Starlets who say they like to bake are like models who claim they don't diet. (Cue eye roll.) But here's how I know Ashley Greene isn't a pretender: The day before we are to meet with James Beard Award-winning food writer Carolynn Carreño for a private lesson on how to bake world-class chocolate chip cookies, Greene, 25, politely informs Carreño that she's just whipped up a batch of sweet potato muffins with bourbon filling. This disclosure is her gentle way of saying, "I'm no beginner, so how about we step it up a notch?" Carreño quickly gets the hint, scratches the cookies, and suggests a more advanced French peach tart instead.
So there we are, in the airy kitchen of Carreño's Venice, California, bungalow, arms flecked with flour, complimenting each other on our rolling pin skills. Greene, a Jacksonville, Florida, native, is one of those type A chefs: Her side of the counter is freakishly clean, and she expertly works a shapeless mound of dough into disks so perfectly spherical they could have been measured with a protractor. She is entirely engaged in the task at hand. Everything about her is carefully considered, from the casual-cool, paparazzi-ready ensemble (Ella Moss tank, cutoff jean shorts, Isabel Marant booties) to the neatly folded apron she showed up with tucked under her arm. Focused is her natural state of being.
Basically the opposite of me. While Greene is the model student, I am distracted. In my defense, I'm mentally wrestling with a tricky bit of business: how to get Greene's take on the biggest celebrity split since Sandra Bullock dumped a wayward Jesse James. About a week earlier, a Hollywood bomb had gone off that shocked the nation — the planet! Greene's Twilight costar Kristen Stewart had cheated on her longtime beau, Robert Pattinson, devastating millions of "Twihards" who considered the real-life romance of Edward Cullen and Bella Swan a love story for the ages. Stewart's wrenching confession (and those photos!) are all anyone, anywhere can talk about. So after we are both settled in, I gently back into the subject of l'affair KStew. The easy grin quickly vanishes from Greene's face. "That is off-limits," she says sternly, adding with emphasis, "really."
Greene, of all the castmates, surely understands there's zero upside for her if she dishes. Not just because she understands that rules are rules — ever the perfectionist, she's good at following them — but because she owes everything to Twilight, her very first film. Her story is Hollywood's version of stepping up to the mound for the first time and pitching a no-hitter. It rarely happens, and when it does, everybody notices.
"I'm lucky and my dad taught me to be frugal and save," she said. "And that’s important because I want to know that I don’t have to take an acting job for two or three years if I don’t want to and that I’ll still be able to make my house and car payments and buy food for my dogs."
More in the Nov issue of Marie Claire on newsstands on October 23.
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