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The Curse of Child Actors in Hollywood

Growing up in the early 2000s, there was no doubt some unforgettable drama. It seemed to be the age of catfights and ruthless paparazzi for the “it-girls” of the time. Namely, Amanda Bynes, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears. Although they all developed their careers as teenagers, the common denominator between them is that they were all child stars and they’re all in a similar position now. So, why is it that when thinking of the most famous child stars, they seem to have gone “off the rails” at some point? I have a few theories. First, when looking at the lives of specifically female child stars, there are automatically certain pressures put on them by the media that their male counterparts don’t necessarily face – at least to the same extent. Unsolicited comments about their body image, relationships and tabloids constantly try to paint them in a negative light for a headline. Male child stars often don’t deal with this, and for the most part, are able to lead stable lives that maintain their privacy. 

When thinking about female child stars who turned out in seemingly better positions than those previously mentioned, it seems that: A) they had a stable childhood with caring parents or B) they were not in the spotlight as a child actor for too long. For example, Miley Cyrus grew up with a famous father in the industry, and it seems that she genuinely had and has a passion for acting and singing. Although she did have her “rebellious” moments, she says she’s in a stable place in her life now as an adult. Another example is Selena Gomez. She’s popular for her role as the main character on Wizards of Waverly Place, and from there, started her singing career. She wasn’t highly involved in the industry until she was a teenager. Afterwards, she has led a relatively steady career and is overall a well-liked celebrity. 

Coming back to the first three women, it seems that they all lacked a healthy childhood. Amanda Bynes and Lindsay Lohan have come forward many times about how their parents involved them in the entertainment industry solely for money. Lindsay and Britney were young and therefore had less autonomy on which roles they did or performances they were in. All three of these women were portrayed as “crazy” by the media.  Much of their personal information was aired out for the public to see. Their negative treatment by media outlets is what arguably led them all down a rabbit hole of drugs, anger and reckless behaviour. Now, all these women seem to have fallen off the grid. Both Amanda and Britney are under conservatorships and are not able to publicly communicate their thoughts or feelings. They also have no control over their own money after being deemed incapable of managing it by a judge. Although these women are very well-known, they are not the only cases of child stars ending up in unfortunate positions. Time and time again, parents put their kids in the industry for the wrong reasons and end up with children who hate the life that’s been created for them.

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Full-time student at Western University. I am currently enrolled in my second year of post-secondary education with a goal of achieving a Bachelor of Arts with an Honours Double-Major in Political Science and Philosophy.
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