Below is an excerpt from the cover story, “Good Night, Giggles” by Mike Albo, in the August issue of InStyle magazine. It is available on newsstands and for digital download July 11.

Zooey Deschanel could be America’s sweetheart if she wanted to be. But a sweetheart has to be sugary and pastel-natured—and the 34-year old actress has an edge to her sweetness. For one thing, she is fiercely independent—god forbid you ask her if she wants kids. “Like every woman is dying to give birth! I don’t think so. Nobody asks guys that,” she says, gaining steam. “And you go into a supermarket and every tabloid is like, ‘Pregnant and Alone!’ Stuck in the 1950s ideal of how a woman should live her life. This brings out the fiery feminist in me,” she pronounces.

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Deschanel is also no shrinking violet when it comes to work. The actress and musician approaches the business of being Zooey with a commitment of a company head. Let’s consider her 2014 schedule: In March she finished seven months of shooting New Girl‘s third season, then traveled across the country to promote To Tommy From Zooey, her capsule collaboration with designer Tommy Hilfiger. Then she went to Canada to film The Driftless Area, a dark comedy co-starring Frank Langella and Anton Yelchin. After that it was off to Moroocco to film Rock the Kasbah, a comedy with Kate Hudson and Bruce Willis. And in a few weeks she returns to L.A. to shoot Season 4 of New Girl. In the middle of this madness, Deschanel found time to record a new album from her indie duo She & Him with songwriter-guitarist M. Ward. Oh, she’s also one of the founders of the popular lifestyle site HelloGiggles.com (she launched it with two pals).

Related: Love Zooey’s style? See this slideshow of her best looks ever.

If there is anyone to blame for Deschanel’s entrepreneurial spirit it would be her parents (a cinematographer and an actress). Growing up in L.A.’s Pacific Palisades, she would go from one project to the next “drawing in one corner, writing or sewing in another. I was lucky to have parents who were really, really supportive in terms of creativity. We only went clothes shopping twice a year, but every single day of the week I had something else I was learning to do.”

Zooey Deschanel in InStyle's August Issue

Raf Stahelin

Staying so busy is one of the things that keeps her grounded despite her fame. “I’ve seen a lot of people turnsometimes it unlocks who they really are. They turn into celebrities who are separate from themselves. That’s OK, but I just don’t want to be like that,” she says. “I have to be normal. My mother wouldn’t let me be any other way.”

For the full story on Zooey Deschanel, pick up the August issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download July 11.