What Ashley wants

What to know why we love our Feb cover girl Ashley Greene? She's a career girl who brings cookies to interviews...

Twilight put this gorgeous actress on the map. Now she’s working her butt off to reach superstardom. Ducking into a café in New York City, Ashley Greene tells us she’s only slept “about five hours a night,” before sighing and explaining why. “Right now, there’s so much going on that my brain just won’t shut off.”

So what’s keeping her schedule so jam-packed? Not only was the final Twilight flick, Breaking Dawn: Part 2, released in November, but 2012 also saw the 25-year-old star in her first major lead role in supernatural chiller The Apparition, and she had a supporting role in the star-studded satirical comedy Butter.

And as if shooting those films and travelling around the world to do publicity for them wasn’t keeping her busy enough, she’s also the face of two different brands – DKNY and Mark cosmetics.

Looking at Ashley, you’d never know she’s been working almost to the point of exhaustion. She’s the definition of relaxed, leaning back in her chair wearing a denim shirt, red jeans and caramel-coloured leather boots.

When asked how she finds time to unwind, Ashley shrugs and insists she’s far more focused on her career than she is on taking it easy. “I’m looking for things that are going to push boundaries. I want to work with directors I know get great performances and actors who force me to up my game,” she says. “Hopefully I’ll be able to find that.”

Being part of one of the biggest film franchises of all time has made Ashley a household name. Now, she’s looking to prove she has staying power. How?

“I think it’s smart to look at what other people are doing and say, ‘OK, I’m always up against this girl and she beats me out. Why?’ Figure it out so you can better yourself,” she says.

But Ashley isn’t consumed by others’ success; instead, she focuses on putting 100 per cent into everything. “You have to go into every room and wow them. I never want to walk out thinking, ‘I could’ve done better.’”

Since most of her energy is going into her career, she wants to make sure that’s what everyone else pays attention to as well. “It’s easy to get sidetracked by the glitz,” she says, taking a bite of her salad. “But there are certain precautions you can take. Look, if you go out to a club, then you’re going to be written about.”

Ashley’s clearly not just feeding us a line: the only paparazzi shots you see of her are when she’s at the gym, the greengrocer, or brunch with friends – not to mention she showed up to our interview with biscuits she’d baked the night before with her mum.

Her work-comes-first strategy hasn’t gone unnoticed. Joel Silver, who produced The Apparition, has praised her for managing her rising stardom: “Everything has happened so quickly for Ashley, and she’s handling it.”

And her co-stars say her positive attitude turns long days on set into a good time. “She has such a fun energy,” says Jennifer Garner, who plays Ashley’s stepmother in Butter, and also produced the film. “She’s not stressed. These great things are going on for her – and she’s just excited about it.”

Ashley admits there’s another reason to stay out of places typically stalked by paparazzi – it’s her way of tiptoeing around the minefield of the celebrity dating scene. She doesn’t want to feed the rumour mill, perhaps because of her highly publicised relationship with Joe Jonas a few years back – photos of the two were constantly on blogs, and she talked a bit about him in interviews while they were together.

And let’s face it, when everyone knows your business, it makes breaking up so much worse. Ashley doesn’t want every little event in her love life going on record. “Relationships are fleeting,” she says. “You could be dating someone, but by the time the magazine comes out, you could be with someone else.”

When pushed a little more on the topic of romance, Ashley explains how she feels about things right now. “I’m not one of those girls who sits at home thinking, ‘By 25, I have to be married.’ Right now, I’m like, ‘I’m 25 – I need to book my next movie!’”

Despite not being in any rush to get hitched, she’s anything but flippant about marriage. “My parents have such a beautiful marriage,” she says. “I’m not someone who takes it lightly. So I’m not going to get married until I know I’ll be with someone forever.”

Looking at her dating past, we wouldn’t be surprised if Ashley’s next boyfriend was another musician. After Jonas, she was reportedly linked with Kings of Leon bassist Jared Followill and Broadway star Reeve Carney. But the star insists she doesn’t have a type. “It’s about chemistry and a connection. I’ve changed so much over the past 10 years. What I wanted when I was 16, I didn’t want when I was 20, and that’s changed to something else now I’m 25. Having a type is not for me."

Bottom line? Creating something else that lasts is exactly what Ashley wants, both in her personal life and in her career. As she herself puts it, “it’s all about longevity”.

Want to see more of our cover girl? Our Feb 2013 issue is out Monday 31st December!