These days everything is about Dakota Fanning. After landing on the cover of Elle magazine, the lovely 17-year-old actress strikes a sexy pose for the February 2012 issue of Cosmopolitan. In the accompanying interview, Dakota opens up and talks about her superhuman aura and having thick skin, going to college, looking for love and never facing a breakdown. The teenage star will turn 18 in February and Cosmopolitan honors her as its Fun Fearless Female of the year.

Dakota, who started acting when she was six, is not just a very talented and hard-working actress, but also a fun, realistic and disciplined girl. She was a cheerleader in high-school and the homecoming queen. Speaking about her superhuman aura, Dakota told Cosmopolitan that, “Since I was young, I’ve always known who I was. I never really had to go through finding who I am. I’ve always felt really secure.” The star also recalls her first performance at the age of 4. “I was prepared and didn’t get nervous – the director thought my mom should let me do commercials,” Dakota says.

Dakota reveals that the fact of coming from a family of athletes is the reason behind her determination. “I have a very athletic upbringing, and I’ve been taught to think of things in that way,” she told Cosmopolitan. She even has a sport-inspired motto saying that “You have to work really hard for something if you want it.”

Dakota Fanning Covers Cosmopolitan February 2012

This year, Dakota has projects in which she plays special, courageous women. In ‘Now Is Good’ she depicts a cancer patient who wants to lose her virginity, while in the period drama ‘Effie’ she plays John Ruskin’s young bride Effie Gray. “I have thick skin. Sure, sometimes you can only take so much and it’s just like ‘Ahhhh!’ but I don’t have those moments very often.” The young star also confessed in the interview that she never had to face a breakdown. “If I did, I’d be like ‘Pull it together, Dakota!’,” she says.

Even though she started acting at an incredibly young age and has been in the spotlight ever since, Dakota has always tried to have a normal life. She went to a regular high school and has numerous friends who have nothing to do with Hollywood life. Now, she is going to college at New York University’s school of individualized study where she wants to focus on psychology. The actress says that in between classes and filming she has fun decorating her first apartment.

The actress’ younger sister Elle Fanning reveals Dakota’s most special quality. “She’s observant. She’ll be out at a restaurant, and you see her looking around at all the people. When you come home, she’ll be able to tell you what everyone was wearing, and she’ll probably be able to imitate perfectly the person she was sitting next to. She has the ability to pick up on all these details, so when she’s reading a script, she can really create a character.”

Dakota Fanning Covers Cosmopolitan February 2012

When it comes to love, Dakota believes that, “There’s something exciting about the idea of going to a city and meeting a guy. I’ve had really only one boyfriend – just someone I went to school with. It’s strange when you meet people who are like ‘I met my husband in college.’ It’s weird to think about, like, ‘Is that guy my husband?'”

The actress also admits in the interview with the magazine that she dreams “about meeting someone in a coffee shop, and you drop something and they pick it up, you know? I never have enough time for anything like that.”

Read Dakota’s full interview in the February 2012 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.

Photos courtesy of COSMOPOLITAN