Kristen Stewart doesn't care about how she looks in photos or about what any of her critics have to say. Photo courtesy of Vanity Fair, July 2012.

Kristen Stewart knows how to cut to the chase.

You can Google my name and one of the first things that comes up is images of me sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe with my ex-boyfriend and my dog, Kristen Stewart told Vanity Fair contributing editor, Ingrid Sischy, in July's cover story.

The smoking photos Kristen Stewart refers to were taken by paparazzi in 2008, when the first installment of Twilight was released and the young actress was thrust, unprepared, into the spotlight. In the photos, the now 22-year-old actress sits on her front porch in gray sweatpants and a white tank top with her hair thrown into a messy ponytail and a black pipe in her hand. Subsequent photos showed Stewart smoking.

It was [taken] the day the movie came out. I was no one. I was a kid. I had just turned 18. In [the tabloids] the next day it was like I was a delinquent slimy idiot, whereas I'm kind of a weirdo, creative Valley Girl who smokes pot. Big deal. But that changed my daily life instantly. I didn't go out in my underwear anymore.

Kristen Stewart might be one of the most popular young stars, dating one of the most pined-after heartthrobs, and yet she still faces her fair share of criticism. But she could not possibly care any less about what her critics have to say.

I have been criticized a lot for not looking perfect in every photograph, Stewart said. I get some serious shit about it. I'm not embarrassed about it. I'm proud of it. If I took perfect pictures all the time, the people standing in the room with me, or on the carpet, would think, What an actress! What a faker! That thought embarrasses me so much that I look like sh-t in half my photos, and I don't give a f--k. What matters to me is that the people in the room leave and say, 'She was cool. She had a good time. She was honest.' I don't care about the voracious, starving s--t eaters who want to turn truth into s--t. Not that you can say that in Vanity Fair!

Stewart has never been one of those Hollywood starlets content with smiling pretty for the cameras whenever she steps outside. She has frequently been captured flipping up her middle finger at the photogs who follow her.

Despite her professional cred, the Snow White and the Huntsman actress still has troubled faking it.

In 2008, this photo of Kristen Stewart smoking on her porch was plastered in every tabloid and on every blog. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Me and [Pattinson] got into a lot of trouble. We were getting these notes from the studio. They wanted me to smile all the time. They wanted Rob to be not so brooding. We were like, 'No! you need to brood your -ss off,' she told the magazine.

Her boyfriend and Twilight co-star, Robert Pattinson, knows how she struggles with the public's preconceived notions about her.

People have decided how they are going to perceive her, Robert Pattinson told Vanity Fair of his girlfriend. No matter how many times she smiles, they'll put in the one picture where she's not smiling.

Sean Penn backed this up, saying, Kristen doesn't know how to be in a popularity contest. You can see Kristen generously trying to join the popularity contest when a movie is being publicized. She'll try to get on board, but her body language has a whole different dynamic. Penn directed Stewart in 2006's Into the Wild.

Regardless of how she may be perceived in the media, Stewart is knocking 'em dead in Hollywood. Her Snow White and the Huntsman film topped the box office its opening weekend, grossing $56.3 million. In November, Stewart was named the No. 6 Highest Paid Young Actor in Hollywood, raking in at least $25 million for Breaking Dawn and $2.5 million for On the Road.

America's Sweetheart was never a title she had her heart set on.

Look at a picture of me before I was 15. I am a boy. I wore my brother's clothes, dude! Stewart told Vanity Fair. Not like I cared that much, but I remember being made fun of because I wasn't wearing Juicy jeans. I didn't even think about it. I wore my gym clothes. But it's not like I didn't care that they made fun of me. It really bothered me. I remember this girl in sixth grade looked at me in gym and was like, 'Oh my God! That's disgusting-you don't shave your legs!

Kristen Stewart poses nonchalantly at the premiere of her new movie, Snow White and the Huntsman. Photo courtesy of Reuters.

Kristen Stewart pushes boundaries even further in, On the Road. In the flick, a portrait film about youngsters of the Beat Generation on a quest for It, Stewart goes topless and appears in a threesome scene.

During a press conference at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, Kristen Stewart said that she is proud of the role.

I wanted to do [the scene], said Stewart, referring to the racy scene in the film based on Jack Kerouac's 1957 book. I love pushing. I love scaring myself. I've always wanted to get as close to an experience as I could.

I'm usually self-conscious about running around town, she added. But I got to live more in those four weeks than I ever usually do in my life.

Her evolution as an actress, and as a young woman, is startlingly evident.

Vulture recently published an essay detailing the transformation the 22-year-old has undergone, from lip-biting Bella to sexually-enlightened Marylou.

It's obviously a little more noteworthy when a star like Stewart dares to bare for her art, wrote Vulture's Kyle Buchanan. In fact, as an uninhibited teenager who takes up with Garrett Hedlund's Neal Cassady stand-in, both she and Hedlund go nude in their very first scenes in On the Road, and Stewart later takes part in a ménage à trois, initiates road head, and jerks off both Hedlund and Sam Riley while all three are naked in a moving car. She's so horny and curious that when another couple excuses themselves to have sex, a nosy Stewart follows them into the doorway and asks, 'Can I watch you guys screw?'

To watch Stewart come alive in On the Road, you have to wonder: At what point did we stop allowing movie stars to be sexy? continued Buchanan. Today's movie superheroes are at their most powerful when they've got their costumes on, but as this year's sexually adventurous films at Cannes are proving, sometimes actors are most fearless when they dare to take it all off.