Scroll To Top

'Matilda' star Mara Wilson On Being Sexualized As A Child And Trying To Be The 'Good Girl'

Mara Wilson On Being Sexualized And Trying To Be The 'Good Girl'

Mara Wilson
Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock

Child star Mara Wilson opens up to The Guardian about the pitfalls of stardom and trying to live up to the 'good girl" image.

Mara Wilson stole our hearts when she starred in movies like Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda, but fame was not all sunshine and roses for the child star.

Wilson, now 35, opened about being sexualized at a young age in a new interview with The Guardian.

The bi/queer actor revealed that her parents tried to protect her from the darker side of the industry by having her only star in family movies. But sadly this didn’t protect her from the public sexualizing her despite her still being a minor at the time.

"I had people sending me inappropriate letters and posting things about me online," she told The Guardian. "I made the mistake of Googling myself when I was 12 and saw things that I couldn't unsee."

The child star's image ended up on foot-fetish websites and porngraphy sites with her face superimposed on other girls’ bodies.

The ‘90s darling got candid in the interview about how lucky she was to never be abused on set, but that the real harassment she faced came from the media and the public.

"I don't think you can be a child star without there being some kind of lasting damage," Wilson said. "The thing that people assume is that Hollywood is inherently corrupt, and there's something about being on film sets that destroys you. For me, that was not necessarily true. I always felt safe on film sets... I think that's because I worked with a lot of really wonderful directors, who were used to working with children."

Wilson released a short memoir earlier this year called Good Girls Don’t about how she had to navigate the labels of “good girl” and “bad girl” while growing up in the public eye.

She admits that she began to rebel against the confines of the “good girl” image and became angry and even a “bitch.”

“This was something that a lot of people, particularly women, told me they dealt with,” she revealed. “They felt obliged to be the good girl. You end up acting out because you don’t really feel there’s any other way to live.”

The Miracle on 34th Street star has spoken candidly for years about the pitfalls of becoming famous at a young age and how the criticism of your body from the media and fans can destroy your mental health.

In an interview with NPR, Wilson opened up about how going through puberty while shooting Thomas and the Magic Railroad led to intense scrutiny she couldn’t handle.

“They brought out these sports bras that were basically binders — they were meant to bind my chest. I felt completely humiliated,” Wilson told NPR. “When you’re in middle school, when you’re a preteen, you always worry: Is everybody talking about me behind my back? And everybody was.”

The former child star retired from the industry in 2000 and hasn’t returned to the big screen since, but has recently done voice acting in Bojack Horseman, Helluva Boss and Ollie & Scoops.

What age was Mara Wilson in Matilda?

Mara Wilson was nine years old when she was in the movie Matilda.

Banner Image OneOut Magazine - Fellow Travelers

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories