Actress Shailene Woodley faked the flu and skipped her shift as an American Apparel shop assistant so she could audition for a part in The Descendants.

The young star was living in New York City and working at the fashion chain when she received a call from her manager about the role. Not wanting to miss her second day of work, Woodley tried to set up a video chat with director Alexander Payne instead.

But he insisted on a face-to-face meeting in Los Angeles.

She tells Black Book magazine, "I was like, 'Can't we Skype or something?' I made a commitment at American Apparel, and I didn't want to let my bosses down."

Woodley eventually called in sick and secretly flew cross-country for the meeting, in a bid to keep her job in case the audition went sour.

She adds, "None of my co-workers knew I was an actor. And thank God, because I didn't want them to know. There's such a weird, preconceived image of what an actor is, and I didn't want anyone to think of me like that."

Her efforts paid off - Woodley's role as George Clooney's movie daughter has won her much acclaim and pundits expect her to be among the stars nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar next month.