If you were to describe Dakota Johnson, Allure‘s February 2018 cover star, in just one word, it might be this: impassioned. Much as you would expect from a performer of her caliber and of her Hollywood pedigree (her parents are Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, and her grandmother is Hitchcock favorite Tippi Hedren), she readily admits that she is an emotional person — a welcome, even refreshing contrast from the highly polished veneer that most famous faces (and their representatives) project to the world.
“Fundamentally, I’m open and warm. At my core, I’m a bleeding heart. But when your life is exposed and when the movie that exposes your life is exposing your emotions and your body, it can be very scary,” Johnson told Allure with regard to how her experience on the Fifty Shades franchise helped mold her as an actress — and as a human. “Throughout this entire experience, I’ve learned that I can expose my heart and my emotions and I can still protect myself. I can still be vulnerable and strong. It’s a constant ebb and flow and a battle and trying to figure out how to have those things coexist within me. That’s what I’m grateful for.”
Like many creative people, Johnson finds solace in her work particularly because she chooses the roles that resonate most strongly with her. “I don’t know how to explain it in a way that doesn’t sound hokey, but when I’m on a project, I’m on it for a certain reason, and I’m involved with the people for a reason,” she told Allure. “It’s always some sort of weird marriage to something that’s happening in my life, or the character has some connection to something that’s going on [in my life].”
Fortunately, Johnson has many friends in the industry, including Gucci’s creative director and Renaissance man, Alessandro Michele (he cast her in the ad campaign for his first fragrance for the brand, Gucci Bloom), and director Luca Guadagnino. On her close working relationship with Guadagnino, who cast Johnson in his dreamy 2015 project, A Bigger Splash, the actress revealed this: “We talk almost every day. It’s constantly creating and thinking of what we’re going to do next, how we’re going to evolve…what’s the next thing we’re going to try to accomplish?”
The answer, it seems, is always something simultaneously powerful and passionate. “It’s terrifying. But it’s cathartic. And that makes my heart beat,” Johnson said to Allure when asked about the raw, intimate spectrum of human emotional experience that Guadagnino asks of actors in his films.
Lucky for us, in addition to being our utterly ethereal cover star, Johnson was open to trying a different kind of experience on set with Allure, where we gave her nine odd challenges to do on camera. From applying LED false eyelashes to snapping a selfie using her feet, this seasoned star gave each task her best shot — and the results were amazing. Brighten up your day by checking them out in the video below: