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Posted at 1:20 PM ET, 11/ 9/2010

Dakota Fanning crowned homecoming queen. Wait, is that fair?

By Liz Kelly

Fanning at last week's 19th Annual BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards. (Reuters)

Imagine you are a high school senior. Popular. Pretty. You may even have a decent GPA and do your fair share of non-self-serving afterschool activities. You are universally loved by teachers, friends and their parents. You are wonderful. But honey, you are no Dakota Fanning.

Fanning, the 16-year-old vet of "Charlotte's Web," "War of the Worlds," "The Runaways" and "Twilight Saga: Eclipse," was crowned homecoming queen at Hollywood's private Campbell Hall High School over the weekend. Hardly a surprise since she had already been voted homecoming princess last year and because she's, umm, Dakota Fanning.

"I think it was really important to have the high school experience," she told Us Weekly. "I think that I want [the college] experience as well. I just think everyone always looks back on that time in their life. Who was homecoming princess and [did] the cheerleading ... and all the things that go along with high school? And I wanted to have that. I'm really lucky that I found a school that allows me to do both."

While most celebrities do us the favor of graduating before becoming stars, the precocious Fanning -- who has been acting since age 5 -- made her mark on the wider world before embarking on her choose-your-own adventure high school experience where she did indeed get to be a chearleader and be in the homecoming court two years in a row.

To be fair, when I spoke with a then 14-year-old Fanning at Comic-Con in 2008, she talked about her relatively "normal" life outside the Hollywood bubble. She even got all verklempt and blushed when I asked her to do a cheer for the assembled geek fest reporters. She declined, by the way. She wasn't at all full of herself and struck me as about as normal as my own Facebook and fashion-obsessed 14-year-old niece.

But high school is a popularity contest. And, really, how is the average teen girl supposed to compete with a 16-year-old who likely has a publicist, stylist and a sense of self beyond her years? Is it fair for celebrities like Fanning to compete with mere mortals for things like homecoming court, prom court, superlatives, employee of the month, etc.? Or is Fanning's utter owning of homecoming more akin to, say, Barack Obama running for president of his neighborhood association or Marine Corps Marathon winner Jacob Bradowsky turning up to make us average Joes (and Joe-ettes) eat dust in a friendly Thanksgiving Turkey Trot?


By Liz Kelly  | November 9, 2010; 1:20 PM ET
Categories:  Celebrities  
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Liz, the other side of the coin is that Dakota's schoolmates could have voted against her out of jealousy, had they disliked her, because (as you correctly note), "high school is a popularity contest."

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | November 9, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

She's going to a private high school in North Hollywood. Do you really think she's the only child in that school connected to the movie industry? There are probably children of producers, directors, etc., so it's not like she's going to public school.

So, yes, she's Dakota Fanning. But among the student body, that just makes her the most visible, not the most powerful or automatic Queen Bee.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | November 9, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

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