Dakota Fanning Turns 30 in 2024 — Here's What She's up To

Jamie Lerner - Author

Jan. 12 2024, Published 12:01 p.m. ET

Dakota Fanning in black
Source: Getty Images

The big blue eyes and wispy blond hair of Dakota Fanning captured the hearts of moviegoers across the world after her debut in 2001’s I Am Sam. Dakota was just 7 years old when she starred in the film, becoming the youngest actor nominated for a SAG Award at just 8 years old. After that, she continued her career as arguably the most famous child star.

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However, Dakota fell into some less prestigious projects since her childhood acting days, such as The Twilight Saga and the TNT series The Alienist. And now that it’s 2024, Dakota is about to turn 30 years old. So what is Dakota up to now?

Dakota Fanning waving
Source: Getty Images
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Now, Dakota Fanning is continuing to star in various film and television projects.

Although Dakota’s younger sister, Elle Fanning, has maintained her place in the spotlight thanks to playing Catherine in Hulu's The Great, Dakota is still continuing to work in the industry. While she hasn’t taken on major blockbuster roles like she used to, Dakota likely has the luxury to pick and choose what she wants to work on, so she’s focused most of her time on indie passion projects.

In 2012, Dakota began this trajectory by starring in Night Moves alongside Jesse Eisenberg and Peter Sarsgaard. But in more recent years, Dakota has taken on a wide berth of projects. From 2019–2021, she voiced Miranda Worth in the Gen:Lock web series, and in 2022, she played Susan Ford Bales in The First Lady.

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Dakota Fanning in 'The Equalizer 3'
Source: Sony Pictures

Now, Dakota’s coming off of starring in The Equalizer 3 as Emma Collins. She’s in two television series set to premiere in 2024 — she’ll play Marge Sherwood in Ripley and Abby Winbury in Netflix’s The Perfect Couple, an adaptation of Elin Hilderbrand’s mystery novel.

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In her personal life, Dakota Fanning now shares tidbits of her life on Instagram.

With almost 4 million followers, Dakota partners with Clé de Peau Beaute as an ambassador. However, she’s always come off as real and relatable, which is why so many people were charmed by her. She never had any major scandals common among child stars and she even went to a regular high school, where she was on the varsity cheerleading team and homecoming queen.

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From 2011 to 2014, Dakota attended NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where she majored in women’s studies with a concentration on the portrayal of women in film and culture. Considering her career, this makes a lot of sense. While she didn’t graduate, her time at NYU was notable because of her foray into the real world as a household name.

Since then, she’s spoken publicly about her unique life, although she does continue to keep most aspects of her life pretty private.

“A big part of my life has been people having so many preconceived notions of the kind of person that I am,” she opened up on the What’s the Point podcast in 2023, “and my internal battle of how much does that bother me."

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“Because I do think that my real personality is extremely different from what people think that I’m like,” she continued. “And what I battle with is sort of liking that no one knows what I’m like, except for the people to know what I’m really like … How much do I want to show who I am? … Again, my mom’s voice comes back into my head every time, which is like, ‘Be polite, be cordial, be professional,’ and all of that."

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“And I end up just going with that because that can’t be picked apart. It’s so much safer to be that way," she went on. "And so as I’ve gotten older and settled into myself and all of that, I feel a little more comfortable being a bit more open. But I’m not like this perfect person like I think a lot of people think that I am.”

As Dakota comes into her own, she spends plenty of time with Elle and other family members, clearly keeping the important people close to her chest. And while we’d love to know who she’s dating or what she does in her spare time, we’re happy to know that she’s still making awesome movies.

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