Why Chloë Grace Moretz Is Stepping Out of the Spotlight

She's using her platform to amplify others' voices and take a stand about what really matters.
By Jenn Barthole
February 10, 2021
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Chloë Grace Moretz should be on the road. She stars in two major films being released this year, so there's a lot to promote. But since the pandemic has halted regular life, she is stationed at her home in Los Angeles, which presents her with a couple of new realities: being at her abode (this is the longest stretch ever) and having loads of free time.

From age 5, Chloë has spent most of her life traveling or on a set. Since she can remember, her days have run on a rigid schedule planned to the hour. Then, poof, her routine suddenly dismantled, and Chloë became unmoored. "In the beginning it felt nice to take a break. I thought it might last for a few weeks. Then it became very real that we weren't going back to work. It was daunting and so scary."

With the shift to endless unaccounted-for hours, Chloë began examining her life goals and essentially set out on a get-to-know-herself odyssey. Her one mandate was to be truthful. "I always go by honesty," she says. "As long as you speak your truth, you're not going to steer yourself wrong."

In her process so far, Chloë has discovered a few things. Most notably, how important it is to her to back up her beliefs. She has educated herself on social justice issues and has used her Instagram page to let political figures and other activists speak to her 17 million followers. If there's a whispered dictate that young Hollywood starlets should stay neutral and silent, Chloë isn't abiding.

She also has a new appreciation for the growth that comes with her work. Chloë's next two roles flex opposing acting muscles, which couldn't make her happier. First, she goes full-on funny, starring as Kayla in the feel-good action comedy Tom and Jerry, based on the cartoon classic and set for release this month. In complete contrast, Chloë also stars in the dark drama Shadow in the Cloud (out this spring) as the no-nonsense heroine Maude Garrett, a ruthless World War II pilot who is challenging the patriarchy as the sole woman on an all-male crew.

"I don't want people to say, 'I know for sure who Chloë Grace Moretz is as an actor.' Or a person, for that matter," she says. Chloë continues to evolve and look inward, and her discoveries have led her to some pretty happy places. Here, she shares the valuable lessons she has learned and what truly makes her tick.

Credit: Thomas Whiteside

Faking It Is Not an Option

"It's important that those around me know where I stand and who I am and that my actions speak louder than my words. I am the most loyal person, to a fault. Knowing myself, speaking the truth, and my loyalty all show through, and conversations can grow from there. I always share my heart in terms of politics and what I feel is right and wrong in the industry. I've never backed down from being honest."

Happiness Equals a Workout

"A few years ago, I lost sight of how important exercising is to me. I forgot how it provides mental clarity and dexterity and keeps me grounded and strong. Now I've really gotten back into it full time. Working the mind, body, and soul — that's super important.

Before the pandemic, I was exercising with my trainer Jason Walsh, who focuses on primal movements, like bear crawls and baby rolls where you're rolling from your abdomen to your back. When I started, these basic moves immediately helped different pains leave my body. Five days a week, I was seeing either Jason in L.A. or another amazing trainer, Daniel Lavipour, in London. Then on the weekends, I was taking restorative yoga classes. I was constantly with them, either in person or over FaceTime. There's something wonderful about that companionship.

But in quarantine, I've paused the trainer workouts. For the first time, I've realized I have the ability to continue regular exercise on my own, although it may not be as intense. Some days, all I can muster is getting up and stretching. It's enough to say, 'I thought about working out, but now I'm sitting here and at least I'm having 20 minutes of quiet.' I'm using that designated workout time to unravel my emotions." (BTW, Walsh also got Brie Larson ready for her Grand Teton climb.)

Credit: Thomas Whiteside

The Art of an Anxiety Escape Plan

"I thought maybe I had anxiety, but then the pandemic hit it, and I was like, 'Oh, I have anxiety for sure.' My most calm and centered self is when I'm on set and busy. I tend to feel stress in the mundane everyday moments at home. Now that I'm home all the time, my anxiety is constantly being revved up. I've learned that when that fight-or-flight kicks in, it's up to me to catch those tendencies, recognize them, and respect them but then bring it back.

