She came in like a warm breeze in the opening shots of 50 Shades of Grey in permanently into the hearts of a majority of Hollywood and fans of the Shades series. Though not a lot of people know, that the actress Dakota Johnson had been around Tinsel Town for years before being cast as the quiet Anastasia Steel from the novels by E.L. James. She’s actually considered Hollywood royalty, believe it or not. She’s the daughter of actors Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson and made her film debut WITH Melanie back in 1999 in the comedy-drama Crazy in Alabama.
Johnson flew under the radar and actually blended into the background whenever she starred in most films (remember her scene in The Social Network? She was opposite Justin Timberlake in the scene where his character was introduced). Even though she was the daughter of super famous people, she knew she had to earn her rightful place in Hollywood and not rely on her last name to open doors for her.
When she was cast in Shades, fans of the book weren’t too happy because she was not how they pictured the character of Anastasia, but after the first movie premiered, their minds were altered completely since she seemed like the living embodiment of the character herself. Despite being in the spotlight fulltime these days, there are still some things that fans don’t know about Dakota, so we’ve taken some time to put a magnifying glass to the young actress.
15 Her Grandmother Is Tippi Hedren From “The Birds” Fame
When I said Dakota was of Hollywood royalty, I wasn’t lying in the least. Sure, her mother Melanie Griffith was well known for her roles in such films as Body Double, Something Wild, Working Girl, and Milk Money while dad Don Johnson came from Miami Vice and Nash Bridges, but they’re not who I’m referring to here.
Melanie’s parents are Peter Griffith, who was a child actor, and Tippi Hedren, who was Alfred Hitchcock’s muse before Grace Kelly came along.
Hedren starred in two of his most well-known films, The Birds in 1963 and Marnie in 1964. So, sure, Melanie may be the most “well-known” in the family, but Tippi holds a completely different trump card since she comes from the golden era of Hollywood.
14 She Has A Lot Of Tattoos, Which Interferes With Her Work On The Screen
While Dakota Johnson has numerous tattoos all over her body, the character of Anastasia Steele certainly does not. The character that made Johnson a household name was known as a somewhat naïve girl who wasn’t familiar with taking risks before meeting the mysterious and handsome Christian Grey, so naturally, she is void of any ink. Dakota, on the other hand, is not afraid of a little needle and her body is covered in some pretty dang cool tattoos. “I went through a phase where I loved tattoos, and I loved the feeling of getting tattooed,” she said during an interview. Though the tattoos have thrown a small wrench in her acting career and she has to cover them up most of the time these days. “But now I’ve outgrown them mostly, and because I always have to cover them for jobs, God, they’re annoying!”
13 No Body Double In 50 Shades Of Grey For This Lady
No one should be shocked that Dakota Johnson didn’t use a body double for most of the 50 Shades trilogy and why should she? She was a freaking model for heaven sakes. Most Hollywood actresses have certain clauses in their contracts that prevent them from showing too much skin in a movie, but not Dakota.
The girl is not shy about her figure and is brave as all heck to shoot the scenes in the movies without batting an eyelash.
She did, however, use a body double in a particular scene that involved a whip (she didn’t want to mark up her body) other than that, she was a go for the rest. That takes a certain amount of bravery that most actresses wouldn’t approach. So all the more power to Dakota.
12 She Once Needed To Seek Serious Help As A Teenager
Addiction runs in the family, apparently, and some family members can’t really escape it, especially the children of addicts. Dakota happened to be one of those very children who couldn’t escape her own parents’ addictions and fell victim herself. At the delicate age of 17, the actress completed a 30-day stay at Visions Teen Treatment Center in Malibu California in order to get clean. Both Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith had to pay their dues in rehab as well, and often times more than once. Melanie was treated in 1988, in 2000, and a final time in 2009 while Don checked into the Betty Ford Center back in the 90’s. Dakota cleaned up quick, fast, and in a hurry and hasn’t looked back or had a relapse since her teen years thankfully.
11 Fighting To Save The Lives Of Animals All Over The World Is Her Jam
These days, celebrities are considered “animal rights activists” if they own more than one dog or cat. They never really back up all their talk with actions. This is NOT Dakota Johnson, who, just like her grandma Tippi Hedren, is a legit animal rights activist.
Back in 2014, Dakota literally saved 12 horses from being slaughtered and going on the meat market by paying outright for them.
She then paid the rent for three years for a riding school that was in financial trouble. Dakota seems to be the outright mold of her grandmother, who took to rescuing wild animals after she left behind acting in Hollywood for good. Heck, daughter Melanie even grew up in a house with a lion that her mother had rescued! Now, let’s see Dakota do something like that.
10 After All These Years, Auditioning For A Role In A Movie Still Makes Her Super Nervous
When you talk to some actors and actresses, you’ll find that they enjoy expressing how their nerves were wracked the first time they auditioned for a role in a major movie and/or television show. While most of those celebrities have gotten well over having stage fright when auditioning now for roles after so many years of being in the business, it still scares the utter heck out of Dakota. It actually freaks her out so bad that she sometimes gets panic attacks before auditioning for a role. We often think that celebrities are completely confident in their selves by the way they project, but we often forget that like normal people, they too suffer from self-doubt when it comes to “interviewing” for a new job (which is pretty much what auditioning is for actors).
9 She Knows Her Way Around A Weapon And Shouldn’t Be Messed With
On the screen, Dakota projects pure innocence with a flick of her wrists, but in real life, the young actress is hardly an angel thanks to her growing up on her father’s house in Colorado. All before the age of 10, the future Miss Anastasia Steele was taught by her father how to ride a horse, build a fire, and yes, even shoot a gun. The latter is a trait that we don’t know if she still practices to this day, but it’s certainly good that she knows her way around a weapon (you know, just in case).
