here we’ve compiled some of the kindest and most sincere remarks from previous collaborators. We’d love to keep adding positive remarks to this, so if you have that you’d like to share, please feel free to do so.

  • Shailene brings her heart and fierce intelligence to everything she does. She knows nothing but honesty and empathy. She’s an absolute pure gift to everything and everyone she touches. (Laura Dern to InStyle, 2019)
  • Shailene did extensive background research to understand Jane. Her portrayal of a woman who is both a survivor of sexual assault and a single mother raising her child alone in a new community is one of the most truthful performances I’ve ever seen. There is a scene in episode two of this season where Jane explains her assault to Ziggy that moves me to tears every time I see it. (Reese Witherspoon to InStyle, 2019)
  • Shai is unbelievably real. She’s so warm and so forgiving. She’s of the heavens and of the earth. It feels so nice to be the recipient of their love. All of them. (Nicole Kidman to InStyle, 2019)
  • I’ve known Shai for years now, and with all the ups and downs — life stuff, fame, films, love — she’s just constantly herself. So many people change depending on their environment, and Shailene Woodley does not, and I fucking love it. Life is Shailene Woodley’s bitch. (Zoë Kravitz to InStyle, 2019)
  • I’ve learned a lot about a lot of things from her. She convinced Ansel and me not to wear deodorant. She somehow has that magical girl thing where you don’t ever smell bad. She had special crystals that make her smell good. Ansel and I, after two days—it was disgusting. We smelled like wild animals. I soon went back to the deodorant that’s going to give me cancer. I feel like when people talk about her, it ends up being a lot about these fun eccentricities. But that’s not my favorite part of her. As free and loving and sweet as Shailene is, she has depth and edge. There’s a weight to her. She’s super, super soulful. It’s not a coincidence that she’s a great actress. (Nat Wolff to ELLE, 2015)
  • Shailene’s genuinely comfortable in her own skin. She loves her identity, her mind, her skin, her body. She knows who she is and values herself. She reminds me of a young Sissy Spacek or Barbara Hershey, or a Debra Winger. The hardest thing on earth is to seem like you’re not acting, right? She’s incredibly gifted and has incredible craft all to make it seem like there’s no artifice. Being is harder than acting. (James Ponsoldt to ELLE, 2015)
  • Shai still only talks about how much she loves everything and how much she can’t wait to eat what she made for lunch. She came over to our hotel and said, ‘You guys, I just love eggs!’ She said, ‘I’m so excited I have these great eggs that I made for lunch!’ It was such a funny moment. She’s a simple person. That’s a great thing, and that translates to the screen—how honest she is with her emotions. She’s simple and then quite complex. (Ansel Elgort to ELLE, 2015)
  • The material world for Shai isn’t what life is about. It’s about experience and loving. She just walked up to me and said, ‘Um, will you be my friend? I just feel like you and I are meant to be friends.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, random girl I don’t know. Okay.’ It was a cosmic thing. She bounces around from place to place because she just wants to spend time with the people she loves. There’s four of us core members. We’re a little tribe. She leaves things at our houses. We call them Shai deposits, little piles all over the place. Over here is a suitcase and some clothes, and then over here is a box from Café Gratitude and some other stuff. All these little deposits of things, it’s like, ‘Oh, Shai’s here!’ When she leaves, you would never know she was there. It’s all swept up and taken away.” (Shawn-Caulin Young to ELLE, 2015)
  • Shailene was so clearly the breakout star of the show (The Secret Life). She had a hard time with the creator. She was singled out and had to endure a difficult work environment. The way that she handled herself was incredibly dignified. I remember being extremely impressed with that. It’s exciting and fun in certain ways, but at the end of the day it’s a business, and businesses are not known for having a lot of heart, you know? You have to be an extremely strong person to weather that and have a career that endures. (Molly Ringwald to ELLE, 2015)
  • For, like, 20 takes, Shailene had to just fall apart. I kept wanting to go upstairs and check on her. It seemed like no human being should have to go to that place over and over again. I was freaked out by it. Shailene came downstairs and said, ‘You wanna go to lunch?’ I was like, ‘Fuck no, I want to be alone and weep!’ And she said, ‘Oh, no, that was fun.’ She’s weird, man. She’s weirdly talented. (John Green to ELLE, 2015)
