Growing up in the entertainment industry can be a horrible experience.
In a new essay for The New York Times, former child actress Mara Wilson writes about the plight of child stars and reacts to the documentary “Framing Britney Spears”.
Recalling an interview she did with a Canadian newspaper when she was 13-years-old, Wilson says, “The writer had asked me what I thought of Britney Spears. Apparently, I replied that I ‘hated’ her.”
Looking back on that moment, Wilson, now 33, writes, “I didn’t actually hate Britney Spears. But I would never have admitted to liking her… I think mostly, I had already absorbed the version of The Narrative surrounding her.”
She adds, “The way people talked about Britney Spears was terrifying to me then, and it still is now. Her story is a striking example of a phenomenon I’ve witnessed for years: Our culture builds these girls up just to destroy them. Fortunately people are becoming aware of what we did to Ms. Spears and starting to apologize to her. But we’re still living with the scars.”
Remembering her own treatment as the young star of films like “Matilda” and “Mrs. Doubtfire”, Wilson writes, “It was cute when 10-year-olds sent me letters saying they were in love with me. It was not when 50-year-old men did. Before I even turned 12, there were images of me on foot fetish websites and photoshopped into child pornography. Every time, I felt ashamed.”
The actress later writes, “But my life was easier not only because I was never tabloid-level famous, but because unlike Ms. Spears, I always had my family’s support. I knew that I had money put away for me, and it was mine. If I needed to escape the public eye, I vanished — safe at home or school.”
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