I've managed to cope by doing a sense check. What are two things I can smell, taste, see, and feel right now? Then I do box breathing, which is four counts in, four counts hold, and four counts release. Very quickly, I come back into my reality and just ground myself. Then I'm able to focus on today: 'What am I going to eat for dinner? What should I read?' Also, I can't speak highly enough of a good therapist who will guide you and help figure out what is truest to who you are."

Credit: Thomas Whiteside

Evolving Her Relationship with Food

"I had quite an unhealthy relationship with food for years, always trying to create a calorie deficit and never feeling fully satisfied. One big thing I've learned about is conscious eating — eat how you want, but do it smartly. I grew up and began trusting in eating for my body and eating whole good foods. And if I know that I'm going to have a big dinner or a big lunch, I have a little less in either direction. This has been really successful for me. I also drink alcohol on weekends only. It's very easy for me to fall into having a glass of wine every night, which affects my mental clarity."

Sometimes All Hell Breaks Loose, and It's OK

"I was pescatarian, but then over quarantine, I just couldn't not have fried chicken. For a solid two weeks, I ate Dave's Hot Chicken: two fried chicken sandwiches every day. I was like, 'I've got to have it. I don't know what to do about this.' I became a little demon. Then I was like, 'Something happened. I'm not OK. My digestion isn't normal. I'm totally breaking out.'

Once I got on a food routine cycle, that really helped. Now I'll usually have fish, often salmon. I prep meals for Sunday through Wednesday and then freeze the rest of the salmon fillets to bake Wednesday night for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. But on the weekends, I definitely give myself a break. I'm like, 'Eat what you want, and have a good time.'"

Credit: Thomas Whiteside

Cooking Is An Oasis

"I never had enough time to cook because I was always running around with work. During quarantine, I stocked up on groceries with the plan to be creative with everything. I also really got into gardening to grow food for myself. I could taste the difference in home-grown herbs and then compost whatever I didn't use. I wanted to get down to the basics of cooking, learn to make my own bone broth, roux, and gravies and then play with different cuisines. I threw myself into Japanese food too, because I love the simplicity of it. I learned how to use the same ingredients 50 ways with various dashi broths.

I also learned to bake sourdough bread and keep a starter alive. I would share my starter with my friends — drop it off at their house. Putting all my love and thought into creating a recipe, then giving food to people and watching them eat it, is euphoric."

Credit: Thomas Whiteside

Beauty Boils Down to Simplicity

"For me, skin care is first and foremost. I rely on natural products, but very few products in general. To wash, I usually use olive oil and honey as an antimicrobial cleanser. Then as a toner, I use the SK-II Mid-Day Miracle Essence (Buy It, $79, amazon.com), which is like this miracle water. I also do a lot of lymphatic drainage in my face regularly, which helps clean up the acne.

I always messed with my hair. I'm naturally blonde, but I really enjoyed coloring my hair. I was also constantly fighting my natural curl. I have very curly ringlets all over my head. Recently, I stopped doing Brazilian straighteners. My hair is so thankful, and I'm obsessed with taking care of it. It hasn't been this thick and long since I was 11 years old."

Credit: Thomas Whiteside

Wanting to Listen and Learn

"I use my platforms to amplify voices that don't have their own audience to speak to about what their challenges are. I always ask myself: What have they gone through? And what can I take away from this? It's really easy to be a performative ally and just repost a few quotes, but are you really asking the questions and educating yourself on what it means? As a white woman in America, I admit to being incredibly insulated. So I'm taking a damn seat and shutting up and saying, 'All right. I'm going to learn, and I'm going to hit the ground and actually educate myself, because it's crucial.'"

Photography: Thomas Whiteside, @thomaswhiteside // Styling: Sandra Amador, @sandraamador.xx, and Tom Eerebout, @tomeerebout // Hair: Gregory Russell/The Wall Group, @gregoryrussellhair // Makeup: Mai Quynh/The Wall Group for Armani Beauty, @storyofmailife // Manicure: Christina Aviles Aude/Star Touch Agency for Peacci, @christinaviles // Creative Director: Noah Dreier, @noahdreier // Photo Director: Toni Paciello Loggia, @toniloggia