We knew Anna Chlumsky as the cute little girl in the movie, My Girl, and after that success, she was expected to become a big Hollywood star. But the dark side of the industry turned its back on her to the point of making her resign, and she stepped aside to have a normal life. Until today, in an act of triumph, she was able to return to the screen.
At Bright Side, we like to learn the stories of people who’ve managed to rise from the ashes, like the phoenix, and today we want to tell you the story of this actress, who, after fighting against prejudice and rejection, knew how to become famous.
A Hollywood promise
She was born on December 3, 1980, in Chicago in the US, and took her first steps in acting in 1989, but it wasn’t until 2 years later that Hollywood would get to know her name. That year, she starred alongside Macaulay Culkin in the movie, My Girl, a film that predicted a promising future in the industry for both children.
The predictions did come true for Macaulay Culkin, who eventually played Kevin McCallister in Home Alone. But Anna Chlumsky didn’t manage to land such a big role, even though she was just as talented. Somehow, her job opportunities and her personal experience in the public eye were not as good as that of her fellow actor’s debut.
How the industry turned its back on her
Despite the success of the film that brought Chlumsky fame, big job offers were not forthcoming, as she only participated in a few TV shows. “I was going through puberty and I didn’t look pretty on screen. I auditioned a lot during my adolescence and I just didn’t fit in, so that took its toll on me because, as a teenager, it’s not so much fun to be told that someone doesn’t like you anymore,” she said in an interview.
Now, as an adult, she reflects on the effects that early fame had on her. “When you suddenly put professional, financial, adult and public pressures on children, you not only open them up to a world that is commoditizing and objectifying them. You’re also setting them back from their ability to develop. So when they are faced with adult life, the tools aren’t there. […] It was only as an adult that I discovered any sense of reliability or security. When I was a child those did not exist, because I was for sale,” Chlumsky confessed.
A new beginning
Her need to get out of a world that rejected her and didn’t allow her to have the life of a normal child and teenager was more than enough to have her leave everything behind and go in search of her destiny. She attended the University of Chicago and graduated with a degree in international studies in 2002. There, she met her current husband, whom she married in 2008, and they had 2 daughters, Penelope and Clara.
Chlumsky moved to New York and worked as a fact-checker for a major restaurant review firm, as well as an editorial assistant, but despite wanting to live quietly, away from cameras, the lights of Broadway reawakened her love for acting. “I thought I wasn’t going to be an actress. I moved to New York right after college and seeing enough Broadway shows inspired me to try again,” she confessed.
Going back to her passion
Her return to the screen was slow but steady. She appeared in TV shows and was part of some episodes of Law and Order and Hannibal, but it was her role in the comedy series, Veep, that proved to everyone that Chlumsky was back. She was nominated for 6 Emmy Awards for that role throughout the 7 years it was on air.
In 2022, she jumped on board one of the most important streaming platforms in the world, co-starring in Inventing Anna, Netflix’s hit series produced by Shondaland, the producer of big hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Bridgerton.
A new beginning
“I had to prepare myself and know that I’m strong enough to persevere through that (acting work) and rational enough to realize that a person can get any role, and that doesn’t mean it’s personal. It doesn’t mean you’re bad. I approached it from a much healthier point of view,” she said of her new approach to the career she loves so much, and we’re glad she has chosen it again.
At what moment and in what area of your life did you feel the need to change your path and start from scratch?