Mara Wilson had her doubts about being a child star.
The “Mrs. The up-and-coming Doubtfire actress, who went on to solidify her status as a ’90s icon in “Matilda” and “Miracle on 34th Street,” has spoken out about the “sexualized” pressures of growing up in the spotlight.
“I don’t think you can be a child star without there being some kind of permanent damage,” Wilson said The Guardian while promoting the memoir “Good Girls Don’t Do That,” adding, “People don’t realize how much it weighed on you constantly talking to the press as a kid.”
Wilson began his career at the age of six. At age seven, Wilson’s fame “snowballed” and reporters began asking her if she knew what French kissing was or if she could pick and choose which fellow actor she found “hottest.”
“There were people sending me inappropriate letters and posting things about me online,” Wilson continued, citing that her photograph was posted on pornography websites superimposed on the bodies of adult women. “I made the mistake of Googling myself when I was 12 and saw things I couldn’t help but see.”
He added, “The thing people assume is that Hollywood is inherently corrupt, and there’s something about being on movie sets that destroys you. For me, that wasn’t necessarily true. I always felt safe on film sets. Certainly some sketchy and questionable things happened at times: adults telling dirty jokes or people being sexually harassed in front of me. People who would do things like ask me if it was okay if I worked overtime, instead of asking my parents, but I never felt insecure. I think it’s because I’ve worked with a lot of really wonderful directors who were used to working with children.”
It was when Wilson hit puberty that Hollywood seemed to turn against her. At age 12, Wilson was asked by a director to wear a sports bra to hide her developing breasts; Wilson believed that she was no longer “pretty” and that the film industry was “sort of closed” to her.
“It stuck with me for a long time because I had this Hollywood notion that if you’re not pretty anymore, if you’re not handsome, then you’re worthless. Because I connected it directly to the end of my career,” Wilson said. dysmorphic about my appearance and was too obsessed with it.
One of Wilson’s latest auditions landed Kristen Stewart in a role, further fueling doubts about Wilson.
“You think, ‘I’m ugly, I’m fat’ – and there were real websites and newspapers and movie reviewers saying that about me,” Wilson recalled. “I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve become much more guarded and more anxious and depressed and cynical, and when you’re like that, it’s very difficult to get a role, because in an audition you have to be open and honest. He put me through the paces.
Wilson previously opened up about being fetishized by fans and admitted she “feels bad” and “furious” seeing current child stars like “Stranger Things” actress Millie Bobby Brown suffer similar abuse online.
“What’s really at play here is the disturbing and inappropriate public bias towards sexualizing girls in the media,” Wilson wrote in 2017, when Brown was 13. “I am no longer a child. Millie Bobby Brown is. Commenting on a child’s body, whether in a ‘positive’ or ‘negative’, sexualizing or pitiful way, is still commenting on a child’s body”.