What a difference a year makes! Reading the March 2014 interview in Elle—“Inside Dakota Johnson’s NC-17 ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Audition”—and the January 2015 interview in Vogue—“‘Fifty Shades of Grey’s’ Dakota Johnson: An Interview with a Woman on the Brink of Fame”—one would think that Stephen Rodrick (Elle) and Hamish Bowles (Vogue) had interviewed two completely different people and did not, in fact, both write profiles of the exact same actress. The two Dakota Johnson profiles, spaced ten months apart, reveal two completely different sides of the young starlet.
In the Elle interview, there were eight appearances of the f-word and its derivatives—and a few other words of the four-letter variety. Just ten months later, Bowles writes of a shared experience that occurred during the interview which revealed, “a streak of prudery that seems somewhat at odds with her on-screen antics in Fifty Shades.”
Somewhere between shooting Fifty Shades of Grey and its release, Johnson either hired a new publicist or one of her famous family members give her a much-needed whack in the head. Whether Tippi Hedren advised her to clean up her language or a media trainer painstakingly broke Johnson of her unfiltered speech, it provides a valuable lesson to public figures and would-be public figures everywhere: you can change your image in a short period of time, if you nip any negatives in the bud, before there is a long record of faux pas.
By changing her bad interview habits at the outset of her career, Johnson was able to be described by a journalist as having a streak of prudery, which, after reading the 2014 interview with her, would be hard to imagine anyone saying of her. Ever. While it is always possible to change your image, it is easiest if you do it as early as possible. Jennifer Lawrence, for example, has a list of faux pas so long that they get mentioned in every subsequent story about her—the spilled Altoids in a press conference, the tripping, the list goes on. For Johnson though, most of the public will never realize what a foul-mouthed interviewee she started out as.