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Why Child Stars Go Crazy: Mara Wilson Tells Lindsay Lohan To Take Up Botany

Making the transition from child star to a bonafide adult actor in Hollywood ain't easy, and it's even harder to do it with your sanity fully intact. See Macaulay Culkin (drugs and hanging out with Michael Jackson), Britney Spears (shaved her head etc.), Drew Barrymoore (was married to Tom Green).

As Lindsay Lohan continues to circle the court/prison/rehab drain, and Amanda Bynes throws her bong out the pram window while tweeting her apparent breakdown, former child star Mara Wilson has offered an insider's perspective on why so many child actors lose the plot.

amanda bynes mara wilson

Mara, who starred in pretty much every kids film in the 1990s (Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire and Miracle On 34th Street) stepped out of the limelight to attend New York University, a choice she made because she "knew [she] didn't want to be famous."

In an article for Cracked, the former actress opened up about why she thinks these child stars cave under the pressure and tells Lindsay Lohan she should take up "something soothing, like botany".

According to Mara there are seven (just seven?) reasons why "not many child stars make it out of Hollywood alive or sane." Unsurprisingly, parents have a lot to do with it. According to Mara, it was always her decision to start acting professionally and her parents actively discouraged her.

"I chose to start acting when I was 5," she wrote. "It was my decision, and my parents tried their hardest to discourage me.

"When I insisted, they allowed me to act, but were always very protective of me. I saw many child actors who did not have that, and they were all miserable."

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The 25-year-old explained how she saw many child actors pushed into acting as a means of supporting their families. Although she also noted that it's the adult nature of Hollywood that can prevent even the best parents from being able to protect their child from the industry.

"When I was 7, I went to the premiere for the movie Nine Months. I don't remember much about the movie beyond Hugh Grant stammering and some placenta jokes," she explained. "But I do remember a red carpet reporter asking me my opinion about Hugh Grant getting busted for prostitution.

"My father called the [reporter's] station the next day to suggest that they, you know, not talk to a child about soliciting sex. But he was rebuffed, and the complaint was ignored. Even then, as a kid, I knew that parental power was gone."

Not only this, but Mara cited the fact many child stars find themselves wanting to rebel in ways that would damage careers and pointed to the prevalence of social media. Everything these young actors do and say is documented by the press, by fans, even by themselves (here's looking at you Amanda Bynes and your Twitter account).



Mara confessed that, even now, she ducks out of the way at parties when someone whips out a camera, despite the fact her parties tend to be "less 'coke orgy,' more 'board game bonanza.'"

And while Mara went on to graduate from NYU (which she notes has been called "Where Child Stars Come To Die"), she commented that many young actors don't know what else to do except recite lines in front of a camera.

"If I were to talk to Lindsay Lohan, I'd encourage her to get the hell out of acting and into something soothing. Take up botany or something. But she wouldn't be likely to listen to me - and not only because I'm younger and way less hot than her.

"It's because she's been acting all her life, she has little education, and in her mind, there's nothing else she could do."

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On top of all these reasons Mara suggested these child stars don't understand when "they get used to love and attention, and then lose it". Mara wrote, "Adults know that infatuation is fleeting, but kids don't understand this. A year in a kid's life seems like an eternity, and they think anything happening now will happen forever.

"My parents tried to keep me grounded: they made me share a room with my sister, kept me in public elementary school, and encouraged me to think of acting as just a hobby. But I'm sure there were still times when I was an entitled little shit."

In conclusion Mara gave her advice to those seeking stardom as a child. "Make sure it's really your choice, get out of it when it stops being fun, and get an education," she wrote, adding that, "Considering all the legal hassle child stars can be, I won't be surprised when they are phased out by CGI children voiced by adult actors."

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