Because this girl's back in town:
Smart, savvy, and often just downright hysterical, little Matilda's all-grown-up blog has been a fascinating read for over a year now. Last year, Wilson blogged about all the pitfalls of childhood fame, talking candidly about creepy, demanding fans, tedious days on the set, and her "relief" to be out of that lifestyle. Her spot-on, well-written essay (or warning) suddenly went viral a couple months after she wrote it, and, of the almost 900 posts we have done here since the inception of Realitytvkids.com almost four years ago, according to our stats, our post on Mara's musings last year remains the fifth most popular blog post here of all time. (Whoa!)
This week, former child star Amanda Bynes was arrested again. Her bizarre and frightening post-arrest Twitter tirade (Amanda said the cops slapped her "vagina") may be due more to her alleged mental illness than anything else, but she's still yet another sad story of a washed up child star who can't hack it in the adult world. The latest incident prompted Mara to take to the subject of child stars again, this time penning another visionary essay called 7 reasons Child Stars Go Crazy (An Insider's Perspective). It's worth your time to read the entire thing, but here are a few important excerpts.
On parents forcing their kids into the spotlight: I chose to start acting when I was 5. It was my decision, and my parents tried their hardest to discourage me. When I insisted, they allowed me to act, but were always very protective of me. I saw many child actors who did not have that, and they were all miserable. Kids whose parents pushed them into acting often grow up to resent them. They never had a choice, and worse, they never had the chance to be a kid... The next time a former child star is in the news, look at the age at which he or she started performing. Then imagine making a life-changing decision at that age. Chances are good he or she wasn't the one who made it.
|Mara (center) in Mrs.Doubtfire|
On fans' expectations: Having to live up to your fan base is a little like having to deal with a million strict parents who don't actually love you. They reward you for your cuteness and cleverness, but are quick to judge and punish. And they do not want you ever to grow up. How do you react? The way any sullen teenager does: You get resentful, and as soon as you have the freedom, you act out....But even here [in New York] I still get recognized. It's flattering, but it can be uncomfortable. Maybe because it only seems to happen when I'm looking and feeling crappy, and while I'm glad what I did meant something to someone, I can't take much pride in my childhood acting. It feels like it happened in another lifetime, and even then, it felt like a hobby. People making a big deal out of me just embarrasses me, and I'm also very camera shy. It's not something I'm ever going to escape. And while I'm glad for all the advantages it's given me -- I got to meet the queen of England! -- it does give me something I have to not only live up to, but surpass. A lot of child stars feel like they'll never get past what they did as a kid, that their character has taken over their life.
Thank you once again Mara for more valuable insight, and warnings, about a scary world.