Oh, how she’s grown! Elle Fanning got her start as a child star in Hollywood, but the Georgia native has come so far in her career.

“I look at photos, and I looked the same when I was 11. I’m told I have a very period face. I don’t know what that means,” the actress told Marie Claire in October 2021 when reflecting on her career. “I probably will be 35 and people will still go, ‘Awww!’ My sister [Dakota Fanning] feels that way too because people feel like they’ve known you since you were the six-year-old kid in the film.”

However, she’s not that kid anymore and Elle sometimes feels like “you don’t know me” when people only think of her as a child star. That being said, the actress did experience the trials and tribulations of her teen years just like any other high schooler would.

“At that age, I was experiencing first love and, like, relationships and just how impactful it is on your life. That never goes away for people. That first love is so intense and sets up so many things in your life. And also … not to get into it too much, but it was also … not the best. … It was kind of a tumultuous relationship,” she recalled in the same magazine interview. “Which can also be very romantic for young people as well. Everything’s so dramatic at that age, so intensified, when you’re young and still developing in a school setting, which is literally the harshest place in the world.”

Elle went on to star in the fan-favorite Hulu series The Great where she plays Catherine the Great and executive produces the series.

“I don’t take it lightly how special it is for a character like this to come along, especially at my age,” the Hulu star told Harper’s Bazaar in July 2022. “She is so rich and so complicated and not just in the standard tone of ‘a strong female character’. Yes, she has to build her strength, but she makes mistakes, she’s messy, and she’s not always right.”

She and sister Dakota started the production company Lewellen Pictures to pass along advice they’ve been given over the years: “Just go out there and produce your own stuff and find your own stories.”

Scroll through our gallery to see Elle’s transformation dove the years. 

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