Former Disney actress Alyson Stoner recalls what it's like to be a child star
Although we all at some point dream of immense fame, fortune and riches, we don't often dream of having it from a young age. The curious case of the child star makes for some interesting narratives in Hollywood's wide selection of stars, with the pressure that comes with being in the public eye can be critical and transformative in a child star's life.
In general, you find that child stars either make a smooth transition into adulthood, or they have a turbulent few years before hopefully coming out the other side. Britney Spears, Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus are but a few who've had trouble with the trappings of youth and fame, but one former Disney actress is having a significantly different experience.
If you grew up in the early 2000s, you might remember Alyson Stoner from her appearances on the Suite Life of Zack and Cody or Cheaper by the Dozen, while she also made an appearance in the 2006 film Step Up and in Missy Elliot's Work It video. That little girl is now 24 years old, and a lot's changed since those days.
Stoner took to YouTube recently in the first in a video series called the Adventures of Alyson, where she admitted that being a child star was "weird and unhealthy".
"I was a pack mule growing up. Living in that little box? Being part of that little machine? It takes a huge toll on you. The competition, narcissism, perfectionism, the pressure, schedule, the traumatising experiences that we can never talk about, because we’re either under contract or we’ll get shot or other things will happen to us if we open our mouths."
Alyson Stoner said that she dropped out of the Hollywood rat race after becoming disillusioned with "telling other people’s stories", and while she's also managed to build a successful singing career, she's looking forward to "building a true community of people where we can talk about s*** that matters".
Stoner also took the time to deny the rumour that she had joined the Illuminati, while she admitted that she had grown frustrated with the constant questions surrounding her following her disappearance from the public eye.
"The other frustration is that having been in the public eye, people actually think you died, dried up or stopped performing just because you're not in a tentpole superhero mainstream movie in theaters. (Let the fear of failure ensue.) But today, I'll say I'm beyond grateful that my career has arrived here for the moment. Never did I think I'd be able to speak so clearly and candidly with you without the interference of a reporter, publicist and photoshop."
In addition to her film career, Alyson Stoner is also an accomplished dancer, working with acts like Will Smith, Outkast and Eminem, and working as the dance editor for KEWL Magazine. Stoner says she's got "some really cool bucket list projects" in the pipeline, and I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say that I can't wait to see what this former child star comes up with, now that she's focusing on her own story.