Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Poor Little Rich and Famous Girl

Last week I watched a child actress being interviewed on a network morning show to promote a new movie. Something was creeping me out, but I couldn't put my finger on it. The little girl was precociously witty and laughed freely.

It occurred to me that this child was trying on masks. Precocious as she was, she still hadn't attained that level of smooth artificiality that is a hallmark of the Hollywood celebrity. This pre-teen was perfecting a public image, and once I realized this, the interview took on an air of the grotesque.

Now, there are literally millions of children in America who are as cute and talented as the little girl who was being interviewed. And a large percentage of these cute and talented children certainly have the desire to be movie stars. The little girl being interviewed must have a little something extra (outside of the conveniently lenient child labor laws in California) going for her. She does. Her parents. She is a goldmine for them. Of course they will tell you that the money she makes doing movies is used for her benefit. That may be true, but the vast majority of children's parents earn the money for their kids' benefit. Those parents put money away for college. Those parents use money they have earned to pay for food and clothing. Those parents don't make salaries as "managers" for their own children. And they don't force their kids into becoming grotesque little Hollywood-phony miniature adults.

If you disagree, try to name an orphan who became a child star.