Megan Fox hardly needs an introduction. Since the Transformers film franchise catapulted the actress to megastardom in 2007, she’s remained a fixture in Hollywood, starring in a series of action-packed thrillers; earning cult status in the indie favorite Jennifer’s Body; and, as one New York Times article put it, serving as a “universal barometer of hotness.” But after a few years of flying under the radar, she’s making a massive return to the spotlight with a fresh perspective, a new fashion aesthetic, and a much-buzzed-about relationship. So yeah, it seems a reintroduction is in order.
To say that Fox has been making headlines lately is an understatement. Fashion outlets have been abuzz with coverage of her street style. A new, younger audience has been busy turning Fox’s boy-eating character in Jennifer’s Body into a feminist hero. And of course, the rest of us can’t stop talking about her relationship with rapper Colson Baker aka Machine Gun Kelly (or meticulously unpacking their style as a couple). It’s not that we’re necessarily privy to a new version of the actress. She’s still the same Fox—just wiser, more sure of herself, and a hell of a lot less willing to invest emotional energy into what anyone says.
I caught up with Fox as she was waiting to board a flight (remember those?) for what’s now a busy press circuit promoting two upcoming films she has out this summer. Chalk it up to my fuzzy speakerphone or the fact that, for her, it was a travel day, but I picked up on a slight haziness in her voice. Whatever it was quickly dissipated as she described the atmosphere of our cover shoot that took place in L.A. just a few days prior. “I was pretty sick,” she admitted. “I thought, ‘Oh, God. I don't know if I’m gonna be able to pull this off.’” Spoiler: She did. There’s a twinge of a Southern accent in her voice, a slight twang that flattens out the vowels. She spoke candidly, slipping in a “well, shit” or “oh, fuck” as casually as some people would unconsciously say “like” or “um.” You realize she’s not pretending to be anyone or anything. She’s not putting it on. Speaking to someone with such name recognition as Fox, I found it delightfully disarming to hear her describe her style as “Hot Topic meets Middle America” or share her reactions to things—many things—as a resolute, “Oh, fuck no.” Despite her uncontrived nature, there’s no question that Megan Fox knows exactly who she is, a fact that was reinforced over and over throughout the course of our conversation.
That’s not to say the self-assuredness she now embodies didn’t come at a price. For the majority of her career, Fox has faced intense scrutiny, has often been buried under a barrage of harsh and outright sexist media coverage, and has had several of her movies written off as total flops. One example in particular comes to mind: a clip that resurfaced last year of a 2009 interview she’d done with Jimmy Kimmel. In it, she expresses how she was sexualized in Hollywood as a teen, and Kimmel basically responds by making a joke of it. The whole ordeal has since sparked conversations about the unfair treatment the actress endured at the hands of the media. Fox’s defense mechanism? To simply block out all the noise. In front of the camera since the age of 15, she has navigated an industry that has been, shall we say, less than kind to her. In turn, she’s become one of the rare examples of celebrities who have managed to not just fold, and she has come back even stronger. Never one to let the critics deter her (at least outwardly), she has pushed forward at a pretty consistent clip. She’s starred in at least one feature film almost every year since 2007, but for most of that time, she stayed out of the public eye and avoided social media. “I spent so many years just hiding,” she said, reflecting on that time. A decade and some change later, she’s finally ready to let her audience see her fully.