American actress Kristen Stewart is one of the hottest young female stars in Hollywood this year.

She is best known for her role as Bella Swan in The Twilight Saga. The latest film in the series, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 was released Friday. She has also starred in Panic Room (2002), Zathura (2005), In the Land of Women (2007), The Messengers (2007), Adventureland (2009) and The Runaways (2010).

Stewart was born and raised in Los Angeles, Calif. She began acting when she was eight years old and an agent saw her perform in her elementary school's Christmas play. She auditioned for different parts for a year and landed her first acting part in the film The Thirteenth Year, though the part was nonspeaking. She also played small parts in Flinstones in Viva Rock Vegas and The Safety of Objects.

In 2002, she had her first major breakthrough as the diabetic daughter of a divorced mother, played by Jodie Foster, in Panic Room. From 2002 onwards, she played major roles in a number of films and she was cat in her first starring role in the children's film Catch That Kid. Stewart began playing more difficult roles and, in 2004, she played a high school freshman who stops speaking after being raped in Speak, a television film made for Showtime. The film garnered Stewart rave reviews and to this point it is her most critically acclaimed role.

Stewart was cast as Bella Swan in 2007 to play the part in the adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's novels, The Twilight Saga. After the release of the series' first film, Twilight, Stewart won the MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance. Her role in the Twilight series alongside Robert Pattinson helped her gain international commercial recognition. Stewart also played the lead female role in the next three Twilight films, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 and she will reprise the role in Breaking Dawn - Part 2, set for release on Nov. 16, 2012.

The 21-year-old actress has played a number of other roles and was listed as the highest earning female actress in Hollywood in the 2010's Top Hollywood Top Earners List compiled by Vanity Fair. She earned an estimated $28.5 million for all her movie roles in 2010.

Stewart's next role will be the lead in Snow White and the Huntsman, set for release on June 12, 2012.