Meet the poster girl for 'well-adjusted post-Hollywood child stars'.

Mara Wilson
Mara Wilson

For most eight year olds, life is pretty surreal. The days are long, filled with monkey bars and magic, slip and slides, spelling words and an uncorrupted, blissful sense of wonder.

For child actors, not so much. They inhabit in the adult world before their time, missing the magic as they make it.

If you’re a millennial, or the parent of one, chances are you’ve recently watched your favorite child stars turn from dimpled, peachy cheeked wunderkinds into wild, drugged up felons.

At some point, distracted by periods and that cute guy with the dreamy eyes in your Monday afternoon maths class, you blinked. The next thing you knew Lindsay Lohan was getting out of jail, Amanda Bynes was abusing celebs on Twitter, and Beibs thinks it’s okay to call some chick a ‘beached whale’. #whatadouche.

And, of course, Hannah Montana got engaged to the man of your dreams and swung naked on a wrecking ball. As you do.

But there is good news too, my friends.

One of the biggest child stars of the 90’s, famous for her roles in Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire, has grown up to be the poster girl for the ‘well-adjusted post-Hollywood child star’.

That’s right, Matilda Wormwood – your magically nerdy BFF with the awesome hair ribbon – lives on.

Her name is Mara Wilson and she rocks.

Here is why:

1.    She’s mature.  

At age 13, while most of us were still mourning the fact that we didn’t receive a letter from Hogwarts, Wilson was ‘breaking up’ with Hollywood and searching for a more ‘fulfilling’ pastime.


‘I like to think of it as a mutual break-up: Hollywood didn’t really want me anymore, and I was over it, too,’ she writes on her hilariously candid blog, Mara Wilson Writes Stuff.

‘Here is something no real celebrity will ever tell you: film acting is not very fun’.


2.    She’s educated.

Wilson graduated from NYU and now works as a writer, playwright, stage actress and voice actress.

She’s heaps mad about education, saying that the reason child stars end up becoming toddlers in tiaras is that they have no education and therefore believe they have no other options:

If I were to talk to Lindsay Lohan, I’d encourage her to get the hell out of acting and into something soothing. Take up botany or something

Mara Wilson
Matilda – Your childhood best friend.

3.    She’s SO down to earth (and doesn’t want to be famous.)

She can’t understand why people are interested ‘someone who acted in a few movies as a kid’:

Even now, I will duck out of the way at parties when someone brings out a camera — even though I’m well over 21, I haven’t been a recognizable name in years, and my parties tend to be less “coke orgy,” more “board game bonanza.”


Which leads me to …

4.    She won’t be your best friend (or your girlfriend) just because you ask. Dammit.

On the very funny Frequently Asked Questions page of her blog, Mara outlines some of the funny and unbelievable stuff she’s been pestered about over the years.  Like this:


“Can we be best friends?”

If we met in real life, perhaps we could be friends. I have made friends online, but it was through discussion, shared interests, and appreciation of each other’s work that we became friends. It was not by someone asking to be my best friend. Friendship is a mutual thing.

Check out this interview with Mara on The Today Show:

And the best part? She really isn’t alone.

Check out these other child stars that have grown up to be totally remarkable adults.


Bella Westaway is a 20 year old journalism student and an intern at Mamamia. You can check out her blog here.

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