  • She is completely and unapologetically her beautiful self. While filming (The Spectacular Now), we hiked a lot. We would meet at a co-op, grab some figs, and then hit the trail. She walks slowly and with care so that not even a spider web is destroyed in her path. There is so much love and gratitude in her. (Brie Larson to NYLON, 2015)
  • One thing that really struck me, watching her on set, is how hard she works. She brings energy to every single take, even when she’s not the focus, even when she’s been there since sunrise. And I’ve never heard her complain. It’s pretty remarkable. (Veronica Roth to NYLON, 2015)
  • Shailene can do whatever she wants. If she wants to be a movie star, she has it. If she wants to change the world, she will. Her talent and kindness go hand in hand. (George Clooney to Vanity Fair, 2014)
  • She talked a lot about health food and what we should and shouldn’t eat. I really liked her, but I still didn’t think she was Hazel. (After her audition for The Fault in Our Stars) We all cried. Why did I make this so hard on myself? Why didn’t I just cast her in the beginning? She broke our hearts. Shai wasn’t Shai anymore. She was someone completely different. I think the first time you meet her, you think: ‘She can’t be real. This is an act.’ But what I came to realize was, No, she actually is this person. She does really care about all these things. I’d just forgotten how idealistic you can be at 22. (Josh Boone to New York Times, 2014)
  • The thing about these young Hollywood kids is that you can sort of tell what ones are going to go off the rails from the ones who are going to be O.K., even if they go a bit crazy after the fame machine sucks them in. Shai’s a free spirit, and the places she likes to go to are off the beaten path. If things get too crazy, she’ll go hike in the Himalayas with her friends or something. (Gregg Araki to New York Times, 2014)
  • Shai’s empowered—she’s a strong actress and intuitive. She’s not like a ‘girl’ in the Hollywood sense. Once there was a complex stunt we had to do—running next to this train and jumping on and off. She fell off the train and smacked her head. But she was up five minutes later, going, ‘I’m good.’ (Theo James to Marie Claire, 2014)
  • There’s an honesty and an openness to her that is really rare in young women of that age, let alone young women in a fast-paced business that can chew you up and spit you out as soon as it’s said hello to you. You see young actors and actresses coming up and doing well, and then suddenly they start to unravel a bit and they forget themselves. With Shailene I get the sense that the more she does and the more of the world she sees, the more well-rounded she becomes. (Kate Winslet to Marie Claire, 2014)
  • It’s funny because Divergent asks those questions, ‘What if you’re a little different in a society where everybody’s the same?’. Shailene is like that too, but not because she’s flaky. She’s as solid as a person can be, and she’s incredibly present as an actor. (Neil Burger to The Hollywood Reporter, 2014)
  • I had been looking for a young lady who could express both fire and vulnerability, like a young Debra Winger. One minute into her audition (for The Descendants), I knew I had found her. She has a remarkably good head on her shoulders — clever, compassionate, perceptive — and she has been well-parented. […] That’s part of her talent and maturity — she can hold her own in any situation. She’s the real McCoy. (Alexander Payne to Los Angeles Times, 2011)
  • In 2005 I had the great honor of playing Shailene Woodley’s mother in ‘Felicity: An American Girl Adventure.’ I was immediately impressed by her work ethic, both on and off set. Here was a young girl flawlessly embodying a Colonial era, minuet-dancing, horseback riding rebel. Even then, she was working with a depth and caliber that separated her from so many other child actors. Indeed, she was an inspiration to all her cast. Not surprisingly, watching Shailene navigate the turbulent waters of ‘The Descendants’ was again riveting. She is tasked with being at once emotionally vulnerable and raw, and yet somehow guarded and cynical in all the same moment. Shailene is inspirational, refusing to fall back on cliche or vanity, but delighting us with her honest anger, her unexpected humor, and her shatteringly raw breakdown. She doesn’t ask us to like her, but in revealing the truth of her abandonment and her disappointment with her mother, she allows us to identify with all of our daughters, and to yank at our hearts as we watch them grow up. Shailene, as one of your many moms, thank you for teaching me valuable lessons as I watch you grow up.
    (Marcia Gay Harden to Variety, 2011)