See Vada From "My Girl" Now at 41
Former kid star Anna Chlumsky didn't think she wanted to be an actor as an adult.
Long before there was Grey's Anatomy or This Is Us, '90s babies had to pop in a VHS copy of My Girl to get in a good cry. The 1991 drama stars a 10-year-old Anna Chlumsky as Vada Sultenfuss, who's growing up in her widower dad's (Dan Ackroyd) funeral home, trying to navigate girlhood without her mom. She's also a total hypochondriac who luckily has a friend in Thomas, played by Macaulay Culkin, who not only supports her constant doctors' visits but also her love of poetry. The two form a deep and ultimately tragic friendship, making My Girl a coming-of-age movie that no viewer can forget.
The role of Vada has followed Chlumsky around for her entire life, not just to the movie's sequel. And the instant fame it brought her was so overwhelming that she stepped away from acting for a time. She eventually came back in a big way, earning six Emmy nominations for just one adult role. Read on to learn more about the former child star's life today.
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She's tired of talking about My Girl.
In 2022, Chlumsky told Elle that she is "unequivocally" over talking about her breakout childhood role. "You ever get sick of talking about that recital you did when you were 10?," she added. The now-41-year-old actor went on to say that handling all of that fame at the time was challenging for her. Referring to what she called the "attrition rate" of former child stars—meaning those who burn out, run afoul of the law, or battle addiction—Chlumsky said, "Everyone's aware, but they benefit from it. They benefit from somebody's life being destroyed."
She took a hiatus from acting.
After starring in the 1994 sequel My Girl 2, Chlumsky took on a few more childhood roles, including 1995's Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain alongside Christina Ricci and a couple of TV movies. After that, she put her acting career aside for a normal life, which included graduating from the University of Chicago and beginning a career in publishing.
Only, as she explained to The Guardian in 2014, Chlumsky realized that she wasn't cut out for that kind of work and actually missed performing. She described it as "such a relief" when she started to get back into acting again and began to relate to it as an adult.
"I mean, I liked editing manuscripts. My problem is that I'm a slow reader," she said. "When I went to acting school, I thought, I'm going to give myself a year of trying and if it doesn't happen, then it's not meant to be. The first day I get to the Atlantic Theatre and we play out scenes and I really learn what it's all about–that it's really about communicating text, and telling a story–I was like, oh, holy [expletive]! I'm not just going to give this a year! I'm going to give it everything. I knew it."
She starred in a modern comedy classic.
Chlumsky started to pop up on screen again in the late 2000s, including in episodes of 30 Rock and Law & Order, as well as movies like In the Loop and The Good Guy. But it was her role as Amy Brookheimer in the HBO political comedy Veep, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, that put her on the map as an adult actor. Clumsky played the character throughout the entire series, from 2012 to 2019, and was nominated for six Emmys.
"People started recognizing me on the street for Veep instead of for some [expletive] I did when I was 10," the actor told Elle. "It was the first time that I ever understood what it felt like to be happy to be asked about your job by a stranger."
While Veep was on the air, Chlumsky also appeared in the popular shows Hannibal and Halt and Catch Fire, as well as the movie The End of the Tour. She recently played a journalist in the true crime drama Inventing Anna and is in the upcoming horror film They/Them, which premieres this summer on Peacock.
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She doesn't want to be a stage mother.
Chlumsky met her husband Shaun So when they were both college students, and the couple married in 2008. They share two daughters: Penelope, born in 2013, and Clara, born in 2016. Considering how difficult she found child stardom to be, it's no surprise that Chlumsky isn't rushing to take her kids to auditions. "The simplest way of saying [if I will let my children act] is 'wait till you're 18," she told The Independent, via Yahoo!. "Enjoy doing school plays and shooting hoops and playing. That's what that time is for. You want to be grown-up when you enter business."
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