It was clear that she was raised with a certain amount of freedom that most child actors don’t seem to know or really understand.
Thanks to her parents being divorced, Dakota received the best of both worlds – one in the mountain-scape of Colorado, and one in the hustle and bustle of LA.
8 She Sorta Stole Some Items From The Set of 50 Shades Of Grey
Now, when we say she’s a “minor” thief, we don’t mean she was arrested when she was 13-years old for trying to lift a tube of lipstick from an Ulta, we mean that she sort of, well, “borrowed” some items from 50 Shades of Grey as trinkets or souvenirs of remembrance. And if you’ve seen any of the movies so far, you know that they have some really cool stuff (clothing and such) on set. And Dakota thought so too, so she decided to lift a few. She’s openly admitted in interviews that she took a lot of the underwear her character wore because they were, quote, “comfortable” to wear. I’m completely sure that the costume personnel didn’t mind her making a few five-finger discounts when it came to her wardrobe because I mean, who else is going to wear that underwear again?
7 Guess Who She Beat Out For The Role of Anastasia Steele?
After fans went crazy for the book series, everyone was on edge when it came to casting the perfect Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. Everyone was in an uproar when a relatively unknown Irish actor Jamie Dornan was cast as Christian since the part was originally supposed to go British actor Charlie Hunnam (of Sons of Anarchy fame). So, when it came to casting Anastasia, fans preferred a more well-known actress play opposite of the unknown Dornan. But that didn’t happen.
Actresses like Elizabeth Olsen, Shailene Woodley, Chloe Bridges, and yes, even Kristen Stewart (who already had the market cornered as far as popular book series go) was up for the role of Anastasia.
But, alas, we all know that Dakota beat all of them out.
6 Short-Term Dating? Not For Her
This may come as a shock for most people – that a stunningly beautiful girl isn’t really interested in romantic entanglements – but it’s true: Dakota Johnson isn’t a fan of a dating. BUT, let’s set the terminology straight here: Dakota, more specifically, isn’t interested in CASUAL relationships and dating. When she dates, it’s for the long term, which is why she tends to focus more on her career than wading through a sea of men. Also, she hates dealing with the paparazzi when it comes to dating since now they’re constantly on her case. The actress has really only been in long-term relationships and prefers a partner as opposed to dating different guys every night, which is what some other well-known actresses have done. She prefers committed men, and that’s a good thing.
5 She Use To Be A Model In Her Younger Years
Yes, we know, we know – a lot of young actresses used to model in between acting gigs. It’s usually the way Hollywood works, especially for those who come from royal Hollywood families like Dakota did.
After Johnson left school for good in her younger years, she was picked up by IMG Models, a super famous modeling agency that has signed some pretty big names before Dakota: The Hadid sisters, Miranda Kerr, Lily Aldridge are just among the list of famous faces.
Now, her modeling career wasn’t as prominent as her acting career is now, but she did model for MANGO brand jeans and well as shot the “Rising Star” campaign for Wish. Seems that her acting career worked out better than her modeling career. But hey, we won’t hold that against her.
4 Her Best Friend? Yeah, She’s Elvis Presley’s Granddaughter
We all know that since she grew up in two famous households with some very famous parents, Dakota was bound to have some famous friends of her own to pal around with. And you won’t be disappointed to hear that her absolute best friend is none other than Rock royalty, Riley Keough, who is the granddaughter of Elvis Presley. That’s right, THE Elvis Presley. Riley is the actress/model daughter of Lisa Marie Presley and Danny Keough and was the lead in the critically acclaimed Steven Soderbergh produced TV series The Girlfriend Experience. Oh, and you may recognize her from Magic Mike as well. Those are some pretty strong acting genes between the two besties and long for the day when they actually decide to star in the same movie together.
3 She Was Miss Golden Globe Back In 2006
If you didn’t know this before, considered yourself now informed: Usually, the children of famous actresses and actors tend to take on the role of “Miss Golden Globe” (a role that has now expanded to include the sons of the famous as Mr. Golden Globe).
They’re the ones at the Golden Globes who hand out the awards to the winners.
Back in 2006, Dakota was chosen to be Miss Golden Globe (her mama was Miss Golden Globe was chosen back in 1975) and she was actually the FIRST second-generation Miss Golden Globe, which was a huge honor. The Hollywood Foreign Press was even unanimous in their decision to bestow the honor on the young Dakota, which was extremely cool and even referred to the young actress as “enchanting”.
2 Social Media Isn’t Her Thing Because She Doesn't Want To Turn Into A Stalker
These days, everyone and their dog is either on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or yes, even Facebook (which has gone to the bottom of the list as far as popular social media sites go). It’s usually so they can interact with their fans (and critics) on a daily basis. We all know that a celebrity having a social media account can either make or break them. They could often say the wrong thing and upset the wrong people and get crucified for it, which is one of the reasons why she doesn’t have one. Nope, not even a Facebook account. Apparently, she doesn’t want to turn into one of those “creepers” online. “I was on Facebook until I caught myself being a psycho stalker,” she said when asked why she wasn’t on social media. “That’s when I chose to stop.”
1 She Wishes She Wasn’t Famous... Sometimes
At one point in their existence, an actor or actress loves to say “I wish I wasn’t famous” while basking in the ever-present glow of the limelight. But in this case, Dakota isn’t really backdoor bragging, she’s actually serious.
The actress never really knew what it was like to be raised in a “normal” household since both her parents and her grandmother was considered Hollywood royalty.
“The idea of being at home and picking up kids from school and cooking dinner and then the husband comes home- there’s something that seems really nice to me ‘cause I never had that growing up,” Dakota once told Marie Claire. “And it seems so enticing. But in my mind, I’m like, Well, I’ll just play that in a movie and go about my own life, bizarre as it is.”