‘Matilda’ Star Mara Wilson Says She Found Photos Of Herself On Porn Sites As A Kid
Mara Wilson in 2019.
Mara Wilson is shedding light on why her promising career as a child star quickly fizzled out.
In a profile published Monday, the “Matilda” star spoke candidly to The Guardian about how she often felt “sexualized” as a kid — but emphasized that it wasn’t necessarily on-set incidents that made her feel this way.
Instead, she said, the media and adult fans were the culprits. She shared with the outlet that grown male fans would regularly try to contact her as a child.
“I had people sending me inappropriate letters and posting things about me online,” she said. “I made the mistake of Googling myself when I was 12 and saw things that I couldn’t unsee.”
The Guardian notes that one of the things Wilson saw were photos of herself “on porn sites, her head superimposed on to other girls’ bodies.”
She also addressed the way the media treated her.
“People don’t realize how much constantly talking to the press as a child weighs on you,” Wilson explained to the outlet, noting that journalists in the ’90s would often ask her if she knew what french-kissing was or which actors she thought were the “sexist” when she was under the age of 10.
Wilson attending the 52nd Annual Golden Globe Awards in 1995.
Wilson, now 35, was in a string of high-profile projects as a child, including her debut in 1993’s “Mrs. Doubtfire” and 1994’s “Miracle on 34th Street.” She emphasized to the outlet that she felt pretty secure while working despite popular beliefs about kids on film sets.
“The thing that people assume is that Hollywood is inherently corrupt, and there’s something about being on film sets that destroys you,” Wilson said of child stars. “For me, that was not necessarily true. I always felt safe on film sets. There were definitely some sketchy, questionable things that happened at times ― adults that told dirty jokes or sexually harassed people in front of me. People who did things like ask me if it was OK if I worked overtime instead of asking my parents, but I never felt unsafe. I think that’s because I worked with a lot of really wonderful directors who were used to working with children.”
This isn’t the first time Wilson has called out the media and her fans for how they treated her as a child.
In 2021, Wilson wrote an emotional op-ed for The New York Times, highlighting the mistreatment she received in the spotlight.
“People had been asking me, ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’ in interviews since I was 6,” she wrote. “Reporters asked me who I thought the sexiest actor was and about Hugh Grant’s arrest for soliciting a prostitute. It was cute when 10-year-olds sent me letters saying they were in love with me. It was not when 50-year-old men did.”
She also noted that she found images of herself on foot fetish websites when she Googled herself at age 12.
“Every time, I felt ashamed,” Wilson said.
“Hollywood has resolved to tackle harassment in the industry, but I was never sexually harassed on a film set. My sexual harassment always came at the hands of the media and the public.”
Wilson told the Guardian that this early fixation on her looks eventually left her feeling “rejected” after she hit puberty and wasn’t considered “cute” any longer — leading to the “demise of my career.”
“You think, ‘I’m ugly, I’m fat’ ― and there were actual websites and newspapers and movie reviewers saying that about me,” Wilson said. “It got to the point where I became much more guarded, more anxious and depressed and cynical, and when you’re like that, it’s very hard to land a role because, in an audition, you have to be open and honest. It took a toll on me.”