Mara Wilson was one of the most well-known and beloved child stars of the ’90s–you knew her as the adorable girl in “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Matilda.” But then, she seemingly disappeared, like many child stars. She’s coming clean about her acting split, however, in her new memoir “Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame.”
So, what caused the Jewish actress to retire from Hollywood as a tween? The increasingly toxic body-obsessed environment was just too much for her–and she just didn’t want to deal with it anymore. The 29-year-old told PEOPLE in a recent interview:
“I’ve had people tell me, ‘The way that you judge yourself, looks-wise, is on this really strange level.’ Well, it’s because I grew up in Hollywood. I had good experiences there, but I always knew there were girls much prettier than I was, and I knew that I was always competing with them. That has followed me my whole life.”
Wilson began her acting career alongside Robin Williams in “Mrs. Doubtfire,” then followed by “Melrose Place,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” and “Matilda.” By puberty, however, Wilson says she wasn’t “getting any parts,” and went on to add, “Something didn’t make sense–at least until I was called for a role in a pilot. I would be auditioning for the ‘fat girl.'”
After this, she and her dad decided school would be her focus instead:
“I realized, ‘I don’t fit their idea of what a Hollywood actress looks like, so there’s no room for me here.’ It’s hard to come out of that sane and without some serious doubts about yourself.”
While Wilson immersed herself in theater and writing in high school and college, her insecurities still lingered:
“Even though part of me knew I wouldn’t go back to film acting, sometimes I wished I’d be in an accident where I’d injure my nose and jaw so I could get reconstruction guilt-free. As I saw it, I had three choices: get cosmetic surgery and go out on auditions for the cute and funny best friend characters, stay the way I was and go out for the meager character actor roles for young women, or accept myself and give up the idea of a Hollywood film acting career for good.”
Since graduating college, however, Wilson insists she’s never felt better, stating:
“Things have gotten a lot better since I left Hollywood–a great weight lifted.”
As of now, she has become a staple in the New York comedy and writing scene, where she also lives in Queens with her two cats, Milo and Theo, and writes comedy. In June, she also came out as bisexual following the Orlando gay nightclub massacre that month.
We can’t wait to read her book.